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To develop more explosive and powerful athletes
we all (should) use plyometrics.

But here’s the thing:

They’re dangerous!

And they should be taught using a specific
progression. The progression I think makes
the most sense is one I learned from studying
Vern Gambetta.

The problem is that a frightening number of
coaches do it ass backwards and therefore
should be asked never to work with another
child again.

More specifically, underqualified coaches like
to start their athletes off by doing the exercises
that have the highest nervous system demand,
highest training stress and require the
largest training base.

This means ONLY the most advanced athletes should
be attempting them. They are entirely inappropriate
for beginner athletes. What constitutes a
beginner athlete? Any athlete that has not
satisfactorily moved through the progression
I lay out below.

So the LAST types of plyos any coach should
be ‘teaching’ their athletes are shock jumps,
also known as depth jumps.

These exercises consist of jumping down off of
boxes and/or doing rebound jumps over hurdles
placed at mid thigh height or higher.

Recently I was out at a facility and witnessed
a coach doing possibly the most incredible thing I’ve
ever seen.

If I didn’t know better I’d think some coaches
purposely try to hurt kids. We can’t keep
handing culpability off like a hot potato.

But I digress….

This human had his athletes jump up onto a 24″
plyo box. Then jump UP off the plyo box, attempt
to catch a medicine ball that was tossed higher
than the athlete’s head and then attempt to
land holding the med ball. Then repeat.


Maybe these were advanced athletes, you say.

No. They were high school sophomores, I’m told.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat when
it comes to coaching philosophy. But that kind
of approach is just wrong. Is it even debatable?

Some people reading this are nodding their heads
in agreement. Others are ashamed because they’re
doing shock jumps with young kids who have
a training age of 1 or 2.

So to avoid any more additions to the epidemic
of sports injuries created by less than stellar
coaching methods, here is the progression of
plyos that I believe should be followed.

If you have a better way, I’d love to hear it

Don’t let your athletes move on to the next
level of plyo until the meet the standards of
the more basic movement.

To see these progressions taught and performed
correctly, check out Complete Speed Training.

1. Landing – Goal is to teach proper foot strike,
use of the ankle, knee and hip and absorb shock.

2. Stabilization Jumps – Goal is to reinforce
landing technique and increase levels of both
eccentric and stabilization strength

3. Jumping up – Goal is to teach takeoff action
and proper use of the arms.

4. In Place Bounding – Goal is to teach quick
reaction off the ground as well as vertical
displacement of the center of mass/gravity

5. Short Jumps – Goal is to teach horizontal
displacement of the center of mass/gravity

6. Long Jumps – Goal is to add more horizontal
velocity. (Most athletes will not progress
past these movements in the first year of
specific training. Even if taught a proper
progression such as the above!)

7. Shock Jumps

The last form of plyo that should be taught
and certainly not something that athletes should
be doing during preseason or the early preparation

So there you have the truth about how plyos
should be taught and a little taste of what
your kids’ coaches are doing to them.

Am I crazy? Am I the only one witnessing these
truly dangerous coaching practices? Is there
anyone willing to admit that they’re doing
it wrong?

Is there a solution to this pandemic lack
of modern day coaching knowledge? Should I
just stop complaining and only worry about
what I can control?

Please leave your thoughts below.

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