|Benefits of plyometric training for elite players
Plyometrics is an exercise which enhances the performance by improving the speed, agility and muscle power in an athlete. It exerts a stretch followed by contraction of the muscle which later produces more power. Plyometric is used in training of various dynamic sports which involves speed and co-ordination. It is very effective when it comes to soccer based training in order to improve the balance and endurance especially if it is done at young age.
Plyometric training increases the explosive movements that are used in soccer by improving speed and strength, and it has both eccentric as well as the concentric contraction occurring in a short amount of time which in turn produces the mechanical energy more quickly. The mechanism of plyometric training involves elongation of the muscles followed by an immediate strength shortening contraction which utilizes the energy stored during stretching phase. Soccer requires changing of direction frequently, shuffling, sprinting and jumping, and for any of these movements to occur a player needs strong lower leg power as well as control on balance to execute the movement.
Recent evidences for uses and benefits of Plyometrics
Plyometrics for the elite soccer athletes have been one of the key factors in training. Various research studies have provided evidence of the benefits of the use and effects of plyometrics for soccer players. Plyometrics improves agility, power as well as knee extensor strength which was proved in one of the recent research studies. In this study the experimental group underwent two sessions in a week which included unilateral and bilateral plyometric exercise [40-100 foot contacts/session].
The result showed that there were significant improvements in agility test while the depth jump height and isometric torque increments were greater which were evaluated by Multicont 2 dynamometer (Mark et al., 2013). In another study plyometric training was shown to improve the muscle explosive and endurance performance measures. In this study only the plyometric training group showed higher performance improvement in maximal kicking velocity and 10 m sprint time along with improvements in horizontal and vertical counterjump with arms, 20 cm drop jump reactive strength index and change of direction then the control group and a group without a progressive increase in volume. (Ramirez et al., 2014).
The combination of vertical and horizontal jumps to improve performance induces greater improvement in balance, intermittent endurance capacity and explosive actions. (Ramirez et al., 2014). In female soccer players too, plyometric training programs improve explosive strength. This improvement can be executed to improve soccer kick performance. (Campo et al., 2009). Plyometrics not only improve speed, agility, balance and strength but also increases the muscle volume. In another recent study, the group with plyometric training which included squat jumps and countermovement jump showed improvement not only in peak power output but also increase in thigh muscle volume. (Chelly et al., 2010).
During the in season the short term plyometric program along with regular soccer practice has shown beneficial impact on jumping, sprinting, changing of directions and explosive actions which are the key things to improve soccer performance. (Meylan et al., 2009).
It becomes necessary to understand some of the safety considerations before undergoing plyometric training. Though plyometrics reduces the lower extremity injuries in sports, it should be performed under the supervision of trainers who have the knowledge about it and only by the players that are well conditioned. To decrease the risk of injury while doing plyometric training, players should achieve good physical strength, flexibility and propioception. Proper technique should be demonstrated before the commencement of the training to gain the benefits and to have risk free training.
Accelerometers in relation to training are mainly focused on measuring acceleration of movement (Sato, 2009). For instance, measuring running speeds in a soccer player through use of accelerometers allows for measurements of proper acceleration of the skill. Retrieving information on running spe sport scientists and coaching staff (specifically trainers) to compare inte GPS technology. Therefore, GPS technology is innovative and has the ability to tailor training loads to competition demands for optimal athlete performance.
It can be concluded from the above discussion that proper application of plyometric training can have huge impact in performance on sports like soccer. It is more effective when the training is done with combination of various drills like vertical and horizontal, unilateral and bilateral which improves balance, endurance and speed which are the pre requisite for good performance in soccer. Along with the in-season preparation training for players, short term plyometric training should be incorporated. This would improve the components like speed, agility, endurance, balance, sprinting, change of direction, explosive action and jumping which are the key determinants for match winning performance in soccer.
Campo, Silvia S.; Vaeyens, Roel; Philippaerts, Renaat M…..,Ana Meria. (Sep 2009). Effect of lower limb plyometric training on body composition, explosive strength and kicking speed in femalesoccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Vol 23.6;1714-22.
Chelly, Mohammed S.; Ghenem, Mohammed A.; Abid…., Zouhair. (Oct 2010). Effects of in-season short-term plyometric training programon leg power, jump and sprint performance of soccer player. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Vol 24.10; 2670-6.
Mark V., Jozsef T., Balazs M., Ivett J., Istvan K. (March 2013). Short term high intensity plyometric training program improves strength, power and agility in male soccer players. Journal of Human Kinetics. Vol 36; 17-26
Meylan, Cesar; Malatesta, Davide. Effects of in-season plyometric training within soccer practice on explosive actions of young players. (Dec 2009). Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Vol 23.9; 2605-13.
Ramirez C., Burgos C., Henriquez-Olguin C., Andrade D., Martinez C., Alvarez C …., Izquierdo M. ( Dec 2014). Effect of unilateral, bilateral and combined plyometric training on explosive and endurance performance of young soccer players. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25474338
Ramirez C., Henriquez-Olguin C.,Burgos C., Andrade D., Zapata D., Martinez C…., Izquierdo M. ( Dec 2014). Effect of Progressive volume-based overload during plyometric training on explosive and endurance performance in young soccer players. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25559905
Ramirez C., Gallardo F., Henriquez-Olguin C., Meylan C., Martinez C., Alvarez C….., Izquierdo M. ( Dec 2014). Effect of vertical, horizontal and combined plyometric training on explosive, balance and endurance performance of young soccer players. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25559903
Sports Science Lab, (2015). Plyometrics. Retrieved from: http://www.sportsciencelab.com/plyometricsice.
Mohin Vadiwala is a student in the Humber College Fitness and Health Promotion Progrtam and has just completed an internship placement with Soccer Fitness Inc.. For more information about Soccer Fitness Inc., please visit www.soccerfitness.ca.