. I've had a few questions the week concerning the terminology I use to describe plyometrics. I first heard this terminology used by Boo Schnexnayder during a USATF certification class a long time ago (now the USTFCCCA Track & Field Academy). Recently I read it in Mike Boyle's new book, New Functional Training for Sports 2nd edition. Adopting this terminology and teaching it to my athletes and coaches over the years has made communication very clear.
Jump: double leg takeoff and double leg landing
Hop: single leg takeoff and same single leg landing
Bound: single leg takeoff and opposite single leg landing.
During some training phases I also incorporate plyos that are don't fit into the above terminology structure. In that case, I simply call describe the exercise. For example:
Takeoff two legs land on one leg
Takeoff one leg land on two.
Putting it at this point in the workout makes sense because the plyometric unit is a natural extension of the warm up it progresses from general to specific and low intensity to higher intensities.
The exercise selection in phase one and two units are a combination of vertical and horizontal movements but separated by bi-lateral and uni-lateral as well as linear and lateral.
Here are the units...
I've seen too many people rush into olympic lifting too quickly. As a result their progress stalls after only a few weeks and the frustration sets in. At this point, they usually ask for coaching and seek better technique, but often the lift only marginally improves. Once the movement and neurological patterns are in place, they are more difficult to change. It is hard to convince athletes this, but learning slowly the right way will lead to bigger and better gains in the future, just not maybe in the immediate future.
I've been listening to Wil Fleming from iForce alot lately. His progressions, cues, and approach seem sound and well thought out. This is a summary, and some additions, to how he gets athletes ready to learn the olympic lifts.
Dynamic Yoga Flow Warm Up: Before you all give me a hard time about this, look and watch the video closely. Yes, I know it's a little Crossfitty and Flowy and Zen and all that, but I've tried it a few times and I like it. I'm becoming a fan of warmups the flow together well. See here.
How to Write Effective Workouts for Sprinters: I've learned a lot from Latif Thomas over the years. You have to wade through a lot of rhetoric, but there are some nuggets here.
10 Best Unilateral Training Exercises: A program designed for athletes must include unilateral exercises.
I got an email the other day that included a link to a video clip of famous Baylor Bears coach Clyde Hart coaching his athletes as they perform "speed makers."
As you can imagine, I was thrilled.
Coach Hart has produced some really fast athletes. He's mostly known for a long to short approach to training and I was thinking that his "speed maker" workout was going to give me ideas about coaching speed. So, with great anticipation I quickly clicked the link, turned up the volume, and make the video go full screen. This is what I noticed...
The decisions coaches make need to be driven by testing and monitoring. Ideally these decisions are individual and and address specific athlete needs. As a coach, we need to have both long and short term plans for athletes. These plans should be flexible enough to account for the day to day variations and challenges and also structured to maintain growth and development. There is an art to this type of coaching.
Its easy to let our egos and biases get in the way and hinder athlete development and program design. In the past, when I wanted to get an athlete strong, I planned strength sessions around complex movements pushing heavy weight. This worked, but it didn't work for everybody, and sometimes it came with a cost. My bias to this type of training was holding my athletes back. Something had to evolve.
I'm a firm believer in getting stronger during the season. I just don't understand how coaches allow their athletes to get weaker as the season continues. An in season strength program is just one part of this equation.
Incorporating strength training during your season needs to be a priority. You have time. No excuses.
Treat strength training as a unit that is as important as acceleration development, speed development, or event specific technical work. The idea is that all of these elements work together for the athlete. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
What follows is the second block that I've used with success.
I've experimented with drop step starts, cross over starts, etc., but these didn't seem track specific enough, but they were fun to do during the GPP in the fall. I switched to the progressions below and have felt more satisfied with the results.
The starting process is much more complex than it appears. Developmental syn- thesis in order to incorporate proper postural positions is a must. Two point starts are followed by rolling starts. Rolling starts are followed by crouch starts. Crouch starts are followed by three point. Three point starts lead to four point and then eventually to the blocks. Synthesis means that until one stage is mastered, it will be difficult to move to the next level of complexity. -Tommy Badon
Now that your summer is over, it's time to evaluate your next training block. You need to continue to make gains over the next few months.
If you are in season this fall, you want to be at your strongest at the end of the season as you make a championship run. The idea that you loose strength, weight, speed, stamina, endurance, etc. as the season progresses is counter to everything. Continue to improve in season and reap the rewards as you hold the trophy, plaque, or medal.
If you are preparing for a winter season, it's time to get a little more specific with your training. The gains you need to make in the next few months will be in your technique that comes with the gains you made over the summer. Your body is different now than it was at the beginning of the summer. Therefore, as you close in on your season, you are training you body to adjust to the longer limbs, heavier weight, and ability to produce more power.
Use this article as a checklist and guideline to see if your programing for the next training phase will produce your desired results.