This time, I'm going to get right to the point. Just because you can do something as an athlete, does not mean you should do it.
Last night while watching the 11 o'clock news sports segment, a reporter did a story about some local professional football players who were making good use of their time while waiting for an agreement between the NFL Owners and the players. These particular players were doing Box Jumps up to boxes which had to be at least 60 inches in height.
The problem was that they were landing in the worst position possible. They were landing with their butts nearly touching the back of their legs. Their knees were flexed way too far, and their chests were touching the front of their thighs. They had to put a tremendous amount of stress on the ligaments and tendons of the knee.
To the untrained eye, this is impressive to see. But, this type of training also shows that strength & conditioning is an art.
When doing any type of plyometric jumping exercise, the first key is a proper landing. The landing should be the first thing taught because when have you ever seen an athlete get hurt while jumping in the air? Now, how many times have you seen an athlete get hurt upon landing? The athlete should land in an athletic position, as if playing defense. Feet should be about shoulder width apart, and the chest should be tall. There should be a little shock absorbing knee action upon landing, but the athlete should end up in a solid athletic stance at the finish. If the athlete is barely making it up to the box, I promise you it does not mean that they will be better, but quite the opposite, they will be more prone to get injured.
This is exactly why I don't care for kids to attend camps sponsored by pro athletes. The athletes don't know what they are doing most of the time. They just do what the trainer or coach tells them to do. If the trainer or strength coach fails to teach proper techniques, they will pass that same bad info on to your kids.
One of above mentioned players should be a pretty important part of his team's success this season. I wish him all the best, believe me. But, my job is not only to make athletes bigger, faster, stronger and more powerful. It is also to help prevent injury and to inform others on how to place athletes in successful positions.
By Paul T. Mitchell III
Paul Mitchell is the owner and Lead Sports Performance Coach at Playmaker Strength & Conditioning, LLC.
Paul holds certifications as a C.S.C.S *D, Fly Solo Mentor, Sports Performance Coach, Speed, Agility & Quickness Trainer, and Metabolic Specialist. He has been training athletes for over 15 years, and brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of speed enhancement and development, plyometrics, and in teaching Olympic lifting techniques.