Softball is, for a lot of people, a year round sport. However, the big mistake many softball players do is to play competitively year round. You need periods in the year when you taper and focus on building your softball skills and improving your conditioning. This period is the off-season.
Fall is considered for youth softball players to be the off-season.
This morning, I was talking on the phone with the dad of a young 13-year-old softball player who absolutely loves the game and dreams of playing college softball.
He was confused as to what exactly he should be working on or prioritize at this time of the year.
Here is the answer:
(The answer might vary based on where you liveor what other sports you practice).
Right now, it’s fall. Technically, competitive travel ball is over.
Any fall ball is usually just to further improve your skills and gain experience but isn’t as important ont he priority scale.
This is call the “off-season”. You’re off important competition.
At this time of the year, the focus should always be on building and strengthening the foundation.
- Doing any major changes needed in the swing
- Learning new pitches for pitchers
- Improving mechanical deficiencies
- Building a good base of strength
- Improving running and agility techniques
- Building a good cardio base
Skills – doing the major technical changes and improvements and learning new skills that takes time and practice to master.
Physical – building a strong foundation of strength and cardio.
Later (late fall, winter, etc.), we will focus on…
Skills – Refining and keep improving on any major changes or new learning we did previously to be ready for the season.
Physical – Build on top of the foundation of strength and aerobic capcity: develop explosive strength (power) and speed/agility (sprint work, footwork, etc.).
In a nutshell, you must progress your learning from generic/big early in the off-season to more specific/refinement later in the off-season and pre-season.
Here is an example of a new skill that you can learn in off-season that takes time to master and refine: slap hitting!