When it comes to training athletes, there is one type of training that should never be left out; plyometrics. The idea of plyometrics was created by a guy named Yuri Verkoshansky out of the Soviet Union in the 1980's. He created plyometrics as a way to mimic the movements of athletes in different sports. Although plyometrics do not completely recreate the movements that are experienced throughout different sports, they do provide the closest way to train for those explosive movements.
In order for a movement to be considered a plyometric, a few actions need to take place within the blink of an eye. Jumping and plyometrics are not interchangeable. In order for jumping to be considered a plyometric one needs to land on the ground and immediately push off the ground. If you land on the ground, allow your body to dissipate the forces, and then jump off the ground again, it is not a plyometric. A lot of people who try to dissipate the forces say that it's easier on the knees or a prevention of injury. That's great, but by dissipating the forces you are defeating the purpose of landing and quickly getting off of the ground. In sports, generally the faster you can land and get off the ground, the better the athlete you will be. The primary goal in sports is to ultimately be the best athlete you can be, is it not? I would say that if you were jumping off of a ten foot ladder you should probably allow your body to dissipate the forces, but since there are no instances in sport where you have a ten foot fall there should be no reason to worry about injury while doing plyometrics; of course that also has to do with warming up properly.
In summary, the ultimate goal to plyometrics is to teach your body how to land and get off the ground as quickly as possible. With training you would expect that period of time to become faster and faster, which will ultimately make you a better athlete. If your training program doesn't include plyometrics, I would recommend you add them in or find a new training program.
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