Article Submitted By: Gregg Williams -Sports Performance Specialist (SPS)
I am priviledged to get many invites by numerous high school coaches to observe, critique and assist their strength and conditioning programs. In every program that I have observed including football, basketball, even cross country, they all have incorporated quick, fast, and explosive movements. I see athletes leaping forward, jumping off each foot laterally, tossing a medicine ball off of the wall, even jumping on and off of different heights of boxes. Everyone knows these movements as “plyometrics” But do they really know the true meaning? And how to successfully execute for top performance. Up to this point, you may conclude that this article will have all the creative ways to perform movements. Rather, I would like to lay down a fudamental foundation for those who desire to be successful in this style of training. Besides, if I list all of the possible plyometric drills, this article would be double in length. First, lets define the word. Plio means to move and metric means to measure. The word simply means to increase the power. To improve the production of muscle force mechanically and neurophysiologically according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The problem with this type of training (like anything else) too much is high risk.
I know coaches whose program centers solely around plyometric training. Ironically these same coaches had a higher percent of injuries among the team throughout and late in the season. Injuries such as soleus strains to plantar facia strains. So heres what one should consider when incorporating plyometric drills into their program. The training area should have hard rubber matting. As intensity goes up duration should go down. Recovery should be 48 -72 hours between workouts. Footwear is important for some support. I do encourage the no shoes sand training. Supervision is an absolute must to avoid unexpected injuries and to watch technique. Last but not least, always consider safety. An injuried athlete is of very little use to a team if he/she cannot compete.
For further details, questions on ways to improve your program, you can email me through the website