To maintain an edge over their opponents, the U. S. softball team performs a strict agility circuit, which develops quick, explosive movements and conditions the players for the rigors of the diamond.
"Softball is not an aerobic sport, but we need aerobic conditioning to recover from our anaerobic type of exertion between pitches, sprinting and running bases," states Brandon Marcello, the Olympic softball team's strength and conditioning coach. "From a conditioning standpoint, we do a lot of energy system development circuits-anything that is quick, powerful and explosive [and] that you can do for 12 seconds," he says.
Here, Marcello provides some drills you can incorporate into your own softball-specific agility circuit, and that will also improve your conditioning.
Choose or create 10 to 16 exercises // Perform one for 12 seconds // Rest for 24 seconds // Move to next drill // Run through circuit 2 to 4 times // Perform once or twice per week
Some exercises you can use:
• Mountain climbers on slide board
• 180-degree hip rotations
• Linear box taps
• Lateral box taps
• 10-yard shuttle runs [carioca, backpedal, etc.]
• 3-cone pro shuttle run [5-10-5]
• 5-cone, 2-yard shuttle [Run two yards, head back to start; run four yards, head back to start; repeat for six, eight and 10 yards]
• Squat jumps
• Body weight squats
• Forward lunges
• Split jumps
• Stationary bike
• Lateral shuffles
• Dot drills
• Jump rope