S&C Program for 12U Girls Fastpitch

I’ll be assuming the head coaching position of a girls 12u travel softball
team next month and I’m trying to decide on our S&C program. We’ll probably
practice about 3 times per week.
I believe that we’ll start each practice with a mobility based warm up with
unilateral hip and ankle focus. We’ll have the girls do a fair amount of
one-legged forward jumps (modeling the pitcher’s push off the rubber). We’ll
finish the warm up with some sprints and then go into softball specific
drills/warm ups.
About twice a week I intend to have all of the girls do some strength
movements after practice with a focus on shoulder stability. Push ups, bear
crawls, static holds, seated rows with therabands, and
face pulls with therabands are the movements that I’m considering. I know this may fly in the face of long-toss proponents.
Does this program seem sound? What modifications should I consider? Thanks a

Make sure your Bear Crawls are multi-directional (forward, backward, lateral right hand lead, lateral left hand lead, hand carioca left hand lead, & hand carioca right hand lead). You might also consider internal & external rotations with Theraband, as well as a lot of posterior work (upper back & posterior deltoid) to balance all of the internal (anterior) movements associated with baseball & softball. Also, a lot of rotational core work. I like the push-ups, especially if you can do them with one or both hands on an un-stable surface (a couple of basketballs, a Dynadisk, or a Bosu Ball). Just my thoughts. Hope that helped at least a little.

I was wondering where you had disappeared to.

Just some of my thoughts after working for about 6 months with an U-14 girls team for the first time. I usually work with the older groups.
Spend half of your time on nutrition (with both the players AND parents) and half on conditioning. It doesn’t matter what kind of a conditioning program you have if the girl is 40% BF and continues to eat like crap, there will be no progress.

Posture. softball players are notorious for poor posture. It will affect their throwing, hitting, running, lifting, and all basic movements. They probably won’t be injured until 17 or 18. They are very resiliant until then.

Work everything to both sides and with both hands… All drills and even running the bases the opposite direction. This one is fun.

Lunges. Every which way and with all kinds of objects in the hands with arm movements. Bats, balls, small sandbags, BB, equipment bags.
We lunge around the bases with 10 push-ups at each base or from centerfield fence to home plate.

We also do alot of jumping, hopping and hurdling. Use cones with a broom stick. Set up several in a row.
They like these. Single and double leg long jumps. Work up to 5 or 6 continuous.

Experiment and be creative. When they look bored, change it up.


I know nothing about softball but 14 year olds need to practice jumps of many different kinds and also do bodyweight exercises such as push ups, lunges, squats. I’d also use a lot of medicine ball work with them. Oh and short sprint work!

The program sounds like a good idea. Thrown in some hyperextensions, wrist/forearm work and some plyos (jumping up to a low box) in addition to everything else others have mentioned.

Are you doing any resisted acceleration runs? I use them for some young baseball players.

Snatchcoach : Definitely multi directional bear crawls. Do you have suggestions for rotational core work that you can do on the field? I’m considering something with therabands while standing - rotating at the hips. Also possibly medicine ball work. The pushups on nstable surfaces is much too advanced for these girls.

TNT: How’s it going? How much luck did you have with the nutrition piece?
I definitely like the “both sides” approach which I do with my daughter. I want to avoid imbalances but kind of struggle with how much time to devote to weak sided throwing, hitting, and running in softball.

tc0710: The sprint work will be about 20-25 yards for the most part.

nycjay01: Hyperextensions, grip work, and box jumps (and landings) are all things that I want to do. When and where I can implement them is yet to be determined.

To those that have coached this sport before: How long/often do you practice and how much time do you spend on S&C? My daughter will probably be the only girl on the team that has done anything like I plan to have these girls do. I definitely need to start slow with the most essential aspects and add as the girls improve/progess. Any thoughts on progression?

The nutrition is a constant uphill battle And it seems that it gets worse with the younger ages. Just keep grinding away. I find progress is slow in this area. They don’t think that nutrition is related to sports performance what so ever. I will get through to about 1 or 2 girls on each team. They will show up for practice/games with a whole cooler full of food and water. The rest are over-fed but undernourished. When they hit 16-17, the chronic problems (injuries) start to surface.
Watch for bruises that take weeks to heal and disappear. One girl had a thigh bruise for 3 months.

Winter S & C was optional last year for the 2 younger teams. After seeing what a difference it makes, those 2 coaches have already decided it is mandatory next winter. The girls that had the best attendance at S & C, also lifted the most at the end of the program, are the fastest H-1st, have not had an injury, and are having a helluva season so far. They also don’t fade in game 7 or 8 of a tournament.

I take all teams through a dynamic warm-up that incorporates agility drills, quick feet stuff,
short speed work, some plyos (intensity varies with age), and strength work. I don’t seperate or isolate those skills because they aren’t in the game. We start a lot of speed and agility stuff from lying prone, supine, on knees, sitting.
Sometimes ya fall down. Not more than 3 reps of any drill. Lots of variety and combos - softball is a game of chaos.First one is “test all systems”. Next 2 full out game speed. And they are pushed to constantly do everything faster and react quicker. During a practice, my part is about an hour, then they 2 or more hours of ball stuff. Water and snack breaks every hour.
Before a game I get them for 35-40 minutes and then 20-25 minutes of ball stuff.

Sandbags made from kitty litter are a lot cheaper than medicine balls and serve the same purpose. I made over 40 of them one year for 3 teams. Everyone has their own sandbag. 5 - 30 lb. are good depending on age.
$50 will do 3 teams.

Older girls hit a basketball off a T with a bat anywhere from 5-9 lb.

Gotta go back to work.


Why kitty litter instead of sand?

And how many times per week do you practice?

It’s cheap, clean, not as fine as sand and makes a more awkward bag, which is part of the reason a medicine ball/sandbag is difficult to handle. Sand when sold is usually wet and takes a long time to dry. Wet sand makes lousy sandbags. It doesn’t shift enough. They are also a lot of giggles. I also use them with the rowing club and the university rowing team. There is nothing more humbling than being knocked on your butt by a stupid sandbag. You just look stupid, lay in the grass and laugh.

Winter S & C 2 days a week. Starting in Feb. we add 1 practice per week. When we go outside, (mid to end of April), it’s usually 2 practices a week. The session before their league game and the game itself is looked at as a practice. Tournamnets usually every other weekend. The U-19 team is in BC at the Canada Cup.