Plyometric training is generally used to develop explosive power, which is hghly benenficial in changing direction quickly and accleration / sprinting! Sound familiar? These are all componenents which are hugely important in hockey and could make a huge impact on the quality of our games. Using plyometric training, alongside appropriate speed, strength and agility training can drastically improve performance in games as it increases the speed and force of muscle contractions.
So what exactly is plyometric training? Plyometric training can also be known as “jump training”, mainly because it generlly involves a plethora of jumping exercises. It is defined as “form of exercise that involves rapid and repeated stretching and contracting of the muscles, designed to increase strength.”
Plyometric training consits of two key phases:
1. The lengthening phase, where the muscle is loaded eccentrically, such as a the squat in a squat jump exercise.
2. The shortening phase which where the muscle contracts concentrically and in the squat jump example, this is the ontraction responsible for the jump.
Plyometric training can be easiliy exucuted as part of a fitness programme, as it involves limited equipment and the majority of the more simple exercises especially can be completed without any equipment at all.
Plyometric exercises that are relavant to hockey include:
• Squat jumps
• Lateral jumps (ski jumps)
• Box jumps
• Alternate leg bounding
• Clap pressups
Why not visit http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/plyometricexercises.html to see some fantastic animations of some simple lower body plyometric drills, relevant to field hockey, that will benefit your speed and power.
As the muscles are put under a large amount of stress in plyometrc training, completing a warm up with stretches included is advised and it is also recommended that when beginning a plyometric training programme you begin with the less advanced exercises and progress slowly. Also maintaining good technique throughout the exercises is important to prevent injury.
Plyometrics can easily be included in hockey fitness sessions, a personal favourite of mine is to include some plyometric exercises in a circuit. This is a good method, especially for those new to plyometric training as it can help to prevent fatigue tht can be associated with an overload of plyometric training, which cn have a positive effect on maintaining correct technique of the exercises. It also can reduce tedium as players will have the oppotunity to complete a variety of other tyoes of exercises.
Plyometric training can have a huge impact on speed and power, which are componenet of fitness that may be lacking following the off season. Therefore, pre season training may be a good time to consider plyometric training. Good luck and as with any training, remember to enjoy your workout!
Written by: Rachel Cook | Fitness Coach at Bangor University