I see so many videos on YouTube of these crazy pitching drills involving bosu balls, push ups, and burpees. They get tons of likes but... why??
First of all, I never want to knock a pitching coach for trying to be creative and coming up with challenging drills to push their pitchers to become better. I have also been guilty of trying to make "busy" drills and pass them off as being "challenging" and making my students better.
Quick background on myself before I explain why pitching for conditioning is not helping. I have a bio-chemical engineering degree. The bio means I have been educated on metabolic processes in the body and understand the effects of exercise on the cellular level. I am also a certified personal trainer. In order to become certified, I had to pass a test covering exercise types and how, when and why to use them. So, not being the standard fastpitch softball pitching coach, I have moved away form the gimmick drills and focused on proven strength training protocols to get results. (Read progress report for Pitcher Development Program)
Why you need to stop doing pitching drills for conditioning.
1. Fatigue is the number one reason for pitchers to lose form.
2. Losing form is the number one reason for injuries.
If you need to condition, then condition.
According to my friend and exercise physiologist, best way to condition for fastpitch softball is to sprint. Due to the nature of the sport, there is a short working period and a longer resting period.
Pitchers work for 2-3 seconds with a 20-30 second rest between pitches.
Infield works 4-5 seconds with up to a minute of rest
Outfield works 5-10 seconds with a few minutes of rest.
Slappers and fast runners work 3-9 seconds with a few minutes of rest time.
Average hitters work 3-7 seconds with a few minutes rest time.
Conditioning should involve sprinting for the average work time listed above.
Rest times should start off at 3 times more than the work time.
Over time, reduce rest time to the same as the work time and increase the number of sprints.
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