Plyometrics & Preparing to Play the Ducks: LSU Story…

On Thursday night, I watched the Cal Bears take on the Oregon Ducks in a nationally televised football game (with the Detroit Tiger baseball game on swap). While the first half was surprisingly close (Cal up 15 to 14), I sensed what was ahead. The Ducks are built for speed.

LaMichael James (21) - Photo credit: The Oregonian

The game turned into a track meet with Ducks winning 43-15.   Cal really didn’t have a chance.

And after what I read in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend about how LSU prepared for Oregon, it hit me that very few teams can put in the kind of dedicated effort it takes to stop a team that’s so fast.

LSU’s secret to success was plyometric training.

In brief, plyometric exercises are specialized, high intensity training techniques used to develop athletic power (strength and speed). Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force). The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements. One popular plyometric exercise is jumping off a box and rebounding off the floor and onto another, higher box. These exercises typically increase speed and strength and build power.

The WSJ story mentioned how LSU’s strength and conditioning coach, Tommy Moffitt, prepared the team for the Duck’s uptempo style (run a play every 18 to 22 seconds). He had the linemen “flip tires and push sleds, varying the resistance based on what he called the coefficient of friction. He charted how much each player moved at every practice, down to the yard. He went online and searched for new exercises, he said, until his ‘eyeballs bled.'”

The results of that preparation can be seen in the video below.

I’m a believer!

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