If you are an athlete or a coach, you may have heard about jump training. So, why should a coach undertake a jump program, or an athlete train this way? You may already have a great training program and a super trainer for strength, quickness, speed, agility or perhaps you spend your time ramping up your sport specific skills instead?
Perhaps it will help to hear when jump training is not a good idea. If you are a distance runner, distance swimmer, or participate in a sport demanding mostly aerobic fitness, then jump training will do more harm than good. For example, I had a girl jump train with me who was new to volleyball and, she was physically established as a cross-country runner. Her starting vertical jump height was only 7 inches. She also had finished 2nd in state for cross country the season prior. Well, after training with me for 8 weeks she underwent a transformation. She had a 22 inch vertical jump, a phenomenal achievement. However, not long after finishing jump training she competed at state again. She finished 44th, a major drop in her aerobic performance from the previous season.
Anaerobic sports are short bursts and intense physical activity. Aerobic sports are long duration activities characterized with less “burst” of frenetic activity and, the opposite of anaerobic sports. Some sports require both types of fitness, some are extremes of each, but never extremes of both. So, if you are training for cross country, do not jump train. However, if you participate in an anaerobic sport, jump training is an excellent form of training.
So, back to the ‘Why Jump Train’ question. If you are a coach, the next question is, are you getting everything you can, physically, from your athletes? If you are an athlete who trains independently, the question is, how far below your full potential are you playing? If you want a higher vertical, lower injury risk, and play an anaerobic sport, then jump training can help you achieve more, surprisingly more, than you might expect.
The first head coaching job I took the question of getting more from my athletes drove me to try jump training. We went all in and jump training paid off big time as our team went on to become the top blocking team in the state. Physically, the team was transformed. However, I learned some helpful rules along the way that will determine getting results or getting nothing. On average, since jump training the past 9 years I have seen athletes jump heights increase a little over an inch a week. This seems pretty standard among jump programs.
So hopefully you are equipped to decide if and when jump training is for you.