Youth Softball Conditioning

Published: 01st May 2009
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There are many youth softball conditioning exercises that will improve the strength and agility of softball players. By increasing the ability of the player's body to perform, we are giving players the opportunity to maximize their talents and potential, and protect their bodies from injuries.

Here are some youth softball condition training techniques that are recommended for youth softball coaches for the development of their players:

Stretch Before Games - One of the most advisable of youth softball conditioning training protocols is the use of warm-up exercises. Softball coaches must ensure that their players perform a regimented series of stretching and warm-up exercises prior to every game and practice. Players should stretch all major muscle groups for about 10-12 minutes prior to softball play. These major muscle groups include, but are not limited to, shoulders, legs, arms, hips, and back.

Practicing the Slide - Among the most important youth softball conditioning training exercises is for players to practice the slide. Sliding is the cause of almost 70% of injuries to youth playing softball, so it is important that players learn how to slide properly. Once they have gained this skill, players should practice proper sliding techniques on a weekly basis until the proper methodology of the slide becomes a permanent part of their muscle memory. Players should be taught to slide on the outfield grass. When sliding to the right, use the right foot as the takeoff foot, and take off on the left foot when sliding to the left. As your slide takeoff starts, players must throw their arms up, so that the upper body is extended backwards while the feet are pointing forward, close and parallel to the ground. Land on your buttocks, with toes and heads up, and arms spread out for balance. Tuck the left or right leg, whichever is more comfortable to the individual player, in a bent position and place it under the other leg to avoid injury while sliding. Here are some examples of instructive softball sliding drills among general baserunning tips although many can be found on the Internet.

Incorporate Aerobic Exercise - One of the most beneficial youth softball conditioning training protocols is to include aerobic exercises as part of your team's regular training practice. Aerobic exercise, such as swimming and jumping rope, increase the blood circulation and heart rate for an extended period of time which, in turn, helps to increase bone strength and muscle tone.

Of course, these categories of youth softball conditioning are just the beginning before you start the softball drills that actually teach the game. As a softball coach, you should schedule the drills from least strenuous to most strenuous to continue the body's acclimation process to physical conditioning. These softball conditioning guidelines are meant to prepare the softball athlete's body for physical activity and should be part of a comprehensive fitness regimen.

About the Author: Trevor Sumner who works for Weplay.com, a  youth sotball community dedicated to providing parents, coaches and athletes the tools and information they need to celebrate the love of the game.  Weplay has one of the most comprehensive softball drill libraries in its active softball community.

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