On the surface plyometrics are all about force production. For young athletes they are a great way to learn to produce force, apply it into the ground and propel their body in a new direction.
The overlooked part of plyometrics, that needs to be considered is the role of force absorption in an athlete’s development.
If athletes never had to land, or never had to stop there wouldn’t be as many injuries. Plain and simple. Almost 70% of knee injuries occur from non-contact movement. A great percentage of those injuries occur in change of direction movements or landing.
These types of stats should raise our eyebrows and make us look not only at force production but at force absorption. We must prepare our athletes for landing, otherwise plyos are like equipping your your young athletes with a bigger motor, but no brakes.
Applying the brakes to plyos can be done simply by using a progression of multi-planar jumps. Young athletes should do each jump at a high intensity and then “Stick” the landing for 3-5 seconds.
This progression is appropriate for athletes of nearly all ages, and will be challenging to young athletes of all ages.
Top 4 Plyo Exercises
Learn more about power exercises for athletes by viewing our top 4 plyo exercises free video series. You’ll have no trouble progressing your athletes to new levels of performance.
In 1911, researchers begin taking special interest in a horse owned by a German mathematician named Von Osten. The horse, aptly named Clever Hans, was reported to able to count – add, subtract, multiply and divide.
It was even suggested that Clever Hans could spell and solve problems involving musical harmony.
As mystifying and even magical as this seemed to be, it was concluded following a rigorous study, that in fact Clever Hans possessed no highly intelligent factors nor extraordinary abilities.
It was simply a case of Clever Hans performing what had become expected of him.
Two researchers, Stumpt and Pfungst, realized that when the handlers of Clever Hans posed questions to him, they were providing subtle physical and verbal cues to the horse as it pertained to the answer.
This reality was summarized in the book, ‘Teachers and the Learning Process’ written by Robert Strom (Prentice-Hall, 1971):