Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
Most of you reading this will know what plyometrics are but it's only recently that it dawned on me that I (and perhaps other coaches) are not teaching them correctly (or at least paying attention when our athletes perform them). We tend to just let athletes get on with them, thinking they will do them optimally. But turn your back and you'll find them chatting and not doing the exercises in a way that really will benefit their performance.
I recently pulled together a check-list for me to utilise when 'coaching' plyos:
Make sure the athlete knows what the exercise is (so many times I've said single leg and they do double leg!) Perhaps they don't listen
Focus on the degree of knee bend, invariably this should be minimal and there should not be undue preparation
We want the athlete to react to the contact and not pause, and then react (this way the stretch/reflex is optimised and quickened)
Invariably ankles should be stiff on contact with the ground and then pulled up to facilitate the reaction
The other limbs where possible should aid the transition/transitions in the jump
Mix up plyometrics - do single, double and multiple combinations
The athletes must be in the zone and 'want to move quickly', failure to be in this frame of mind will result in sub maximal performance and therefore transference.
Emphasise speed of movement i.e. contact (stretch/reflex) over hight or distance gained.
Don't give all the athletes the same exercises, think which may be more beneficial to some and not to others. Long jumpers for example may not benefit from multiple bounds compared to a triple jumper.
Note that take-off drills and running drills are very much plyometric exercises, so consider the above points when coaching/monitoring these drills.
Tip: use single and double foot straight leg plyometrics variants which emphasise the natural elastic 'bounce' of the legs. I've found that these exercises transfer power and leg stiffness nicely into running and jumping and other plyometrics where there is more knee bend.