Do you need a force plate?


Some good discussion on the Movement Signature thread about what is necessary with getting power and concentric / eccentric information. While I agree that having a linear encoder may not be necessary at most levels, at the elite level it has value. A coaches eye can see a lot, but catching bar speed in snatches and getting eccentric profiling is something that will not be seen by the naked eye. Bar speed and sticking points with heavy lifts (squats and bench) and verticals are not hard to track. What is hard to see is squat jumps and CMJ with arms on the hips. Seeing statistically significant fatigue is hundredths of a second and contact mats don’t give more than time domains. The Bosco tests are good to see with contact mats but the Gymaware can see not only dip but the peak and average power in multiple jumps. This is important to see if plyometrics and strength training is working as most coaches do both during training phases. The blend will likely augment scores, but the composition shows what is influencing the scores. Force plates can see this, but are they worth it? Some NBA teams have force plates but use therabands and clamshells as primary exercises, so it’s like having Night Vision goggles for paintball, nice to have but not the best investment in the world.

When risk is present, one must exhaust the data to ensure fatigue and training stress are in harmony or one resorts to recovery items and overly conservative training. In elite sport the schedules are very demanding resorting the coach to a very narrow high wire or a track coach trying to walk the line between stimulation or injury. Force plates in my opinion are nice to have, gymaware is close to need to have, but most can get good results at lower levels (High school) without it. College is a business and injuries to those with scholarships can cost a coach a job. Hitting estimated percentages is the first step, and many coaches may not need it, but those that do have a measurable advantage.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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