This article was provided by Coaches Network
By Matt Grimm
Explosiveness is the key to athletic development. The ability to start and stop at high speeds is what makes an athlete “explosive.” How can coaches make their athletes explosive? Below are three methods.
Plyometrics: to improve neural capacity and the stretch reflex
Plyometrics are anything that requires jumping and change of direction. In reality, this happens constantly during a game. Therefore, we must train our athletes’ bodies and nervous system to maximize the plyometric qualities and produce the most force development possible.
Plyometric exercises include box jumps, broad jumps, lateral jumping, multi-jumps, and other similar exercises. The key to training plyometrics is to keep the volume of the jumps low, yet the intensity incredibly high. In a single workout our athletes will never go over 32 jumps. So our sets will be 4 sets of 4 each side if we’re doing single leg jumping. This puts the total volume at 32. If we are doing box jumps, we would do 5 sets of 4 making the total volume 20 reps.
There are many ways to integrate plyometrics into your workouts. One idea I use a lot is to pair med ball throws with jumps to save time.
Power & Strength Training: to build horsepower and make the body stronger
Strength is the base for every athlete and will dictate the ceiling for power development. Strength and power are directly correlated to each other. When evaluating strength training, we are looking at weight room strength. Total body strength is the most valuable, which can be quantified with squatting, deadlifting, pull-ups, bench press, and rows.
To develop power, use explosive lifts. The most valuable and safest are auxiliary Olympic lifts such as the hang clean, single arm dumbbell snatch, or a dumbbell push-press. Training the total body three days a week during the off-season will provide the best results for your athletes.
Mobility: to increase range of motion
Mobility is by far the most disregarded part of training by coaches worldwide. It is vital to having full range of motion through movement. If an athlete doesn’t have mobility they will not be able to develop strength or power to the highest degree. If our athletes have mobility issues and we train them through their issue, it typically will cause injury.
Strategies for increasing range of motion are done before workouts and practice: foam rolling or any soft tissue work, such as massage and mobility drills. Getting some kind of mobility and foam rolling completed before activity will make your athletes less injury prone.
Matt Grimm is Head Strength and Conditioning coach at Trevecca Nazarene University and owner of Matt Grimm Performance, LLC, in Nashville, Tenn., where he trains athletes of all ages. He can be reached through his website: MattGrimmPerformance.com.