Conditioning Drills for Softball
Conditioning is a huge part of any sport, and softball is no different. Not only do you need speed on the bases and on the field, but you need to be able to play through seven innings. Being able to do this doesn’t come naturally to all, so this softball guide details a few conditioning drills that will put you on the path to being in the best shape possible.
Cross jumps are great because they offer variety. Essentially, you will be jumping through the four quadrants of a cross that is on the ground. To make the cross, you can use PVC pipes, rope, chalk (if you are on cement/asphalt), you can draw it in the dirt, or use a line already established on the ground. The length of the cross should be at least two feet. Starting in any of the four quadrants, try any of the variations listed below. Each exercise should be done for 30 seconds. Each exercise should also be done at least twice and make sure to work out both feet evenly:
- Jump back & forth: Starting in any quadrant, jump back and forth over one line with one foot or both.
- Jump side to side: Starting in any quadrant, jump from side to side over one line with one foot or both.
- Quick feet through each quadrant: Starting in any quadrant, go clockwise through each quadrant. Step both feet in each quadrant before moving on to the next. You want to do this as fast as you can. Stay light on your feet and stay low.
Jumping rope is an old-fashioned workout that still works! Doing 60-second rounds of jump rope is a great way to boost your stamina and speed. At least three rounds of 60-second workouts should be completed. You can switch from jumping rope with both feet, one foot, and for speed (getting at least two revolutions per jump).
Hot Tip: Hydrate!
To get the full benefits of these workouts, make sure your body is hydrated! It's always okay to take short breaks to sip on water or sports drinks.
This exercise can be tiring, but if you push through it, the benefits will be huge. You will need two cones and an open field:
- Go to an open space where you have 20 yard to yourself. Take two cones to mark the starting line and the 20-yard (end) line.
- From the starting line, sprint to the second cone, then back to the starting line, and finally back to the 20-yard cone. These three sprints make up one triplet.
- Try doing 20 triplets for a workout that will strengthen your legs, stamina, and speed. Start with a 60-second break, then decrease your break by five seconds with each triplet (60, 55, 50, etc.).
Roundabouts are similar to cross jumps, but instead of jumping through quadrants, you simply set down a short cone and jump over and around that, instead:
- Jump back & forth: Starting with the cone in front of your toes, jump back and forth over the cone with one foot or both. Stay light on your feet and use only the balls of your feet!
- Jump side to side: Starting with the cone to your side, jump from side to side. Then face the other direction and do the same thing with one foot or both. Again, stay on the balls of your feet!
- Run around: Starting with the cone to your side, stay low and get around the cone as fast as possible. Using short shuffle steps is often the quickest way to do this.
Each of these exercises should be done for 30 seconds, and at least two rounds of each should be completed during your workout.
Shuffle cones are a great way to add some variety to your sprints. You will need five cones (or markers):
- Set up three cones along a line, about five yards apart. Then in front of the middle cone, set down two more cones, set five yards apart. Your cones should look like the letter “T.”
- Starting at the middle cone, stay low and shuffle to the cone to your right.
- Then shuffle to the cone to the far left.
- Then shuffle back to the middle cone.
- Sprint to the cone set five yards ahead.
- Without turning around, backpedal back to the middle cone.
- Then sprint to the cone set 10 yards ahead. Once you get to that cone, touch it and sprint back to the middle cone.
- This is one set. Complete at least 10 sets during your workout. You can switch between shuffles, carioca, and sprints if you want to add a little more variety to your workout.
Breathing Hard is a Good Thing
Conditioning, though it might not be your favorite thing in the world, is an important aspect of softball. Doing these drills on your own or with a partner will get you game-ready in no time!