In the six to eight weeks of training preceding the competitive season, many teams reduce or eliminate strength and power training due to increased sport-specific training such as technical/tactical work, scrimmaging and conditioning. In the sport of basketball, there are concerns that overall ground contacts of jumping and bounding exercises may be too high and thus may contribute to overuse issues. This is because basketball players tend to experience a high volume of ground contacts from the jumping and landing in practices and scrimmages. It is currently unclear in the research if a conservative approach (minimal or no plyometric training) or a more aggressive approach (progressive volume plyometric training) is more effective for preparing players for the competitive season.
A new study published ahead of print in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness compared the effects of traditional basketball training versus traditional basketball training plus plyometrics in high level late teen-aged male basketball players. Throughout an eight-week preseason period, the experimental group (n = 8) performed 3 basketball sessions and 3 plyometric sessions per week on different days. The control group (n = 8) performed the same 3 basketball sessions but did not participate in the plyometric training. The plyometric sessions consisted of ankle hops, single-leg tuck jumps, countermovement jumps and single-leg hops. Weekly volume progressively increased from 117 to 183 total jumps per session in a periodized manner. Before and after the preseason period, all players were tested in the vertical jump, broad jump, agility (T-test and Illinois test), maximal leg press strength and 60-m sprint time.
The results showed that after the preseason period, no performance improvements were observed in the control group that performed only basketball training. In contrast, the plyometric group demonstrated a 14% improvement in vertical jump; a 5% improvement in broad jump; 6 to 8% improvements in agility tests; a 9% improvement in maximal leg press strength; and a 16% improvement in 60-m sprint time. Clearly, these results show that including dedicated progressive volume plyometric training approximately 3 times per week can substantially improve markers of performance in basketball players.
Asadi, A. et al. Effects of volume-based overload plyometric training on maximal-intensity exercise adaptations in young basketball players. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. In Press.