The truth is, going for a run is not the best option if you’re trying to “get in shape” for softball. Ok, it’s a complete waste of time. Seriously.
Slow running does not benefit any capacity directly related to softball performance. It certainly may improve cardiovascular efficiency which is critical for general fitness, but it is only one way to do so.
Now, I don’t think running is bad for you; however, bad running is.
Most team sport athletes are bad runners.
Hitting the ground with bad mechanics often enough will lead to shin, knee, IT band, hip, or back pain. If your posture and breathing is bad enough, it might even lead to shoulder pain. I’m very serious when I say too much long distance running can be a direct risk for a softball-related shoulder injury.
Slow running doesn’t improve speed, strength, stability, or flexibility. Too much of it will, in fact, make you slower, weaker, and tighter. Need I say more?
Circuits using a combination of strength training, core, and agility exercises are better conditioning options for developing athletes. They don’t require much space, equipment, or time. They improve a spectrum of qualities, not just conditioning. You can use basic exercises which a coach or parent can instruct with groups of athletes.
Here are three examples of conditioning complexes. I demonstrate one round per complex, but you can complete up to eight rounds with one or two minutes rest in between rounds.