Swinging With the Sooners

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No longer is softball just a spring and summer sport. To reach the upper echelon of the game of softball, it takes year-round dedication—especially in the weight room.

After stepping into the University of Oklahoma's training facility during softball's downtime, it's no surprise that the Sooners have reached the Super Regional the past two seasons and appeared in five out of the last nine Women's College World Series. Right away it's obvious: There's no off-season in Norman.

According to strength coach Nancy Derrick, the Sooners incorporate a full-body workout into their intense weight room sessions. One portion of their lifting emphasizes rotational and core work, because, says Derrick, "any kind of rotational movement that builds strength can be very beneficial for a softball player."

To keep the Sooners swinging big sticks at the plate, she has them perform the Medicine Ball Sit-Up With Rotation once a week throughout the off-season.

Medicine Ball Sit-Up With Rotation
• Assume upright sit-up position with partner standing on your toes and holding ball
• Catch pass from partner and rotate torso left bringing ball to left hip
• Rotate torso back to start position and throw ball back to partner
• Perform to right side
• Catch pass from partner over head and perform sit-up throwing med ball back to partner on way up
• Perform again

Sets/Reps: 2x20
Coaching Points: Go through a full range of motion during your rotation // Catch the ball with arms extended above your head // Touch the ball to the ground behind your head at bottom of sit-up
Benefit: Derrick says, "The twist is really good for softball players because they are using a lot of the muscles with the twist that they are using whenever they swing and whenever they have to twist and turn."

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock