The implementation of speed and plyometric programs is widely used within the strength and conditioning world. The evidence backs up the benefits and precautionary measure that need to be considered when devising a plyometric program. There are seven points to consider when devising a safe and appropriate plyometric program according to Brown and Ferrigno (2014). Choice, order, frequency, intensity, volume, rest, and progression (CO-FIVR-P) are foundational principles that one should examine when developing speed, agility, and quickness training.
Plyometrics and, the high neural demand it places on the body requires ample time for recovery. Too often coaches lack the understanding of vital scientific theories of bioenergetics and how the CNS is affected from too much volume. The strength and conditioning coach must account for individual reaction and response times with each athlete which at times can be challenging in a team setting following an annual periodized program.
Some common mistakes with plyometric training that is common in the fitness industry is when plyometric training is turned into a conditioning routine doing high volume of box jumps or not allowing the athlete to recover efficiently. Another common misuse is to focus so much on jump height that teaching proper landing mechanics are compromised or looked over. Too much focus on power output and not on absorbing force can lead to soft tissue non-contact injuries down the road. Tissue resilience allows the body to absorb more force reducing the risk of injury.
Recovery from plyometrics is a key component overlooked by many coaches. It is the one component of the entire (CO-FIVR-P) that is, in my opinion the least assessed. As s&c coaches we are wanting our athletes to be big, strong, agile and fast so we push the athlete and challenge them, but often we need to remember to assess their recovery from session to session and implement safe and effective recovery strategies into the program.
Brown, L., & Ferrigno, V. (2014). Training for speed, agility, and quickness (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.