Last week my old high school was able to win the program's first ever Regional Basketball Championship. I want to give a huge congratulations to coaches Bill Jones, Paul Daniele, and the entire Harford Technical High School Cobras 2016-2017 basketball team.
While tuning into some of their games, certain athletes were able to stand out above the competition with their explosive movements. The goal of any high school athlete trying to secure a scholarship at a college or university is to stand out and get noticed. Below are my three tips to develop power and explosiveness:
1) Train in your Plane
Most sports take place in all three of the planes of movement, at least part of the time, but we can often designate one or two of them as the primary planes of movement for the sport. For basketball, movements primarily happen in the frontal and sagittal planes. This is important to know because when designing an exercise program for basketball explosiveness, we want to make sure we are training in the planes that are actually used in the game. There is a significant amount of research emerging about specificity within plyometric training. Train in the plane where you perform for your sport!
2) More than Just Box Jumps
When training to improve the vertical jump it seems that box jumps are the first exercise people turn to. Box jumps give athletes very quick feedback on how high they can jump--they either make the jump or miss (ouch). With that said, box jumps only help so much with actually developing the power to jump. Power/explosiveness stem from the amount of force one can generate quickly. If more force can be generated then, as a result, greater power and explosiveness can be generated as well. Strengthening the muscles of the legs with weight training will allow you to generate more force into the ground. This will result in you generating more power, explosiveness, and higher box jumps if that is your goal.
3) Game Speed
Once we have strengthen the legs with weight training and are able to generate some force, we do have to move on to the second part of our power/explosiveness definition--the "quickly" part. When doing plyometrics, certain exercises (like the box jump) need to be done in a controlled setting as there may be an increase risk of failure resulting in injury. However, when doing other plyometric movements on flat ground it is critical to do them at game speed. Simply going through the motions when performing plyometric drills will not translate very well into game situations because the game is so much faster than what you were practicing. When first learning a plyometric move of course we want to take it slow and perfect the form but as the athlete progresses we should be challenging them to jump, move, and react at game-like speed.
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