Strength Training the Body for Softball
Your body is the most important piece of equipment you bring to the field each day. And for best results, you must ensure that it’s operating at peak capacity. But in a sport with such varying physical demands as softball—that's easier said than done.
Four-time NCAA All-American Amanda Lorenz walks you through how to build up your body for softball--both in-season and off-season.
Essential steps for getting the most out of your body
Your body is the most important piece of equipment you bring to the field each day. And for best results, you must ensure that it’s operating at peak capacity.
But in a sport with such varying physical demands as softball—that's easier said than done.
Not only do athletes have to find the optimal approaches to train for each aspect of the game. They must carefully balance activities in each area so they don’t negatively impact each other.
Go too hard on lifting day, and your performance at practice or on game day might suffer. Change your diet to cut some weight, and it’s possible hitting power or pitching speed could drop. Even something as simple as how you hydrate could impact several areas of your game.
That’s why you’ll notice almost all of the best softball players have a dedicated training routine for everything.
Our team of softball legends has already covered how to create winning routines in areas like:
They’ve also been busy putting together a lesson on training the body for softball.
If you’ve ever been confused about how to manage nutrition & hydration, cardio, lifting, and rest & recovery—keep reading.
Theory in Practice
Hitting extraordinaire and college softball coach, Amanda Lorenz, recently produced an exclusive video training session with Versus about getting the most out of your body for softball. We’ll be using the video as a guide for this article.
For those who aren’t familiar with her background, Amanda dominated college softball with the Florida Gators. Just some of her impressive collegiate achievements include:
- Four-time NFCA All-American, plus top 4 finalist for the Honda Award and USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year
- NCAA active career leader in walks and games played, plus ranked inside top 5 for runs, doubles, and total bases
- Reached base safely in 254 out of 265 career games, including an unbroken 67-game streak in 2018
Lorenz went on to be the number two overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch Draft, beginning her professional career with the USSSA Pride in 2019. She’s also been the Assistant Coach for the Gators since 2020.
This unique skill set is one of the reasons we’re so excited to have Amanda run this session. As a coach and current elite athlete—she’s one of the few people who can offer real-world expertise in the theory and practice of training the body for softball.
Anything Lorenz recommends is grounded in solid evidence around athletic training. Plus, it has been tried and tested in the field to ensure that it’s effective.
If you want to see Amanda’s full video session on training the body for softball, choose a plan and download the app to start learning.
Our free plan gives you access to one video session of your choice. While the standard and premium options include the full library of video content from our star-studded roster.
In addition to video sessions, all Versus plans let you utilize our advanced AI-powered technology to ask interactive questions from our team. These conversations are more personal in nature and cover information from different angles than our videos and articles.
As well as Lorenz, you can use the app to talk to other titans of softball, such as Jennie Finch, Jessica Mendoza, and world-renowned coach, Tim Walton. Collectively, they answer over 1000 questions, spanning more than 40 softball related topics.
If you’re ready to level up in softball—Versus has everything you need to get better.
But now, let’s get into Amanda Lorenz’s lesson on training the body for softball.
Start with Your Goals
Before planning your physical training routine, Amanda recommends that every player should spend some time thinking about their goals.
“Ask yourself what kind of athlete you want to be?” instructs Lorenz. “We need to define that first before we can really establish what kind of training goes into your regimen.”
The obvious place to start is clarifying whether you’re aiming to get better at pitching, hitting, or fielding. But then drill down even further.
Do you need to work on power hitting? Pitching speed? Or timing at bat?
Whatever it is, “Make sure to tailor your training to the kind of player you want to be.”
For a power hitter like Lorenz, that looks like lifting a lot and focusing on her lower half. That's what moves the needle for her in terms of in-game performance improvements.
“But if you’re trying to be a slapper and someone who incorporates speed in their game,” recommends Amanda, “You should have a lot of explosive movements in your training, like sprints and cardio.”
