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Developing Football Explosivness

Players are either sent to me via agencies or truley desire to become better football players.  Very few have the mental fortitude to properly develop.  For some, finding out there is no magic pill and it takes real work to obtain dreams/goals is discouraging and they return to the system that got them to where they are - without going any further.  Let’s put the magic drink mix theory away and face the realism that it takesat least2-3 months (if you are in good weight lifting condition) of sport specific strength trainingbefore you can beginexplosive development.

Understand there is a difference between strength training and power training.

Strength trainingfor football should include squats, power clean, forward and side lunges, dead lifts, and leg press.  Such training will build the ankle, knee, and hips.  These areas play a very large part in building explosiveness.  As you begin to develop in the strength training program adding isometrics to the squat and exploding upward will help you adapt to the approaching explosive training.  A good rule is you should be able to squat 2x your body weight or 2.5x your weight in leg presses.  First developing a high level of maximal strength before starting a plyometrics program gives you the greatest potential for peak explosive power.

It takes your body about 0.5 to 0.7 seconds to produce maximum strength.  Most explosive, football movements occur more rapidly.  The key to improving your power and performance lies in generating the highest possible force in the shortest possible time...plyometrics plays a major role in this objective.

Plyometric (power) training is a muscle stretching and contracting eccentrically (lengthens while it contracts) and it produces elastic energy, which it stores.  If the muscle then contracts concentrically (shortens while it contracts) this elastic energy can be used to increase the force of the contraction.  Plyometric training places increased stretch loads on the working muscles.  As the muscles become more tolerant to the increase loads the stretch-shortening cycle becomes more efficient... the muscle stores more elastic energy.  It then transfers from the eccentric or stretching phase to the concentric or lengthening phase more rapidly.  This is the key to generating peak power.

Below is a good football specific plyometric program to start with.  Perform these on a grass or synthetic surface two times a week.  Be sure to warm-up.  Rest 3 minutes between sets and perform each exercise with maximum effort / speed.

Again .. you must have a training base.  These are not suitable or recommended for beginners and young athletes under the age of 16.

Bounding            2x10
Lateral jumps     2x10
Chest pass          3x10
Single leg hops   2x10
Hurdle jumps      2x10
Side throw           3x10
Depth jumps        2x10

Descriptions for the exercises above :

(2 sets x 10 cones)

1) Lay out a series of small cones or obstacles about 3 feet apart in a straight line.  The number  of
    obstacles depends on the number of repetitions you are performing

2) Begin behind the first obstacle in a semi squat position

3) Jump as high and far as possible over each obstacle.  It's a good idea to practice first to gauge how far
    apart you should set the markers.  Try to minimize ground contact time


Lateral Jumps
(2 sets x 10 cones)

1) Stand alongside a bench, box or cone.  You can use anything to jump over, even just a line on a track. 
    Just make sure you discipline yourself to jump as high as possible

2) Keeping your feet hip distance apart jump sideways as high over the obstacle as possible

3) Immediately jump back to the start position minimizing ground contact time.  This is one repetition


Chest Pass
(3 sets x 10)

1) Stand opposite a partner with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.  You can also perform
    this drill against a wall

2) Using both hands hold a medicine ball to your chest and throw it to your partner with both arms in a
    pushing action

3) The pass should be explosive as though you are pushing someone away from you.  Avoid snapping your
     elbows into a locking position.  This is one repetition

Single Leg Hops
    (2 sets x 10)

1) Standing on one foot bend your knee slightly

2) Staying on the same foot try to gain as much height and distance with each hop.  Keep ground contact time as short as possible

3) Hop the number of repetitions and repeat with the other leg

Hurdle Jumps
(2 sets x 10)

1) Place 3 hurdles (or something equal to) a few feet apart.  Set them at knee height

2) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart behind the first hurdle.  Knees should be bent in a squat

3) Jump over the first hurdle.  As soon as you land jump over the next hurdle.  Keep ground contact time to a
    minimum. Don't squat as you land

4) After you jump and land the final hurdle sprint for 20 yards


Side Throw
(3 sets x 10)

1) Stand sideways, with your partner about 20 feet to your left.  You can also use a wall.  Keeping feet
    shoulder width apart and knees bent place your right foot slightly in front of your left

2) Hold a medicine ball with both hands directly in front of you.  Keep your arms extended and parallel to the

3) Swing ball as far to the right as is comfortable allowing your hips to turn with your arms.  From this
    position immediately swing the ball to your left throwing the ball

4) Repeat the number of repetitions and then repeat for the other side to complete one set


Depth Jumps
(2 sets x 10)

1) Stand on a box, bench or sturdy chair approximately 12 - 18 inches high

2) Step off the bench (don't jump off) and as soon as you land explode vertically as high as you can

3) Minimize ground contact time.  Don't sink down into a deep squat before exploding up


This is a small example of plyometric exercises.  You must get the form and movements right, don't just throw a few plyometric exercises into your workouts.  Plan them carefully around the other elements of your training program.  It's not the weight of resistance that is important in plyometric exercises, it is the speed and quality of the movements.