Time spent in the gym can actually improve how well you play the game of softball. A combination of weight training, position specific workouts, cardiovascular training and healthy eating can help you run faster and hit the ball farther. Workouts must be done on a regular basis and eating healthy means every day, even weekends.
A study conducted at Kettering University in 2001 showed that the faster a bat is traveling when it meets a ball, the farther the ball will go. Another aspect that ties into this equation however is the weight of the bat. The stronger you are, the heavier the bat you'll be able to whip around. Stronger legs can also help you run faster. The more force you're able to use when your feet hit the ground, the quicker you'll be able to sprint en route to a base or batted ball.
Workouts for a catcher should look very different than workouts for a pitcher. Catchers need to work on squats and quick firing muscles to get the ball to second as quickly as possible. Pitchers need to work on stride strength, wrist strength and arm stabilizer muscles. Mimic your workouts to fit your position's specific movements on the field. For batting a full body workout is in order with a focus on torquing your body to generate maximum bat speed.
You are doing yourself and your team a disservice if you can't play any more than three innings of a game. Softball requires sprinting off and on several times over short distances. Work on breaking out of your batting stance after a swing and sprinting the full 60 feet to first base. Because games often last several hours, long-distance jogging should be used to get your lungs and lower body use to extended exercise.
Stretching all of your major muscle groups should be mandatory before and after every game. The same should be said of stretching before and after working out. Use a partner or design a solo stretching routine that loosens up your muscles. This will help prevent pulling a muscle during a workout due to straining, as well as pulling a muscle after a workout due to muscle fatigue. Stretching will also help increase your muscle flexibility. Set goals to be able to reach farther during your stretches every week while still staying inside of your natural range of motion.
A proper diet is in order if any kind of workout regimen is going to pay dividends. Your body needs fuel and energy drinks alone don't provide nearly enough. You should eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising, and small meals two to three hours before exercising. After working out you should eat a meal within two hours to help your muscles recover and replace glycogen stores.
- Softball Performance: Softball Conditioning - Quick Workouts Do Work!
- Exercise Goals: Softball Weight Training Exercises & Routines for Pitchers & Batters
- Kentucky Department of Education Nutrition and Health Services: Pre-and Post-Event Meals
- Kettering.edu: Physics and Acoustics of Baseball & Softball Bats
- The Stretching Institute: Softbal Stretches and Flexibility Exercises