Power is important for all sports. Being able to generate force as quick as possible is paramount is players want to gain an edge. One of the most often overlooked aspects of “plyometrics” is the landing. It is an often forgotten part of a box jump or vertical jump, as people tend to think that height of the box is more important than performing it correctly. Mainly because if you do not focus on the eccentric part of the jump (the landing) you will end up having faulty movement mechanics which can lead you to injury down the road. Remember that you cannot accelerate optimally if you do not learn how to decelerate properly. Some of problems encountered with box jumps are
- Knees caving in at the start of the jump and when landing (valgus force)
- Using too high of a box which ends up having people land with their chests by their knees (video below)
When you perform a box jump and/or just vertical jumps, the start position and landing position should be very similar.
- Knees should be out over the toes
- Hips should be “high” when you land
- You want to land soft and absorb the landing
In reality, what we are really trying to develop is teaching athletes how to jump and land the correct way (and being explosive as well) so that they can develop enough eccentric strength so that further down the road they may be able to do traditional plyometrics. Consequently, our athletes will develop power and prevent injury, this is what we truly want. This along with an appropriate strength training program will get your athletes better while limiting their risk for preventable injuries.