We have had several discussions about multi sport athletes and the benefits our softball players gain from participating in other sports. We have talked about how faster and stronger is always better. We have talked about hydration and breathing and other things that allow our kids to perform at a higher level. We’ve talked about how fitness impacts the likelihood of injury. The list of these discussions will continue to grow, for sure.
What do we really want to accomplish through all these discussions?
We want our softball players to become better athletes, overall. And before you get too upset, I don’t mean just weight! Athletes come in all shapes and sizes and we need to recognize this fact.
But what we need to also recognize is that our kids are becoming more and more sedentary. They spend a lot of time with their faces in their technology and for the most part, this love affair with their device takes time away from physical activity.
One of my students was a little upset the other day because her coach is requiring the team to add some distance running into their routine. Now this student raised a good point, that I have also shared, softball is an explosive game not an endurance game, so why run for distance? Well, in my opinion, the answer is pretty simple, to get more fit and to become more athletic.
Now distance running all by itself isn’t going to make a non-athlete into an athlete but it can be a step on the road to becoming more athletic. If you increase your endurance, you can work harder and more often on other skills that apply directly to softball.
Better endurance can mean:
More work on speed and agility drills
More quality reps in practice
More opportunities to work on your sprinting and base running
The ability to pitch or play effectively for a longer period of time more consistently
And on and on the list would go.
What we have to remember is that the game of softball is not really all that demanding to play unless you are a pitcher or catcher who is involved in every pitch. And even they get to rest about half the time in a game that often is a 75 or 90 minute time limit. So if you or your players are tired after playing a game, or even a couple games, we have to ask a simple question:
Are we in shape?
If we answer no, then we have to work on improving that deficiency. Or you can’t call yourself an athlete!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.