Softball conditioning can include plyometric and agility workouts for power and quickness and tempo runs to improve aerobic fitness and aid recovery. But it's also important to include workouts for speed endurance with active recovery. Some might argue that this is not needed because of the short, explosive nature of softball and its extended rest periods. But providing constant movement with limited rest helps improve players' fitness overall and burnishes their skills on the field.
Use this workout as a "secret" end-of-practice softball conditioning drill to improve full-game performance. It combines 30 yards of repeated sprints with short, active recovery. The setup mirrors actual play: running quickly, returning to the original position and resting for a short time before the next sprint.
Softball Conditioning Sprint Drill
Required equipment: Two sets of cones, one to mark the starting line and the other at the 30-yard mark.
Test parameters: Begin at the starting line. Sprint to the 30-yard mark. Rest for 35 seconds. Jog back to the starting line and begin the next sprint.
If you return to the starting line before the 35 seconds are up, take additional time to rest without moving. This allows for an adequate work-to-rest ratio and prevents lactic-acid buildup in the muscles (unless you are in poor shape).
Speed: The time limit for the 30-yard sprints is based upon your best overall 30-yard sprint time (recorded in a separate session). Each player should complete her 30-yards in no less time than her best 30 time plus 10 percent. For example, if a player runs her best 30-yard sprint in 4 seconds, she must complete each sprint in less than 4.4 seconds.
Reps: If expanded work capacity is your goal, simply run sprints until you drop below the 10 percent drop-off. If overall conditioning is your goal, start at around 15 sprints and gradually increase the number until you complete 25-30 sprints.
Remember: This workout is a good test of work capacity and repeated sprint ability. It is not a speed workout, however, because it does not allow for maximum recovery. Nor is it a recovery workout comprised of tempo runs, since the time required to complete each sprint is taxing.
- Alabama Softball's Conditioning Test
- Virginia Tech Softball's Conditioning Plan
- Washington Softball's Off-Season Conditioning Plan
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