There are several activities that I utilize in training to help kids and young athletes develop their force producing abilities. Most of my workouts will include technical drills relating to sprint mechanics, primary motor skill activities (gallops, leaps, skips), various sprinting drills, and jumping. I love teaching jumping mechanics and using assorted jumps to develop power and coordination in my kids.
Jump training is very effective at home and on the wrestling mats as it requires almost no equipment and can be used with kids of any age. You can incorporate jump training…
- Into warmups
- As a primary part of a workout
- As part of an obstacle course or station work
- Or as a component of a sprint-based session
I always use a combination of one- and two-legged jumps within planned sessions, and almost always use directional elements within the training. An example of a directional jumping drill might include 4 cones set up in a square with the athlete jumping on the right leg around all the cones while always facing the same direction.
Jump Variations for Kid’s Fitness Training at Home
#1 Vertical Jumps
Vertical jumps are any activity in which the athlete is focused on force production vertically. These types of jumps can be done by themselves, over objects such as a PVC pipe or picnic table bench at home, or onto objects, like in traditional box jumps. I modify my vertical jump drills to include various start positions (standing, athletic stance, half squat, full squat, or frog) and will often use turns or spins to add elements of difficulty to various drills. Changing landing cues or instructions can also add complexity to the movements. Specific instructions might be to perform an all-out squat jump with a 180-degree turn and land like a ninja. Athletes can also perform vertical jumps from positions like lunges, or from both knees.
#2 Depth Jumps
Depth jumps encompass any activity in which the athlete jumps off something or lands at a lower level. These types of drills are important in teaching force redistribution and landing mechanics; they are also a key part in plyometric training. Again, these can be done individually or as part of a jumping sequence. An example of a home-based sequence might be: Stand on picnic bench, jump to ground, and immediately jump over another picnic bench. Depth jumps can be done on two legs or one and can include directional elements, as well, such as jumping off a box backwards.
#3 Horizontal Jumps
Horizontal jumps are any activity that requires force to be produced for maximum distance. These would include broad jumps of one- or two-foot varieties and would also include special jumps starting in non-traditional positions like on one knee or both knees. One of my favorite horizontal jumping drills is the speed skater. In this drill an athlete would push off the left foot maximally, traveling as far to the right as possible, then landing under control on the right foot. The athlete could then return to the left or could continue that movement to the right for distance/time/cadence.
#4 Special Jumps
Special jumps include any activity starting in a non-traditional position involving movement where both feet lose contact with ground at the same time during the movement. These could include positions where the athlete starts in a lunge, in a max low squat (frog), or what I term the “cut-off” position. This comes from wrestling and is the basic position an athlete would be in before finishing a double leg tackle – on one knee with foot on the ground, shoulder-width distance from the knee. This is a wonderful position to generate power from by pushing off the foot and explosively traveling off the knee and landing on that foot. This is great drill for developing power, coordination, and landing mechanics. It’s a great drill to use as part of sprint or speed training.
Integrating Jump Training Into Your At-Home Workout
Kids love to jump and especially love jumping as part of basic gymnastic or sprint training. Some of our neighborhood favorites are shown below.
If you have an interest in learning more about incorporating this type of training with your child, I’d love to talk with you about BIPRI Kid’s Fitness Training programs. To start taking a more active role in the health and sport-specific training of your child, please request a consult conversation, and I’ll respond directly.