What is Plyometric training? Plyometric training is the name involved for the one tool in the development of a well rounded athlete which involves the usage of jumps, hops, bounds, and/or skips. Plyometrics makes use of the stretch-shortening cycle of muscles (an active stretch of a muscle followed by an immediate shortening of that same muscle), and typically involves rapid contacts with a surface (e.g. foot contacts during sprinting)
Plyos have been demonstrated to improve athleticism in youth athletes. Ths type of training stimulus is very potent, because it requires highly-coordinated and skillful movements, however, it should be coached with full care and attention by qualified personnel. Due to the nature of this training, both training volume and training intensity needs to be monitored based on individual variability of each athlete.
Plyometric Training important for sport because the stretch shortening cycle exists in all forms of in sports. Changing direction on a soccer field, jumping to grab a rebound in basketball, and sprinting down the field for a touchdown. All of these movements are classified as plyometric movements, hence the importance of training this stretch shortening cycle becomes apparent.
Research on plyometric training has demonstrated a benefit of plyometrics to improve strength, speed, power, change of direction, balance, and jumping in youth athletes. While researchers know what it improves, they also know how, and while it enhances all types of things inside the muscle and the physiology of the muscle, one of the main things it enhances is motor coordination.
Plyometric activities teach athletes to produce high levels of force in a very short timeframe, resulting in very fast movements. These forces could exceed 3-4 times bodyweight, and as a result, plyometrics are not typically seen as just exercises or drills, but more as complex ‘movement skills’ due to their high-complexity. Due to this, they require a large amount of attention and coaching if optimal, and safe, performance gains are to be made.
You will see our athletes participating in plyometric training in the jump start program, as well as the change of direction and linear speed classes of the total performance program. Our program monitors the volume and intensity of these activities and our coaches are there to watch and modify movement demands and volumes based on the athlete.
Plyometrics are just one tool in the tool box. We use this modality as such, and blend it in with all the other tools, to help produce the highest quality sports performance program available.