Thoughts on Plyometric Training – Part Two


The prerequisites for effective use of Plyometric training are coordination, balance, body control and awareness. Core control and core strength are also very important to maintain good dynamic posture during the movements. Leg strength relative to the level of the athlete’s development is a must. It is not necessary to be able to squat a certain amount of weight, rather it is necessary to exhibit a certain degree of functional leg strength. If these prerequisites are at an acceptable level then the athlete is ready to start into a basic progression. Progression is essential to minimize injury and optimize training adaptation. Lead up activities done in a playful, game like environment are a very important part of progression as well as good preparation for the young developing athlete. The key to progression is to teach landing first. Foot position is the key to effective landing. The landing is on a full foot (mid foot contact), not on the ball of the foot or a completely flat foot. A mid foot landing will set the foot in a position to shock absorb and set up the utilization of the elasticity of the muscles up the kinetic chain. This will teach how to absorb shock and set up the readiness for the any subsequent take-offs on multiple response activities. After landing, then teach take-off which is triple extension of ankle, knee and hip, the summation of forces. Plyometric training is classified descriptively based on the projection of the center of gravity. The In Place Response is characterized by vertical displacement of center of gravity. The Short Response is characterized by horizontal displacement of center of gravity and ten contacts or less. The Long Response is characterized by horizontal displacement of Center of Gravity with speed and more than ten contacts. To help the coach get a better command of the process of putting the classifications into a coherent program the Plyometric Demand Matrix (Adapted from Radcliffe page 42 High Powered Plyometrics) was developed to govern progression. The progression variables can be manipulated moving up and down the bullet points. The suggested range of sets, repetitions and or distance appears below. In-Place Response:

  • Low Impact – 3-4 sets / 10-20 reps
  • Medium Impact – 3 sets / 10-12 reps
  • High Impact – 2-3 sets / 8-10 reps
  • Shock – 2 sets / 10 reps

Short Response:

  • Low Impact – 3 sets / 10-12 reps / 10-20 meters
  • Medium Impact – 3 sets / 10 reps / 10-20 meters
  • High Impact – 2-3 sets / 8-10 reps / 10-20 meters
  • Shock – 2 sets / 10 reps

Long Response:

  • Low Impact – 3 sets / 10-20 reps / 20-40 meters
  • Medium Impact – 3 sets / 10-15 reps / 20-40 meters
  • High Impact – 2-3 sets / 10-12 reps / 20-40 meters
  • Shock – NA

For the athlete of advance training age the numbers can be pushed up slightly as long as quality is not compromised. Keep in mind that this matrix is only a rough guideline and it must be adapted to fit the sport and the individual athlete.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

Latest posts by Vern Gambetta (see all)