Gary Pepin, head coach for men's and women's T&F at the University of Nebraska, is the all-time winningest coach in Big 12 history. Since coming to Nebraska in 1980, he has produced more than 400 All-Americans. A crucial component of Pepin's performance-boosting plan is plyometrics, which he uses to enhance his athletes' abilities and measure their improvements.
"We use plyo-based tests to see if we're meeting our practice and training goals," Pepin says. "Some of our athletes also use them for psychological purposes. When they see how much they've improved on the tests, they think, 'There's no reason I can't carry this over to competition.'"
To get the most out of plyo drills and tests, Pepin stresses the importance of learning the proper technique right out of the gate. "The key is to start simple and learn how to do the hopping, bounding and skipping drills correctly. The exercise will be easier on your body, and you'll see greater improvements."
One basic plyo test that Pepin uses is a repeated spring jump for distance. Have a go at the test, making sure to record your jumps and track your progress. Pepin also provides some of his athletes' marks, so you can compare yourself against Nebraska's best and middle-of-the-pack athletes.
Spring Jump Test
Start in athletic stance
Jump off both legs for maximum distance
Land on both feet and immediately jump for distance again
Repeat for 5 or 10 jumps
Coaching Points: Your feet have to hit at the same time; they can't pitter-patter on the landing. Accelerate with each jump, producing as much speed as you can. If you get too low on your landing, you won't be able to generate speed and distance.
|Test||Men's Best||Men's Middle of the Pack||Women's Best||Women's Middle of the Pack|
|Five Spring Jumps||63'2"||49'9 ½"||47'4"||39'11 ½"|
|Ten Spring Jumps||122'||96'2"||90'9"||76'5"|
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