Plyometrics are a great way to improve power, speed and athletic ability for most sports. Levels range from beginner to advanced [learn more about advanced plyometrics]. Knowing when to advance to the next level can be the difference between seeing an improvement or a decline in performance output.
One simple evaluation tool to determine whether you are ready for higher level plyos—such as Depth Jumps—is the Box Step-Off Landing Assessment. This tests your ability to maintain stability and handle the additional stress that comes from jumping, bounding and decelerating.
To do the evaluation, stand on top of an 18-inch plyo box in a comfortable, upright stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step off the box with both feet [do not jump up] and land on the floor in a good athletic position with pressure on both feet, absorbing the impact equally and quickly.
Upon landing, you should have proper body alignment: chest up, shoulders back, feet shoulder-width apart and knees in alignment—not bowing out or buckling in.
If you can land in a good position with your bodyweight supported, you can progress to higher level plyometrics. Keep in mind that a slow progression, starting off with a six- to 12-inch box, then moving to a 12- to 18-inch box, is best as you advance in your program.