Georgia Tech Softball Strength & Conditioning: A Diversified Program for Diversified Roles
April 10, 2006
While the concept of sport specific training has become popular among coaches and athletes alike, different roles within a sport may present even more specific needs. All softball athletes perform short explosive bouts of activity separated by generous amounts of rest. This fact determines the general emphasis of any softball strength and conditioning program. However a pitcher, a base-stealing slapper, and a home run hitter each have diverse ways of performing explosively. Taking these aspects into consideration has led to the development of a three-group strength and conditioning program.
The Pitchers: 3 days strength training / 3 days conditioning
The strength program for pitchers consists of three full-body workouts, two of which have a greater emphasis on lower body strength. Regular barbell bench press is replaced with dumbbell bench press to address upper body strength imbalances and to help chest flexibility by working a greater range of motion. Since the pitchers do not perform any overhead presses, they do box jumps when their teammates have split jerk. The pitchers also do extra work for their grip strength and as well as for their hip flexors and adductors. Furthermore, one of their three conditioning sessions is specialized for improving endurance.
The Power Players: 3 days strength training / 3 days conditioning
The Speed Players: 2 days strength training / 4 days conditioning
Two of four conditioning sessions for the speed players are specifically tailored to their group. One day is spent on agility and speed-endurance. Cone drills, short shuttles, and ladder drills are used to develop agility. The speed-endurance component of the workout helps to condition them for running distances less than 40 yards. The other day concentrates on acceleration/speed development and technique. This includes first-steps, form running, resisted sprints, contrast sprints, and over-speed sprints.
The Big Picture...
Although specificity is highlighted in this program, the bulk of each group's training is essentially the same. Though the amount of sets and repetitions may differ, all groups power clean, squat, and perform plyometrics to develop strength and power. Injury prevention is equally addressed among all players with exercises for low back strength, abdominal stability, total body flexibility, and shoulder pre-hab. Also, two conditioning days are performed as a team. One day consists of stadium sprints and the other day is devoted to shuttle runs. By the end of the week, all athletes have spent equal amounts of time training.