Softball Conditioning Drills
Softball fielding skills are essential to success in outfield positions of course, but fielding skills also involve a general development of the reflexes, core strength, and agility that can support every aspect of a winning game. Total baseball and softball conditioning means preparing a light speed response to flies, line drives and especially ground balls, which are targeted in the video drill below.
Softball players and coaches can follow along as Kbands trainer Trevor Theisman works with a local team to develop grounding skills using the support of the Kbands resistance training equipment. These drills can be conducted with small groups, individual players, or large groups, and can be incorporated into a circuit training situation with multiple stations. They require only a ball and glove, four agility cones, and a set of Kbands resistance bands for each player.
Softball Fielding Drills: Setting up the Drill
Softball players can begin this set of softball fielding drills by placing the cones in a square about three to five yards apart. Before moving through the drill, players should attach the straps of the Kbands securely in place around the upper leg just above the knee. The straps should be snug but not tight, with the label facing forward and the metal rings on the outside. Once the straps are in place, the resistance bands can be clipped to the straps with the short band in the back and the long band in the front.
For the first set of drills, the resistance bends will stay in place, applying targeted tension to the muscle groups of the hips, glutes, upper legs and core. After a few rounds of resisted softball fielding, the bands can be unclipped and players can repeat the process with no resistance. The temporary sensation of extreme lightness that occurs after the bands are removed will help softball players focus on speed and agility for the second half of the drill set.
Softball Fielding Drills: Executing the Drill
To being the first round of softball fielding drills, the player will stand at the front cone on the left hand side. At the starting signal, she will sprint backward to the back cone on the left hand side, round the cone, and sprint across the diagonal to the front cone on the right hand side. When she reaches the front right cone, the coach will roll a ground ball in her direction. She’ll field the ball, then backpedal to the back right cone. At that point, she’ll explode into a sprint across the diagonal back to the front left cone. At the front left cone, she’ll field another ground ball and then move through the drill again: backpedaling to the back left, sprinting to the front right, fielding a groundball, backpedaling to the back right and sprinting to the front left again.
As with any team drill, players can move quickly through a few rounds and then step aside for the next player in line. But these fielding drills will be more effective if each player can complete the drill multiple times in succession with only a short rest break in between each set. To complete the drill effectively with an entire team, coaches can set up multiple stations to keep each player in continuous motion.
Softball Fielding Drills: Technique
As softball players execute both the resisted and unresisted sets of this fielding drill, technique will be central to success. Watch the video carefully to see how players generate and maintain speed and agility on the turns. As a player reaches a back cone and then rotates into the sprint, the change of direction should be explosive. The knees should stay high and should drive against the resistance of the bands, and the arms should stay fully engaged. If players let the arms stay low and allow the bands to control the motion of the legs, then central key muscle groups won’t be taxed and speed and reflexes won’t develop as fast as they should.
Viewers can also notice how the players in the video keep their gravity centers low as they move from the sprint into ground ball fielding position. The center should stay low and players should anticipate the ground ball by reaching forward to meet it. They shouldn’t hold back and allow the ball to come all the way toward the body. Anticipating the ball means a more accurate grab and a faster return, which puts the body back in motion faster and maximizes the benefits of the drill.
Players who experience the greatest success with these softball fielding drills keep the following considerations in mind:
1. They maintain forward focus and keep their eyes on the ball and the direction of the sprint.
2. They keep their arms high and in motion, which contributes to balance and speed.
3. They drive the knees and keep them high during the sprint.
4. They reach forward to meet the ground ball, and
5. They make the most of the temporary sensation of lightness that occurs after the bands are removed. During this time, the focus should be on speed, balance, and quick feet.
Softball Fielding Drills: Final Notes
Ideally, these ground ball fielding drills should be paired with similar drills that combine sprinting, fast direction changes and targeted resistance, while focusing on other catches, both high and low. In all cases, as players move in different directions while working on catching accuracy, they develop strength, endurance, balance, and reflexes at the same time.
Targeted suspension and resistance training can provide essential support for these softball condition goals. Players and coaches can look above to the training tab for more information about the training benefits of the Kbands, the KB Duo, and the KB Powerbands. These training tools are lightweight, portable, and can be used to support almost every aspect of an effective softball training program. Best of all, they adapt to each user’s own body weight and experience level, so they’re ideal for team training. Visit the site or reach out to the Kbands trainers directly to find out how these simple devices can take any game to the next level.
Softball Training Equipment