A weight plate slams down. The sound—nearly identical to the crack of an aluminum bat hitting a ball—echoes through the 37,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art University of Alabama weight room as members of the softball team trickle in. The few Alabama football players remaining from their early morning workout quickly complete their reps and shuffle out. It's 8:00 a.m., time for the softball team's morning workout, and things are about to get intense.
When the girls gather around head strength and conditioning coach Michelle Diltz, all chatter dies down. It's time to get serious.
"Michelle pushes us every day to do more than we think we can do to become stronger than we think we can," says outfielder Kayla Braud.
It's not easy to become an Alabama softball player; the program recruits only the nation's best athletes. Once the athletes arrive on campus, things get even harder.
"When they come into this weight room, I expect intensity, dedication, hard work and competition," Diltz says, "My job is do whatever I can so that they can do whatever they need to do to transition from the weight room onto the field."
Diltz brings the same mindset to her planning, meticulously plotting each workout. When building a workout during the season, she considers factors such as the timing of games and practices, individual schedules and recent performance on the field. If the team has struggled at the place during a game, she scratches the previous plan and starts fresh. Alabama can't afford to have a weakness in its game.
After the conclusion of the season, Diltz and head coach Patrick Murphy review the stats, watch video footage and discuss improvements for next year.
"I push them way outside of their boxes," Diltz says, "But this makes them have that confidence and swagger so that they can face and handle any challenge."
Witness the explosive workout yourself and see what it takes to be "Built by 'Bama."
Train Like 'Bama Softball
Want to train like the Alabama softball team? Start by checking out more intense training from Diltz:
- Softball: Game Speed Training with Medicine Ball Throws
- My Training Secret to Create Softball Swagger
- Inside 'Bama Football's Weight Room
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock