There are several components of fitness that are important for success for all softball players, though there are positional differences in the requirements for fitness. See our discussion about the Fitness Components for Softball. See also the Softball SPARQ fitness testing rating system which uses a different battery of tests.
Aerobic fitness is an important component of fitness for softball, so that players can reduce the effect of fatigue during long periods of play. Fitter players will cope with the heat stress of playing all day in the sun.
The aerobic test performed may depend on the starting fitness level of the players. A submaximal test of aerobic fitness may be suitable, such as a cycle test (Astrand test, Trilevel, PWC170), or the Cooper 12 minute run. For players used to some conditioning exercise, the maximum effort shuttle run (beep) test would be more appropriate. You can find information on many aerobic tests from here.
The flexibility tests should be specific to the actions of softball. Being flexible enables a greater range of movement in the execution of striking or throwing the ball, and may reduce injury in the long term. The sit and reach test can be done for lower back and hamstring flexibility. Other flexibility tests should also be performed that are relevant for the sport or playing position.
Strength & Power
Strength and power tests should also be done to determine initial levels and to monitor changes in conjunction with training programs. Upper body strength is particularly important. Core stability and abdominal function are important for controlling movement and execution of skills.
Maximal strength tests for specific exercises should be conducted. Abdominal muscle function should also be tested, for example using an abdominal strength or endurance test. A handgrip strength testis also suitable. There is also Softball Ball Throw Test for testing throwing power and technique.
Speed & agility
Running speed, acceleration, and agility are very important in softball for moving between the bases and in fielding. Sprint time over 20m, with a split time for the first 10m should be done. You may also want to do a softball specific test, sprinting over the actual distance between bases, and incorporating a turn.
Excess body fat would affect the softballer's ability to move freely around the field, and it would also increase fatigue during training and game play as the excess weight does not benefit the sport. Skinfold measures should be performed to determine body fat levels.
- Softball SPARQ testing
- Softball warm-ups
- softball throw fitness test
- Discussion about the Fitness Components for Softball
- Poll about the fitness components for softball
- All about Fitness Testing