Strength and Conditioning for Softball is a key component in this game as it is in most sports. In this game, it is critical to the speed needed for most of the skills. Without adequate power you will not be able to develop maximum speed to execute skills such as base running and many aspects of fielding.
Endurance sports however do not rely on strength to the same degree as others such as team sports and many track sports. For this type of sport unlike softball, strength and conditioning has a different focus.
There are many reasons that strength and conditioning is critical to maximum performance in softball and of course to the general health and fitness benefits to the average person.
Strength and Conditioning for Softball Benefits:
- maximize physiological systems used in softball
- decrease recovery time
- injury prevention
Maximize Physiological Systems
In building the body to perform in softball, there are 3 types of systems that need to be trained, strength, power and speed. Softball is a power sport, but strength is critical to developing that power. Strength and Power are needed in almost every skill from throwing to fielding to hitting and yes even in baserunning. Even though speed is what is most commonly referred to when discussing baserunning it is in fact strength that determines the potential for speed by strengthening the muscles ability to push off the ground while running.
Decrease Recovery Time
Athletes are often put through grueling activities while training and during competition. The ability to get back up and go at it again within 24 to 48 hours and sometimes in even less time, is dependent on physical conditioning, rest and nutrition. This is why aerobic conditioning is an important addition to training during the off season. It is not the focus of training however it can be included.
Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (S.A.I.D. principle) is the ability of our systems, including muscles and tendons to adapt based on the training that we undergo. For example, if we engage in lifting weights for example, as the body gets stronger the weights will seem lighter which is when the resistance can be increased. That is an imposed demand that we have adapted to.
Strength and flexibility are critical in preparing the body to withstand some of the physiological demands of competition. By ensuring flexibility, and strength through the anatomical adaptation phase, the body is prepared for the vigor of training that are required to excel in softball.