Conditioning Workouts for Fastpitch Softball

Oct 6 08:07 2009 Bruce Smith Print This Article

A great article containing tips and training workouts for fastpitch players

Sport specific conditioning or game speed practicing are not new concepts,Guest Posting but often overlooked is the unique fitness training needs of fastpitch position players.  Softball athletes execute short explosive movements followed by time at rest, but each position has different amounts of rest time.  Softball pitchers and catchers operate at a different frequency than either infielders or outfielders.  This rest interval difference needs to be taken into consideration by their strength and conditioning program. Many athletes now have specifically tailored fitness programs.  Taking this into consideration, here are three examples of a tailored fitness program.

The Power Hitters:
The power hitter's greatest asset is their ability to generate bat speed through the hitting zone.  Power hitter's can hit for high average and/or home runs.  Defensively, power players will typically play as the catcher, corner infielder, or right field.  For this group, the fitness program emphasizes the lower and upper body and core strength development.  Conditioning workouts put added emphasis on incorporating medicine ball plyometrics for trunk torque and power development and improving speed-endurance for under 40 yard conditioning.  

The Speed Players:
The speed player is defined by her ability to accelerate quickly and maintain a high maximum running velocity.  Offensively this group includes your slappers, single hitters and base stealers.  Defensively, this group is usually your middle infielders and outfielders.  Even though speed player's training emphasizes speed and agility, they can also be some of the strongest players on the team.  Speed player's typical strengthening routine focuses on full body exercises like lunges and squats, with less of an emphasis on upper body strength.  Agility is enhanced through cone drills, ladder drills, and short shuttles.  Finally, the speed endurance targets acceleration and running distances of less than 40 yards through resistance sprints and form running.

The Pitchers:
Arguable, the pitcher is the most influential player that effects the game's outcome.  Not only do they need to be pitch explosively, but they also must have the endurance to pitch multiple games per week with, potentially, long innings.  Their lower body and core must be exceptionally strong and powerful while maintaining wide range of motion and flexibility.  Like speed players, pitchers conditioning training focuses are full body workouts with a slightly greater emphasis on lower body strength.  Pitchers also need to do extra grip strengthening work and as hip flexors and adductors to improve lower body mobility.

Final Training Considerations:
Off-season and in-season fitness training sessions have dramatically different emphasis.  In the off-season, a strong emphasis is placed on muscle building and injury prevention.  Conversely, in-season training is for injury prevention and maintenance.   

While the majority of each groups training is essentially the same, the number of sets and repetitions differ depending of the areas of emphasis.  All groups include full body strength training, injury prevention exercises, and strength endurance training.  Over the course of a week, the athletes cover all the strength and conditioning development areas, but with varying amounts of time based on their emphasis.

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