In today’s blog post, I am going to share with you some fabulous conditioning drills and exercises that you can incorporate into your practice plan to increase your athletes speed, quickness and agility. These are simple takes and variations of old favorites, that when properly implemented, will show you awesome results!
Agility Conditioning Drills
This is great for teaching the quickness and athleticism that we need. Start with two foot jumps. Pull the toes up toward the shins and spring off the ground. Don’t stab the ground with the toes. Keep the core tight and stable. Suck in the belly button and tuck in the back.
Jump Rope w/ Running Rhythym
Now let’s go to a running rhythm as we jump rope. Pull the knee up, heel up, toe up as you run in place. Get the synchronization of the arms and the feet to work together. Pull that knee up, heel up, and toe up as you step down to the ground with greater force and power.
Now let’s add the speed to our run. We want to get a more rhythmic, faster rhythm as we run jumping rope. This teaches the arms and the legs to work together. Pull those toes up so we bounce off the ground.
One Foot Hops
These are unmatched for developing balance in each of the body. Agility, balance, power, everything we need for athleticism is in this drill.
Single-leg hops as fast you can go. Quickly, pop off the ground. Pull that toe up and bounce as fast as you can. Balance up by using each leg equal number of repetitions.
Now let’s challenge the neuromuscular system. We’re going to do skipping. This forces the rhythmic action of the arms and the legs to work together. Sends messages from the brain to the muscles at a faster rate of speed. This is super for teaching quickness. You have to step down to the ground with the toe pulled up toward the shin. This keeps the ankle cocked and loaded, ready to explode off the ground.
Now let’s increase the speed. Let’s go back to our two foot jumps and let’s add fast feet. Pop off the ground as quick as you can. The rhythmic action of the arms and legs working together is great for developing better quickness and power to the ground.
Now let’s take our larger basic agility movements and let’s take those down into a quick skipping action. Straight ahead, skip as quick as you can. Step down, down, down to the ground. We want to bounce off the front part of the foot. Down and back is one repetition. Do three sets of three to five repetitions. Pop off the front part of the foot. Quickly step down to the ground. Down to the ground as you skip. This teaches that faster, quicker motion the muscles need to respond.
Moving sideways, we don’t want to cross the feet. Get your skipping rhythm, push away from the direction you want to go. Push to the right to go left. Push to the left to go right. Stay on the front part of the feet. Keep your core solid and locked in. Get that skipping rhythm, increase your speed as you go across. Down and back to the right and left is one repetition. Do three sets of three repetitions.
Skip and Crossover
Now let’s go skip and crossover. Use the knee and the hip as fast as you can. Your feet will follow your hips. The faster you rotate your hips, the faster the crossover you get. Rotate. Bring the knee across. Don’t reach with the heels and the feet. That puts us out of position. We want to stay in a power position by stepping down with the front of the foot.
Coming backward, turn the knees out and step down quickly. Again, the faster you move your hips, the faster your feet will go. Step down, down, down. That’s where quickness comes from. Put the foot back on the ground as quick as you can. Keep the toes pulled up toward the shins so it’s cocked and loaded, ready to push off. Down and back is one repetition. Do three sets of three repetitions.
For more great softball conditioning drills, be sure to check out my Softball Drills and Practice Plans series, complete with video demonstrations! And don’t forget to Become a Fan on Facebook, where I will share more fun softball throwing drill tips and techniques!