The 2006 Alabama women's softball team dominated their competition in every way imaginable. In tallying 54 wins against just 11 losses, the Crimson Tide chalked up 132 stolen bases to the competition's 26, 492 hits to their opponents' 273 and 145 extra base hits to their foes' measly 52. Not only did they take home the first SEC title in the program's history, they also made their second straight appearance in the Women's College World Series. Clearly, these players came ready to play, and helping them get there was Michelle Martin, the team's strength and conditioning coach.
"I do a conditioning test at the beginning of the school year to make sure they come back to school in shape, and so I know they're ready to go right from the beginning," Martin says. "I'll test them again in January, after they're back from winter break, to make sure they trained while they were home." By testing twice a year, Martin can ensure her players are training consistently and at the right intensity.
Known as the 18 Half Gasser Test, Martin's conditioning test is great for softball because the distance is shorta little more than 100 yardsand it works all things used on the diamond, including acceleration, deceleration, change of direction and then acceleration again. Martin says, "They all have to finish 15 of 18 half gassers in 19 seconds or less, with one minute of rest between each." And if an athlete doesn't pass, she has an extra 5 a.m.-work-out a week with Martin until she does. "Last year, we had a girl pass less than half the first time she tested, because she was so worried about the 5 a.m. workouts," Martin says. "The next time, though, she made all 18. She just psyched herself out."
For those in shape, Martin has a reward system. If an athlete finishes all 18 half gassers within 19 seconds during the back-from-summer test, she only has to run 10 in January. So, are you ready to play for the Crimson Tide? Try the 18 Half Gasser Test and find out.
18 Half Gasser Test
Start on sideline of football field
Sprint to opposite sideline and back in less than 19 seconds
Rest 1 minute; repeat
Finish 15 of 18 half gassers within 19 seconds to pass
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