Improve Lateral Movement With Georgia Softball

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With its current run of seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances—and a pair of SEC titles—the University of Georgia softball squad has built itself into one of the top programs in the country. No matter what direction the Bulldogs are moving—especially on the diamond—they are quick and efficient.

According to UGA strength and conditioning coach Tyler Jorgensen, training quick lateral mobility is something the players focus on for every position. "We do exercises dealing with single-leg planting, especially if you're an outfielder [or] infielder reacting to a ball," Jorgensen says. "They have to be able to plant on that one leg and make a play on a ball. With pitchers, [the focus is on] finishing with their hips...and really focusing on using that leg to pull through with the pitch."

Being able to fluidly react to a ball allows an athlete to stay balanced while moving from one leg to another. To fine-tune this skill, Jorgensen uses agility drills that "limit our ground time while creating force and explosiveness."

One of his favorites is Single- Leg Hurdle Jumps. Try this once a week throughout the off-season and you'll soon be a human vacuum in the field.

Single-Leg Hurdle Jumps

Set-up: Place two 10- or 12-inch hurdles two feet apart

• Begin in athletic stance with hurdles to your right
• Step laterally over first hurdle with right leg
• Step over first hurdle with left leg
• Step over second hurdle with right leg
• Shift weight onto right leg and raise left leg off ground
• Lower left leg to ground and step back over second hurdle with right leg
• Step over first hurdle with left leg
• Shift weight onto left leg and raise right leg off ground
• Lower right leg to ground and step back over first hurdle with left leg
• Repeat pattern in continuous motion for specified time

Sets/Time/Rest: 3 for 30 seconds; 60-90 seconds

Coaching Points: Keep your knees up as you step over hurdles // Go through the movement as quickly as possible // Maintain your balance throughout the exercise // Perform entire pattern in continuous motion using your arms to keep you moving as fast as possible

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock