Recently I have been putting a lot of time into working on assessments that really give us feedback on where an athlete is and where they are going as relevant to field play as possible.
Multi Directional sports like Hurling/Camogie and Gaelic Football are games where explosive bursts are followed by slower periods of movement and recovery. One of the key components to field performance is your ability to recover from those explosive movements like accelerations, tackles, shoulders etc. this is largely underpinned by our aerobic system. Faster we recover the more explosive bursts we can make is the theory.
I have adapted this test and the training somewhat from the work of Joel Jameison and his Explosive Repeat method.
I am using the Med Ball Shot Toss as the exercise to measure. This has a horizontal hip drive and is a full body ballistic throw Essentially you need a base line.
So you will have 2 scores now, single max throw and your ability to repeat it. The ability to repeat it we can call your Explosive Repeat Capacity.
For training then I use a 12:48 second split. That’s our work:rest ratio. We know that most “all outs” have an 5-12 second window. I have gone high because this is not quite a continuous repetitive movement, it has a throw and a sprint and changes of direction.
o enhance our aerobic system and our ability to recovery quickly we use active rest. Anything really that’s not too intense but will keep HR above 120. Skipping, running technique drills, mobility work and maybe some easy push ups and BW Squats or lunges work well. But not too many. I find skipping the best. Skipping is an immediate reporting system. Skipping has a skill element and very much a timing element. Those factors alone make it neuromuscular. If your easy skipping is going to pot then there is a good chance you are reaching fatigue and the quality of everything drops. I use skipping as a regulator a lot with active rest. As sure night follows day when I miss a few skips or trip up in some way I will struggle shortly with my explosiveness.
You could do the training in blocks. Maybe 5 reps, rest 2 mins and repeat for a number of sets. That may be very suitable to combat sports for instance. Or you can just build you ballistic power endurance by repeating it till you lose 3 lives on your throws (as in not reach the buffer zone). My gut tells me this may be the way for a middle 8 player in Gaelic Games to train and probably all Basketball players. There may be an argument for a full back/full forward line player in Gaelic Games doing heavier ballistic exercises and straight line accelerations alone as the science is telling us this is mostly what they do on the field. Or maybe a mix as very often, particularly in football, those inside players do a lot more than that these days as well. It really depends on the team you are working with and the tactical approach of management.
Other versions of this test is using repeated broad jumps in the same measuring system. Start with one fresh repeated bounds tined for 8 seconds, that’s your mark, active rest for a minute and repeat. Keep going until you cannot make your first distance. I would suggest (having done it quite a lot) that there is even more metabolic demand and fatigue from this approach. So this may not be as good in a team setting on the field unless the field coach is prepared to give 5-10 minutes total recover afterwards. Not to mention the fact players will finish at different times. However if well organized then this can work. The other benefit to the broad Jump approach is you do not need any equipment other than markers.
In the video you will also see I did some vertical explosive training. This was on the same day after about 10 mins of mixed active/passive rest. Not totally sure about the transfer of this yet.
Other methods that may suit some sports or an individuals weaknesses are Sled Sprints, Sled Pulls or Prowler Pushes.
Hopefully this will get coaches and athletes thinking more about what exactly we are measuring and training and is it really telling us what we need to know and transferring to the pitch