Straight ahead speed, quickness, agility, balance. These are skills that you need to have to play better softball.
Fast Leg Run Drill
Start with a nice, easy jog. Cycle the leg on every fourth bounce. It’s one, two, three, up, down with the leg.
Bring the knee up, heel up, toe up. Keep good posture. Suck in that belly button and tuck in the back so we have a stable core. Use a nice, gentle arm swing to match the run motion. Cycle that leg by pulling your toe up toward your shin and stepping back down to the ground. The step down is the application of force. We need that for great acceleration.
Intermediate level. Now we’re going to alternate legs. Use the right, then the left. The right, then the left. This changes the firing pattern from the brain to the muscles and helps to make our athletes more explosive for greater acceleration. Make sure you lock in the core. Suck and tuck. Pull that belly button in, tuck in that back, put force down to the ground to propel and move the body.
Down and back is one repetition. Do three sets of three repetitions.
These are two-foot jumps coming forward; bring the knees to at least hip height. If you can bring them up a little bit higher, that’d be great. Use the arms, keep the core solid so you bounce off the ground. We don’t want to spend any time down there. We want to be quick.
Three sets of five to 10 jumps will do great in this drill.
Let’s go to a one-legged hop and try and simulate our running motion a little bit. Bring that knee up and heel up as you bounce on one foot. Three sets of five to 10 are great.
Start easy, progress into more repetitions as you go. Make sure you work both legs equally. The right and the left. Do one leg down and one leg back. That way you don’t get too fatigued and tired. Remember, we want explosiveness out of this drill. This simulates the power we need for great acceleration and speed.
Here we want to extend our running motion by driving the knee up and bringing the heel and the toe up. We want to cock and load the foot so it can explode off the ground. Count each leg contact.
For example, you would do three to five bounds counting the right leg. One, two, three. That’ll balance you out. Each set would be three to five with each leg. Do three to five sets when you train.
Obstacle Jumps and Hops
With these drills, you’ll be using a small obstacle, six to 12 inches high.
Start with side to sides. Go over and back. That’s one repetition. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, popping off the ground as quick as possible.
Next, do one foot hops. Over and back with the same leg. This is great for balance and power. Make sure you work each leg equally in the number of sets and reps. Over and back is one. Do three sets of five.
Now let’s face the hurdle. Forward and back. Over and back is one repetition. Do three sets of five to 10.
Try and keep your heels together when you do these so your feet don’t swing out and around the obstacle. We want to stay under control. The more control you have of the core, the more control you have with the rest of your body.
Now let’s do single foot hops. Over the corner of the object so we don’t kick it with the other foot. Over and back is one. Do three sets of three to five repetitions.
These softball drills are perfect for conditioning your players to be better athletes. If you’re stoked about trying these exercises out with your players during your next practice, don’t forget to share this post with your fellow coaches!