[Kelsey Haddock is a Health Fitness Specialist Major at East Carolina University and an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab]
Conditioning has not played a huge role in softball, and now-days most of the general training programs softball players are following do not exactly meet their sport-specific needs. Since softball incorporates many skills, and one of the most important being the ability to react proficiently to every aspect of the game, a softball-specific training program is crucial in order to maximize this ability.
In order to be able to design a softball-specific training program we must first understand the specific demands of the game. In this article I will address important factors a softball player must train in order to improve and maximize their athletic performance.
In terms of metabolic training, softball players should train overall fitness in the off-season, but the most important factor to train is the ability to make explosive movements for a short period of time. Therefore, it is the ATP-PC energy system that fuels just about every action in softball. Training the ATP-PC energy system involves sessions of repetitive 10-15 second bouts of maximum intensity work, with approximately two minutes of rest in-between to allow the system to replenish itself.
Note that when conditioning ATP-PC system, it is very important to build in plenty of rest. It is also important to stop the training session if the quality of the movements or the players’ power decreases significantly, because when this happens you are beginning to work on power-endurance, which is counterproductive if your goal is to only increase the ATP-PC systems capacity.
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