Softball Fitness Benefits

softball fitness benefits

We don’t always consider the complete softball fitness benefits.  It may not be in the playing of the game but is in the training for the game.  In order to become a great player, athletes need to engage in strength and conditioning to maximize the power an speed that are the most important for this explosive sport.

Softball Fitness Benefits

Aerobic Power – 8 minute run

Aerobic means “with oxygen”. It is also call endurance or cardio vascular fitness. In other words, it is how well your heart and lungs provide oxygen (air) to your muscles. During the 8 minute run, you began to breathe harder and faster, and your muscles began to get tired.

  • Softball is not a highly aerobic sport, however other sports like soccer, hockey and basketball can benefit from aerobic power
  • during tournaments and championships, you will require endurance to complete several games in one day

Agility – shuttle run

Agility means being able to change the direction of your body quickly and accurately. During the shuttle run, you have to quickly stand up to start and then change direction several times to get the ball and return it to the bucket.

Some reasons why agility is important:

  • to react and move to a hit ball
  • to move quickly from catching or fielding a ball, to throwing it to the base
  • to steal a base on an overthrow

Anaerobic lactic energy – 2 minute base race

Anaerobic lactic energy uses more oxygen than explosive power because is it longer in duration (more than 30 seconds), but uses less oxygen than aerobic power (more than 2 minutes). Think back to how tired you would be after an 8 minute run and compare it to how tired you would be after the 2 minute base race.

Anaerobic lactic energy is important:

  • when base running to more than one base (double, triple, home run)

Balance – flamingo stance

Balance is the ability to remain steady while standing still or while moving. The flamingo stance tests your balance while standing still (stationary).

Balance is important:

  • when in your ready stance (batting or fielding) so that you don’t fall over
  • every time you move (very important for all movements, even just walking)

Coordination – hand slap test

Coordination is the ability to move your body parts (arms/legs) smoothly and accurately. The hand slap test was used to test how smoothly, accurately and quickly you could move your upper limbs (arms/hands). It also tested hand-eye coordination.

Coordination is important:

  • to hit the ball when you are batting
  • to catch the ball in your glove and squeeze the ball at the right time
  • to release the ball at the right time to make an accurate throw
  • to hit the inside corner of the base when base running
  • to switch from fielding/catching to throwing as quickly as possible

Explosive Power – standing long jump

Power is changing energy into force at a fast rate. In the standing long jump, the energy came from your legs and swinging arm. The force was how hard you pushed off from the ground. Explosive power can also be called anaerobic power (anaerobic – without oxygen). When you use explosive power, you are doing something as hard as you can, but you do not breathe faster or get that “burning” in your legs because they are tired.

Explosive power is important:

  • to swing the bat with as much force as possible
  • to throw as hard as possible
  • to start your sprint when base running
  • to pitch a softball

Flexibility – zipper test and modified sit and reach

Flexibility is how far you can stretch and bend at your joints. It is expected that one side of your body will be more flexible than the other. The zipper test tests your shoulder joint and shoulder muscles flexibility. The modified sit and reach tests your hip joint and hamstring muscle flexibility.

Flexibility is important:

  • to prevent injury when running and especially sliding
  • to throw harder, using the full arm motion for more force
  • to hit harder, using the full hip rotation motion and follow-through for more force

Muscular Endurance – half push-up (upper body), abdominal bridge (core) and wall press (lower body)

Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscles to work over and over. The longer the muscle can work, the more endurance it has. The half push-up tested your triceps muscles (back of the arms). The abdominal bridge tested your core (stomach and back) muscles. The wall press tested your quadriceps (front of upper leg) muscles.

Muscular endurance in important:

  • so that your body doesn’t get tired during tournaments or provincials
  • to pitch several innings
  • to remain in the ready position for longer periods of time

Muscular Strength – maximum number of push-ups (upper body), maximum number of sit-ups (core)

Muscular strength is how much force your muscles can exert to move an object or to lift a heavy weight. The more push-ups you can do in a specific time, the more upper body strength you have. The more sit-ups you can do in a specific time, the more core strength you have.

Muscular strength is important:

  • to swing the bat with as much force as possible
  • to throw as hard as possible
  • to run as fast as possible when base running
  • to pitch a softball

Reaction Time – ruler test

Reaction time is how much time goes by between the stimulus and the beginning of the movement. The stimulus can be a green light at an intersection or someone saying “on your mark, get set, go!” In the ruler test, the movement of the ruler is the stimulus that you see and then react to.

Reaction time is important:

  •  to lead off a base as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand
  • to move in the direction of the ball as soon as it is hit

Speed – 30 m dash

Speed is your ability to perform a skill in the shortest amount of time. The 30m dash tests how fast you run.

Speed is important:

  • to swing the bat with as fast as possible
  • to throw as fast as possible
  • to run as fast as possible