Child To Champion

Basic Jumping and Landing Progressions for your Youth Athlete…

We all know the importance of jumping and landing with so many different sports in mind, and if it’s not part of your programming in some way shape or form, then now’s the time to start employing it.
So often, and we’ve been guilty of it too, the emphasis in training is to get your athletes producing rather than accepting. We love to get our athletes strong, robust, powerful and fast but we also like to spend a whole heap of time exposing them to absorbing the force that they create, not just in a lovely linear fashion, but in multiple planes on two feet and one of course. After all, most sports require multidirectional stopping qualities more often than not with a re-acceleration, in a wonderfully chaotic environment. 
Stopping or landing safely is an absolute necessity to keep  injuries at bay, and it’s through this process that injuries are most likely to occur due to the amount of eccentric loading placed on the body.  
We have so many young athletes come through our doors not knowing what a good landing should look and feel like, and like we always say, if you can’t stop/land effectively then the foot shouldn’t be on the accelerator.
So where do we start with this?? Well, below are three early stage progressions that we like to use with our new youth athletes.  The key here for them is to put them in the landing position before we ask them to absorb, and once they’re showing a safe mechanical position we can then add a touch of intensity to see how they handle it.

 1. The Athletic Position/Landing Position.

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  • Feet slightly wider than hips, knees in line with feet with no valgus or varus,

  • Flexed at knee and hip with emphasis on hips kicked back rather than knees kicked forward (the latter is often what we see initially)

  • Back flat with head neutral

  • Arms pulled back behind body

  • COM over feet

2. Snap Down Bilateral

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  • Start with in extended position, arms in flexion above shoulder height with weight on forefoot.

  • Pull the arms down with some intent and at the same time land pretty much flat footed, absorbing mostly through the forefoot.

  • Land in the same position that was taught above.

  • Avoid landing like a sponge, instead land like a rock.

  • COM over feet

3. Drop Landing

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  • Choose a height appropriate for athlete

  • Keep the body tall and step off box with dorsiflexed foot

  • Land in athletic position, feet just outside hip width, avoiding valgus/varus

  • Maintain flat back, head neutral, arms extended, loading through the hips.

  • COM over feet

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