4 Medicine Ball Throws to Improve Your Softball Defense

April 29, 2013 | Michelle Diltz

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The best weight room exercises are those that transfer to the field. It doesn't matter how much weight you can lift if the movement you perform does not improve your overall game. For softball players who want to train at game speed, the answer is medicine ball throws. (See also Training Secret to Create Softball Swagger.)

Here are four medicine ball throws that will directly translate into your defensive game. Add them either at the beginning of your workouts or after a max effort upper- or lower-body lift to complement the movement.

Med Ball Front Diagonal Throws

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

Why: The Med Ball Front Diagonal Throw places a diagonal load into the hip, teaching you how to use your hips and legs for many athletic movements, especially pitching. Loading into the hips, together with the explosive triple extension for the throw, forces you to use your full body to complete the energy transfer from your legs and hips through your core to the release of the ball for max power and speed.

Variations/Progression: half kneeling, kneeling, standing, single leg

Start:

  • Stand in athletic position, shoulders square to the wall.
  • Hold the med ball in front of your body in both hands.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing at the wall.
  • Distance from the wall depends on the type of med ball used and the speed and power of the throw.

Load:

  • From the starting position, load your right hip into a quarter squat by shifting your weight to your right foot.
  • While descending into a quarter squat, move the med ball with straight arms, good posture and a strong core.
  • Rotate the med ball to the outside of your right hip.

Throw:

  • The transition from the load to the throw should be quick.
  • Keeping your arms straight, drive through your right heel, initiating triple extension.
  • Release the med ball slightly in front of your right hip, aiming for a spot directly in front and center on the wall.
  • Prepare for the med ball to bounce directly back.
  • Use the momentum of the med ball off the wall to reload on the right side and repeat for specified reps.
  • Complete all reps on one side before changing sides.

Med Ball Hammer Throws 

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

Need: medicine ball; open space; partner

Why: The Med Ball Hammer Throw teaches you to load laterally to create balanced footwork during cutting and fielding. The loading into the hips creates a stable and balanced posture. This allows you to cut and react athletically to a hit ball and to transition explosively for the throw.

Variations/Progression: half kneeling, kneeling, standing

Start:

  • Stand in athletic position with your back toward partner, shoulders square
  • Hold med ball in front of your body in both hands.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed straight ahead.

Load:

  • From the starting position, load into your right hip and descend into a quarter squat by shifting your weight to your right foot.
  • Move the med ball with straight arms, good posture, and a strong core and rotate it to the outside of your right hip.

Throw:

  • The transition from the load to the throw should be quick.
  • Keeping your arms straight, drive through your right heel, initiating triple extension of the right hip as your arms move diagonally across your body from your right hip to above your left shoulder.
  • Release the med ball at the top point, above and just outside your left shoulder, and throw it for height and distance to your partner.
  • Complete all reps on one side before changing sides.

Med Ball Squat to Push Press

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

Need: medicine ball; open space

Why: The Med Ball Squat to Push Press enhances weight shift, posture, balance and coordination, teaching you how to efficiently load and transfer force from fielding to throwing. The transfer of power from your lower body through your core will help develop a strong throw.

Variations/Progression: standing, single leg

Start:

  • Stand in athletic position with your shoulders square.
  • Hold the med ball in both hands at shoulder height close to your body.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed straight ahead.

Load:

  • From the starting position, hinge your hips back and descend into a full squat.
  • Keep your chest up, core tight, and the med ball in front of your chest.

Throw:

  • The transition from the load to the throw should be quick.
  • Keeping med ball at chest height, drive through your heels to initiate a triple extension and jump straight up.
  • At full extension of the hips, press the med ball straight above your head.
  • At the top point, release the med ball, throwing it as high as possible.

Med Ball Slams

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

Need: medicine ball

Why: Med Ball Slams enhances weight shift, posture, balance and coordination, teaching you how to efficiently load and transfer force from fielding to throwing. The transfer of power from the lower body through the core will help you develop a powerful throw. The whip-like movement mimics the load and unload of throwing, allowing you to generate explosive arm speed.

Variations: standing, single leg, rotational

Start:

  • Stand in athletic position with shoulders square.
  • Hold med ball in both hands with your arms straight in front of your body.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing straight ahead.

Load:

  • From the starting position, hinge your hips back and descend into a full squat.
  • Keep your chest up, core tight, and the med ball in front of your body.
  • Push through your heels and lift the med ball above your head as you rise back to a standing position and all the way up onto yourtoes.

Throw:

  • With the med ball at its top point, transition quickly by lowering your heels to the ground and slamming the ball to the floor about a foot in front of your body.
  • Prepare for the med ball to bounce directly back.
  • Use the momentum of the med ball off the floor to reload and prepare for next rep.

Photo Credit: University of Alabama Softball

Topics: MEDI
- Michelle Martin Diltz is in her eighth year as strength and conditioning coach for The University of Alabama softball and women’s golf teams. She has...
- Michelle Martin Diltz is in her eighth year as strength and conditioning coach for The University of Alabama softball and women’s golf teams. She has...
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