Can Plyometrics Improve Your Performance?
Plyometric training is popular coaches and players, but does it actually increase your performance on the pitch?
Plyometric training, also known as jump training, consists of dynamic movements which involve a stretch of a muscle immediately followed by an explosive contraction of the muscle. This is also known as the muscle stretch shortening cycle.
Such muscle contraction patterns develop the muscle’s ability to produce force at high speeds (power).
Plyometrics can involve vertical movements e.g. squat jump (jumping as high as possible on the spot), and also horizontal movements e.g. bounding (leaping as high and as far forward as possible).
It has been said that the more specific a training exercise is to a competitive movement the greater the improvement in performance. Thus, if a mid-fielder practises vertical jumps this should improve their ability to jump for the throw in.
Sprint specific plyometric training has been found to improve 40 and 100m sprint times, particularly in the initial acceleration period (0-10m). This confirms that a plyometrics program has the ability to improve power which would be useful for winning the ball or breaking a tackle.
Furthermore, plyometrics have been shown to help prevent injury when done safely and correctly.
So whether you are a coach or a player, it’s probably a good idea to start adding plyometrics into training sessions!
Here are some minimal equipment Plyo’s that you can add to your training: