Kids and Plyometrics!
One of our topics last week in my Master’s Degree program was Plyometric training. Plyometrics is a form of training that has been used by many advanced athletes and athletic programs around the world. The training involves quick, explosive movements and is designed to maximize sport specific power output. With the rise in popularity of Youth Athletic Readiness Training (such as One on One’s Y.A.R.T.) throughout the industry, concerns have risen regarding the safety and effectiveness of plyometric training and children.
The primary concerns revolve around the potential risks of injury, specifically damage to children’s growth plates. No doubt this type of training does have potential risks; however the risks are no different than any other type of training.
Plyometric training involves a quick deceleration of movement in one direction followed by a quick acceleration in another direction. It is based on a simple concept of “load and then explode”. This sounds a lot like something we used to call “play”! The nature of play, is reactive, dynamic, multiplanar, plyometric and totally individual. Games such as tag, hopscotch, skipping rope, etc. are all examples of plyometric-like games! We’ve probably all done some sort of plyometric training growing up and didn’t even know it!
Doctors Avery Faigenbaum and Donald Chu are both experts in the field of plyometrics and have researched the benefits of such training with children. Some of the benefits they’ve found include increased speed of movement, improved power production, bone strength, weight control and decreases in sport related injuries. In the right hands and with the right supervision, there is no reason not to use plyometric training with children.
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