In softball, getting on base is purely about speed. A quick jump toward first base after a batter makes contact with the ball is often the difference between reaching safely or being called out.
Getting out of the batter’s box can be tricky! You have to control the momentum of your swing and shift from your hitting mechanics platform (standing upright with your center of gravity evenly distributed between your feet) to your speed mechanics (running with your body at a 45-degree angle and your feet pushing behind your center of gravity to drive your body forward). To be a fast and effective softball base runner, you have to be balanced while transitioning from being a hitter to being a runner.
Balance training can be added to any warm-up series and should be done several times a week. One of the best beginner balance drills is the Single Leg Stand.
Softball Base Running Drills
- Tighten your core
- Stand on your right leg and hold your left leg off the ground in front of you with your knee bent at a 90-degree and your big toe pulled up
- Keep your posture upright, your head neutral, your knee high and your foot straight
- Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side
- Perform three times
To add variety, you can also do this drill with your leg straight out in front, out to the side (abduction) or behind you.
Add transition training to your regular speed workouts and perform it two to three times a week. A great drill that will help you work on your transition from upright posture to sprinting is the Lean Fall Sprint Drill.
Lean Fall Sprint Drill
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your body rigid from ankles to neck
- Lean forward until you actually start to fall (so far that if you don’t step, you will literally fall on your face). This is critical to create forward momentum and approximate the angle required to accelerate effectively. Most people think they are leaning farther than they really are, so be brave!
- As you lean, rise up on the balls of your feet and do not bend at the waist
- While driving out of the fall, move your knees and push off the ground with your legs to drive your body forward
- Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and swing your arms from the shoulder joint
- Keep your hands open and relaxed
- Sprint distance should be from 10 to 20 yards
- Walk back for recovery
- Repeat 8 to 10 times