Nutrition & Hydration
“In order to get the most out of your body, I think it’s so important that we are hydrating and eating very well,” states Lorenz. “We need to make sure that we’re drinking enough water, having enough electrolytes, and eating the things that make our body feel better.”
After working extensively with a nutritionist for several years, Amanda believes that paying close attention to how certain foods make you feel and perform is the best way to fine-tune your diet.
“Pay attention to your energy levels, not the weight on the scale,” she suggests. “If I felt like I was hungry and needing a pick me up during the middle of practice or a game—that showed me I needed to look deeper into my nutrition and make adjustments.”
Some factors to adjust around nutrition and hydration include:
- Meal size and timing
- Adjusting the macronutrient profile (protein, carbs, fat) of meals
- Drinking more fluid before and during training and games
- Doing a trial of eliminating certain foods that could be causing fatigue or bloating
If you don’t have access to a nutritionist, try keeping a food diary at least a couple of days per week. Keep track of what you eat and how it makes you feel, being sure to evaluate any changes you make along the way.
Amanda has a love/hate relationship with running.
In the video, she recounts how her high school coach would make the team run a lot before practice.
“I hated that the most,” she states. “But looking back, I appreciated what it did for me as an athlete physically and mentally.”
Lorenz believes that incorporating cardio into practice is essential to getting the most out of your body in competition.
“That running and experiencing fatigue before a hard practice, just makes it so much easier to perform in a game.”
It’s fine to do additional cardio outside of practice. But to ensure that your body is ready for game conditions—ensure at least a few training sessions each week are done under fatigue.
“One of the things I’m most thankful for during my time developing,” explains Lorenz, “is that I had the opportunity to work with strength and conditioning coaches that took the time to actually teach me how to lift.”
Strength training is an essential part of Amanda’s routine. But she reminds players that learning to lift “is a very gradual process of being taught certain movements so you can do them safely.”
Lifting is an area where Lorenz recommends getting professional advice.
“Find someone to at least teach you the basics,” she urges. “Especially at a young age, making sure form is perfect is the most important thing.”
Getting proper advice on strength training doesn’t just help to avoid injury. A strength and conditioning coach provides valuable input on exercise selection and training volume, ensuring time spent in the weight room results in maximum benefit.
Rest & Recovery
An aspect of physical training that is often not planned for adequately is rest and recovery.
It’s important to train hard. To push your body so that you can reach higher levels of performance. But your body requires adequate rest and recovery to adapt to the stress that you put it under.
Without strategically planned rest days, lower intensity periods of training, and getting adequate sleep, athletes risk accumulating high levels of fatigue. This can end up reducing performance over the long term and increases the risk of injury.
When Amanda was in college, she took one full rest day each week during the season. She admits to “taking a few swings” on some of these rest days. But by and large, the day consisted of “sleeping in, getting a massage, making sure I’m fueling my body, and staying in bed most of the day.”
Rest days look different for each athlete. So long as the focus is on recovering from the prior day's stressors in preparation to attack the coming training and/or game in full force—you’re on the right track.
Feeling Good Is Key
There’s no doubt that Amanda Lorenz trains hard. You don’t get to be one of the best hitters in professional softball without putting in some work.
Although, you might have noticed—Amanda dedicates a lot of time and energy into making her body feel good.
For Lorenz, feeling good is essential for softball players to set themselves up for long-term success.
Sure, there are days when you won’t feel 100%. And you’ll need to dig deep and grind to perform at a high level on these occasions. But lasting success can’t be built on grit and determination alone.
If you want to achieve a level of growth, consistency, and success on par with Amanda—you must pay careful attention to what makes your body feel good and perform well. Because in most cases, the two are directly linked.
You can use this article as a guide to developing your own routine for training your body for softball. But if you’re serious about taking your game to the next level—sign up for one of our plans.
With any Versus subscription, you can watch the full video this article is based on. Plus, you’ll get direct access to exclusive advice and training resources from our roster of elite athletes and world-class coaches.
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