Thanks for being receptive to other professionals in considering your best options. I find it validating when I can share from my experiences with another passionate pro!
This age group will always regard your drills as fun when you present with a fun, positive spirit. I really like the suggestion by Susan for recognizing positive remarks made by fellow players. This is one of the guidelines in Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s 1970s book “Kid Fitness” in which I recommend his “Ten Commandments for Motivating A Kid To Exercise”.
Two areas we need to avoid injury for this sport are: explosive rotations and quick, reactive footwork. Remember that explosive rotations are frequent in the sport and young physiques must be conditioned accordingly. Partner drills can be performed with tubes for rotation movements and the creativity is endless.
Quick reaction drill: Try the drill where you set 3 cones in “Y” formation for the runner to gain speed on the straightaway without them knowing which way you will point—right or left as they advance and quickly change direction when you indicate.
Reinforce young, weak ankles for the rigors of the sport activity. If possible, utilize the Bosu for this. Jump rope is also essential.
If you really want to guarantee the fun factor in a sport-specific way, then by all means–incorporate jump rope. See my baseball players’ jump rope skills progression here on YouTube. http://youtu.be/kjtfRZFpZUU Of course it is appreciated when you comment after you view. Share the passion
Hi Renee. This happens to be my client demographic! 🙂 I train girl athletes of all ages. I think that 14 year old girls can definitely benefit from strength and conditioning for their sport. For these girls, keeping their upper bodies (particularly shoulders) nice and strong is a must (of course along with their core and legs – hmm, did I leave anything out 🙂 I wrote an article for PTontheNet on Shoulder Exercises for Female Throwing and Overhead Athletes, you can access it on their site if you are a member.
For your girls, I’d use some ladder drills (always fun!) to help with their agility; relay races for their speed; ankle cuff side shuffles and Monster Walks (for those hamstrings and glutes), and tube resisted double external rotations, front and lateral shoulder raises (for those shoulders). There are many, many more (for example, I actually use a water gun “fight” to help some of the young girls I train with their agility (I can better explain how if you want to send me an email – see below).
I hope that this gives you some ideas! Most of all, have FUN (I know you, and they will!) – very important for this demographic.
For this age group it must be fun! They are at an awkward age and socializing is huge.
Playing music would be great!
Short drills incorporating jumping jacks, jump rope, bunny hops, frog leaps, bear walks, crab walks around the bases are fun along with agility ladders, medicine balls, lunges, squats and pushups.
You could work base to base with teams, each doing a different drill or do relays, they are always a hit!
I would incorporate group games, partner workouts, “ice breakers” where they have to say one thing good about the person to their right in terms of how they play softball.
I suggest pairing the “uncool” girl up with the “cool” girl and show them that people are people!