For some people, softball is a beer league experience. It’s something to be done with friends in the summer, a slo-pitch exercise in fun and relaxation that’s mostly about hanging out after the game.
But there’s a lot more to softball than that. For some people, especially girls and women in high school and college, fast-pitch softball is an all-out competitive sport that demands specific skills, dedication, and a year-round commitment to training.
It also demands the right equipment, so let’s take a look at some of what you’re going to need if you’re coaching a team or you want to master the skills that go into becoming an excellent softball player.
Softball Training vs Baseball Training: Which is Harder?
While baseball players and fans might think they know the answer to this question, it’s not quite that simple.
Softball is difficult and challenging. Harder than baseball, in many ways. The speed of the pitches is “only” 70 miles an hour, but the underhand delivery of the pitcher occurs with a whipping motion that makes the ball very hard to pick up and hit.
The same thing applies to fielders as well. Softball fields are smaller, which means fielders have less reaction time. That makes it harder to make plays and play effective defense.
Finally, there’s the ball. The larger size makes it harder to hit for distance in fast pitch, despite the legends about slo-pitch softball hitters who can wallop the ball and send it flying a country mile.
A fast-pitch softball is on hitters so fast they don’t know what’s happening, and the best fast pitch softball pitchers can add pitch movement to the equation.
Softball Training: In-Season Equipment and Training Aids
Given all of that, training is important, and the right equipment is essential. So let’s take a look at what’s involved:
Depending on their skill set, softball players have a lot of choices when it comes to the right bats. They can get bats with a larger sweet spot, models with a lighter, thinner handle to facilitate bat speed, and composite materials that are balanced to given them the best possible swing.
Softball gloves need to be large but balanced, and they also need to be designed for female players. The leather needs to be light but strong, and many different designs are available.
Cleats have to be comfortable, but they have to be durable enough to stand up to heat and hard base running during longer games. They also have to provide stability when fielding, as well as protection when players slide into bases.
Catcher’s gear is just as important in softball as it is in baseball. Chest protectors have to be tough but comfortable, and both the leg and shin guards need to provide maximum protection.
The helmets that are part of the package are designed with the same kind of protection features, and they also often have features to guard against concussions.
Benefits of Softball Training
One of the most overlooked factors of softball training is the workout benefits it involves. Younger players develop better hand/eye coordination, and there are improvements in cardiac health as well.
Softball Pitching and Pitching Mounds: Pitch the Right Way
While catching is considered by some to be the toughest on the field, pitching is easily the most demanding.
The whip motion necessary to develop speed requires both strength and coordination, and that extends beyond the obvious need for arm strength.
The best softball pitchers work out year round, and they use portable pitching mounds to replicate game conditions.
These mounds are made by companies like Victory Mounds, and they’re quality equipment that combines technology, state of the art materials and precise design to give softball pitchers the platform they need to succeed.
What Does a Softball Pitcher Need to Pitch at the Highest Level?
Believe it or not, softball pitchers also need workout gear in the winter. That includes weights, stretching bands and other equipment for core and strength workouts, and running is often part of their offseason programs as well.
As is the case with baseball, softball at the highest levels has become a year-round sport. Conditioning is essential, and the best players try and add new skills and pitches every year to continue to keep hitters off balance.
How to Practice: Softball Pitching at Home
When it comes to practice, softball pitchers develop their own routines that include home workouts. During the season, these workouts are designed to help endurance and recovery after tough games when they throw a lot of pitches.
During the offseason, the best softball pitchers focus on developing and adding to their games. That means more strength and cardio, running and speed workouts, and recovery routines that include high level nutrition.
Are Pitching Machines Helpful for Softball?
For hitters, practice is essential, and it goes well beyond in-season practice with live pitchers.
Offseason workouts include sessions with pitching machines that can replicate the deliveries of the best pitchers, and hitters can choose speeds and even select the types of pitches they want to face during a given session.
It’s important for hitters to get reps, but the workouts they do have to be designed to support their routines.
That means strength work for power hitters, and speed and flexibility workouts for contact hitters who specialize in that part of the game. Pitching machines can help with all of these skills, and they’re an essential part of the game.
What is the Best Recovery for Softball Pitchers?
While recovery might seem to be a matter of simple rest, there’s a lot more that goes into it for the best softball pitchers.
They ice down their shoulders immediately after each start, and they may even use electro muscular stimulation to facilitate recovery.
Their trainers take precise measurements of their blood levels to get the best information available, then alter their recovery routines accordingly.
Victory Mounds Can Supply You With the Softball and Baseball Training Aids You Need
Regardless of whether you’re running a Little League team, a high school team or a college program, everybody has a budget, and that applies to softball gear and equipment as well.
At Victory Mounds, we’re aware of the numbers that are involved. We’ve worked with programs at all levels, and we provide a variety of softball and baseball equipment. That means we know how to set up some money numbers so you won’t blow your budgets.
A lot of companies can’t match this capability, so if you spend too much on a portable pitching mound, you may end up falling short when it comes to other basic needs. We’ve seen that happen, and one of our most basic goals is to prevent it.
When you contact us, we’ll answer your questions, ask a few of our own about your program and needs, then recommend the appropriate softball or baseball products.
The process starts when you go to VictoryMounds.com to learn more about our products, then call us at 800 835 9460. If you’d prefer to email, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.