Softball Multi-Directional Speed with the Huskies

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Looking for the best softball scene in the nation? Look no further than the PAC 10. Loaded with players who are faster, bigger and stronger, the teams in this conference dominate year in and year out.

Recognizing the quality of their competition, the 2009 National Champion Washington Huskies work on their multidirectional speed as one way to stay ahead of the pack. "The girls are throwing so hard, and the game is being played so fast right now that there is no room for error," says Jason Phillips, former strength and conditioning coach for the Huskies. "It really comes down to being able to move around and play defense."

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Looking for the best softball scene in the nation? Look no further than the PAC 10. Loaded with players who are faster, bigger and stronger, the teams in this conference dominate year in and year out.

Recognizing the quality of their competition, the 2009 National Champion Washington Huskies work on their multidirectional speed as one way to stay ahead of the pack. "The girls are throwing so hard, and the game is being played so fast right now that there is no room for error," says Jason Phillips, former strength and conditioning coach for the Huskies. "It really comes down to being able to move around and play defense."

Phillips' speed philosophy centers around the ability to put force into the ground so you can move quickly, which helps you get to more balls. "Making defensive stops in the field is key, so I put the players through exercises that simulate how they have to drive off their plant leg, reach out and make a play on a ground ball," Phillips says.

The Huskies perform a series of sled tows twice a week in-season to work multidirectional speed. Players with upper-body injuries also use the tows as an alternative to squatting.

Perform two sets of each tow with 60 seconds rest.

Sled Tows Attach one end of a belt around your waist and the other end to a sled. These movements are slow-paced walks or marches, so put enough weight on the sled to make it difficult.

Forward Sled Tow

  • Begin in defensive athletic stance
  • In walking motion, step forward with slight forward lean
  • Perform 24 steps; turn around and perform 24 steps back

Coaching Point: Even though you're walking, you still need to reinforce good running mechanics, like toe up, knee up and really driving off that back leg.

Backward Sled Tow

  • Begin in defensive athletic stance
  • In walking motion, step backward by pushing through heel
  • Perform 24 steps; turn around and perform 24 steps back

Coaching Point: You want your shoulders over your knees and knees over your toes. When stepping back, push through your heel and pull backward.

Lateral Sled Tow

  • Begin in defensive athletic stance
  • In walking motion, step sideways by driving off inside foot
  • Perform 24 steps; turn around and perform 24 steps back

Coaching Point: Drive hard off your inside foot and reach out with your opposite leg as far as you can. Use your abductors and squeeze the sled down the runway.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock