Softball Conditioning - Strength or Power? Power or strength? For many, these two terms mean the same. But, there is a difference. Strength = how much you can lift or how much force you can generate. Power = explosive strength or how much force you can generate very quickly. Being explosive. If you need more power quickly - check this resource: Power Training for Softball A little (simplified) lesson about physiology. As you know well, the body is basically divided between fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers are dominant for slower, endurance-type activities and fast twitch fibers are dominant for fast, explosive activities. Obviously, softball relies almost exclusively on the fast twitch muscles fibers as everything in our game is fast and explosive. Some people are born with 50% Slow and 50% Fast while others are dominant in a certain type. Olympic marathon runners are genetically dominant in slow twitch and Olympic sprinters are genetically dominant in fast twitches. While it is mostly a question of genetics as to how much of each you have, you can, only to a certain extent, influence it with training. Overtime with sustained training, you can move the percentage SLIGHTLY one way or the other based on the type of training you do (fast and explosive training will improve slightly the % of fast twitches over time). You can also train the existing fibers to be more efficient (even faster and more explosive for fast twitch fibers). That is done through power training. Power is explosive strength. You train explosive strength usually by doing:• Plyometrics (aka jump training)• Olympic lifting (cleans, snatchs, etc.)• Explosive Medicine ball work• Explosive lifting using regular resistance training exercises The key here is not the number of reps but the "explosiveness" or how quick the action is. Usually for Olympic Lifting, you are talking heavy weights and low reps. For med ball work and plyometrics, it is usually a matter of 8-15 (sometimes up to 20-25) repetitions done explosively. For an 11-year-old, ONCE (and only then) you have establish a good base of muscular endurance (stability) and strength (functional), then I would do twice a week:
1) Low level plyometrics - 2-3 lower body exercises - 2 sets of 10-15 reps.2) Med Ball Work for core and upper body - 2 upper body (throws, presses) and 2 coreexercises (side tosses, swings, etc.) for 2 set of 8-10.3) Introduce the power clean with only a very light bar to focus on form and do 1-2 x 10 repsto build a base.Go get some power!