Softball workout programs need to be specific to the sport and concentrate on the movements and muscle groups that are utilized when playing the game. Players need to have speed and agility. It is particularly important to develop arm strength as well as core strength needed to transfer energy from the legs and hips to the bat and to improve throwing motion. A plan that includes cardio, weight training, sprint drills as well as agility drills will be most beneficial. A comprehensive approach to nutrition and injury prevention is also significant.
Improving Endurance and Fitness
Endurance workouts three times per week in the preseason and twice per week during the season will build endurance and stamina. One 30-minute bike workout each week will help reduce running-related injuries. Fast cycling bursts of 100 to 120 rpm that last two to three minutes and are each followed by an equal length of cycling at an easy 60 to 80 rpm will build endurance and stamina as well as leg turnover. Eight to 10 sprints between home base and the outfield fence with walk-back recoveries will also build endurance and stamina. Three sets of high knee drills for 20 seconds per set will improve running form.
Improving Speed And Quickness
Two speed workouts per week during the preseason and once per week during the season will improve overall speed and increase offensive and defensive opportunities. Workouts should be done at very fast speeds with longer recoveries. Do eight to 10 sprints between home base to first base. Concentrate on staying low and pushing off with the feet to accelerate. Walk back for full recovery. Increase the distance once every other week and then sprint from home base to second base. Build quickness with eight to 10 angled sprints from the pitcher's mound to either first or third base. Start facing home base and, on a whistle, sprint to left or right at an angle.
Improving Core Strength
The National Strength and Conditioning Association advocates that it is important to build core strength through sport-specific training. Exercises to build strength in the hips and abdomen include crunches, planks, bridges, v-ups, lateral oblique raises and hanging leg raises. Sport-specific core work includes swinging weighted bats and working on proper hitting technique three days per week.
Arm And Shoulder Strength
Strengthening the arms and shoulders will increase arm speed and improve throwing velocity and bat speed. Strengthening these areas also helps reduce the risk of injury. Warm-up and stretch the shoulders and arms before and after practice. Two lifting sessions after core work will be beneficial. Three sets of eight to 10 reps of dumbbell presses, incline bench presses and upright rows with enough weight to cause slight fatigue by end of each set will accomplish this goal. End with pull-ups to failure at the end each lifting session.
Holistic Approach To Training
Improving your softball skills involves more than being an accurate thrower or being able to hit a curve ball or a slider. Becoming a great athlete requires a lifestyle commitment to healthy living and nutrition. A balanced diet will fuel the body and aid muscle recovery. A commitment to properly warming up and stretching each day will also be vital in your quest to improve. Give yourself at least one day to recover after games before exercising to help reduce risk of injury.