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 more explosive? Below are three methods.
Plyometrics to improve neural capacity and 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 systems to maximize their 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 but the intensity incredibly high. In a single workout, our athletes will never perform more than 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. For Box Jumps, we would do 5 sets of 4 for a total volume of 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 it dictates the ceiling for power development. Strength and power are directly correlated. When evaluating strength training, we look at weight room strength. Total body strength is the most valuable, and it can be quantified with Squats, Deadlifts, Pull-Ups, Bench Presses 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 and Dumbbell Push-Press. Training the total body three days a week during the offseason 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 athletes don’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.