After months of anticipation, it’s time to get back outside (and back into shape) for spring sports season. While spring may be synonymous with the beginning of baseball season for major leagues, many of us live out our dreams of scoring on a baseball diamond by playing in local softball leagues. Whether you choose to play fast pitch or slow pitch, the muscles and technique used in both are very similar. That said, the game strategy, pitching styles, and equipment are very different.
Much of the hitting power in softball comes from owning the right bat. Viper Bats can help you choose the right bat for you, whether you’re interested in a wood softball bat, maple softball bat, or bamboo softball bat or a custom wood softball bat made specifically to fit your preferences. Getting your bat speed up will amplify the power behind your hits, and help you drive the ball higher and further. No matter what level you play at a quick swing is very important, but it’s absolutely essential in men’s slow pitch softball.
To further improve your hitting power, you can work on building a strong core and powerful leg muscles. A powerful core and quick hands can be developed through a variety of exercises. It’s going to take more than just lifting weights – you’ll need to incorporate smart nutrition, cardio, and endurance conditioning into your routine. When you do your weight training, try to incorporate elements of softball into your practice- strong hitting requires flexibility as well as brute strength. Make sure to tone the front, back, and sides of your core muscles as you work, your oblique muscles are especially important to include in training. Combining resistance with your cardio will help prevent the decline of your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which hold the key to explosive bursts of power.
Fielding is often underappreciated in the game of men’s slow pitch, but as in any team sport a strong defense is crucial. Work on your quickness and response time- try to “stop” the ball rather than catch it. Everyone struggles when fielding ground balls, but working on your form can help correct those simple (and frustrating) mistakes. Use your knees, not your waist, to reach the ground. Field the bottom of the ball, and keep your glove in a position so that you can see both it and the ball in your frame of vision. Continue to improve your quickness and agility as well, and your defensive skills will thank you.
Refining your practice with a wood softball bat is smarter than using a metal one. Wood is less forgiving, and will give you feedback when you need to improve. Wood softball bats are made out of different types of wood, and each will feel different when you test it out. Viper bats are all ASA approved and crafted to meet ASA wood bat regulations.
While your league may just be warming up, in the meantime you can watch women’s softball on TV with DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket as their college season concludes for the year. The NCAA has announced the 2014 Women’s World Series location as Oklahoma City, OK and fans can look forward to a variety of activities at the event in addition to exciting game action.
Spring training means different things for everyone, but practice smart and you’re sure to notice improvement come game time!
This article was written by Beth Kelly who is a freelance blogger who writes about everything from softball to the science of space travel. She lives and works in Chicago, IL. You can follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/bkelly_88