The Pyramid of Athletic Growth


To start your pyramid, consider the totally different instruments you need to use to assist enhance your efficiency as located in a pyramid form. On the peak of the pyramid is the game particular talent you are attempting to enhance. For a volleyball participant, that would imply more durable hits, or for a basketball athlete, that would imply a better vertical bounce.


Training these expertise are crucial when attempting to develop them, however from a physiological perspective, the speed and extent of their improvement rely on the physiological traits they’re constructed upon (the bottom of the participant pyramid).



On the base of your pyramid are the coaching instruments that assist develop the bodily and neuromuscular traits wanted so that you can carry out your sport. Though much less sport particular, these are the instruments that enable you set up the foundational qualities of your athleticism—work capability, strength-speed-power, and neuromuscular coordination. Consider these qualities as the required assets from which you develop sports activities expertise like stronger legs and hips for a better vertical or larger muscular coordination for more durable hits.


Earlier than you may successfully develop your sport-specific expertise, it’s good to first set up the bottom of those expertise. For a feminine athlete, you may think about constructing your base with these three foundational qualities:


Work capability Power-Velocity-Energy Continuum Neuromuscular effectivity


Work Capability

Your work capability might be outlined as the entire quantity of labor (or load) your physique can each tolerate and get well from—take into consideration your capability as a cup that may solely maintain a lot liquid. As a way to enhance, an athlete should be capable to work inside this threshold quantity and at a sure stage that introduces a crucial stress to elicit an adaptive response. This implies it’s good to work onerous sufficient to enhance, however not an excessive amount of that you simply start breaking down.


The Pyramid of Athletic Development - Fitness, female athlete, skill development, goals, explosive strength, speed training, agility, training plan, pyramid


If an athlete is restricted by her capacity to deal with adequate workloads (she at present has a tiny cup), she’s going to by no means be capable to expose her physique to the extent of stress wanted to enhance.


For instance, if you happen to actually wish to enhance your vertical, however you might have been sitting on the sofa because the finish of final season, you may’t simply bounce into onerous coaching and count on your efficiency enhance—at this level, your cup is small. Whereas onerous coaching is critical for adaptation, in case your physique isn’t able to deal with that onerous coaching, you’ll solely see decreased efficiency and finally break down.


The athlete who is best in a position to deal with increased workloads can be in a position to work more durable and with increased volumes to direct improved efficiency—far earlier than reaching the purpose of break down.

So, if you wish to prepare onerous, it’s a must to first prepare to enhance your capability to do onerous work.


Consider your work capability as having three most important parts:



Your capacity to tolerate excessive workloads Your capacity to get well from these workloads Your capability to withstand fatigue (mentally and bodily)


You possibly can develop these parts with common cardio work (issues like swimming, rowing, and strolling) and with increased volumes of resistance coaching (full-body common power and motion coaching).


By performing progressively increased volumes of exercise at low to reasonable intensities of coaching, your physique is ready to put together itself for the onerous coaching it must carry out with a purpose to drive efficiency enhancements. That is the kind of coaching that helps you enhance the dimensions of your cup so it may possibly maintain extra later.


Power-Velocity-Energy Continuum

Now that you’ve got the capability to construct your athletic qualities, it is time to begin stressing your physique to push it to enhance. If you wish to enhance your vertical, you could prioritize strengthening your actions lengthy earlier than you begin including extra leaping to your program. There’s clear and repeatable proof demonstrating that an total robust basis of maximal power want first be established previous to integrating pace and energy based mostly coaching.1


Newton’s second regulation (power = mass x acceleration) demonstrates the direct relationship between elevated power and elevated acceleration. When contemplating this regulation with a efficiency perspective, the larger the power that may be produced in an outlined time period, the larger the acceleration.


This implies with improved power via resistance coaching, the larger capacity it’s a must to produce increased forces at increased speeds. In consequence, the athlete that’s stronger can produce increased forces to propel her physique into the air and bounce increased.


So how robust is robust sufficient earlier than a feminine athlete can begin coaching to develop her pace and energy? A evaluation by Haff and Nimphius suggest that as minimal decrease physique power requirement to appreciate superior energy outputs, feminine athletes ought to be capable to squat twice their physique weight.


After all, critiques like these fluctuate within the varieties, depths, and technicality of the squats being carried out within the research, however the total message is evident: females have to develop their power earlier than introducing pace, agility, and energy coaching.


Though pace and agility coaching are crucial for all athletes when educating mechanics, the precise physiological qualities that may be developed via extra complicated drills (to truly enable you enhance your pace and power manufacturing) are immediately depending on the extent of power first established.four


Attempting to additional develop an athlete’s pace and energy output earlier than establishing her capacity to supply increased forces isn’t solely a waste of money and time, nevertheless it additionally places your athlete at increased harm threat.


Neuromuscular Effectivity

What’s neuromuscular effectivity? It refers back to the interplay of the nervous system (your mind) and the muscle firing (contractions) to supply power. Higher neuromuscular effectivity has been demonstrated to enhance pace and agility efficiency. Extra environment friendly connections assist your physique produce larger power in actions equivalent to sprinting and altering course.


How can coaching assist enhance this connection? Once we prepare at or close to maximal intensities, we’re in a position to assist our physique enhance this connection. Bouts of close to max depth actions can include performing a heavy 1RM again squat (after all with first well-established method), performing a heavy snatch or clear and jerk (once more method first), or performing max velocity sprints and max top field jumps.


These actions assist enhance your neuromuscular effectivity by growing:


Neuromuscular coordination (your brain-body connection) Intra-muscular coordination (a number of muscle teams appearing collectively) Inter-muscular coordination (a number of muscle cells working collectively inside a muscle)1


Coaching lifts like a 1RM again squat are thought of excessive power however decrease pace. They assist your physique discover ways to recruit numerous muscle (appearing collectively) for manufacturing of maximal quantity of power, on the expense of some velocity. Coaching lifts like a snatch or a clear and jerk are thought of excessive power and excessive velocity as a result of they prepare your physique to supply fairly excessive forces (not as excessive as again squats) at increased velocities.5


Coaching quick sprints or performing plyometrics like field jumps are thought of low power and excessive velocity as a result of they prepare your physique to maneuver itself (decrease power) at close to max speeds. The appliance of those coaching modalities is all essential when contemplating the pyramid of your participant improvement.


If you wish to enhance your vertical, it’s good to ensure your work capability is giant sufficient for onerous coaching. Your power must be satisfactory sufficient to develop your pace and energy, and your pace and energy coaching ought to progressively prepare your physique to showcase these athletic qualities into extra sport particular expertise.


Your Skills As a Participant

Transference of your athletic qualities equivalent to power, pace, energy, and agility to extra sport particular duties, like a better vertical, might be educated with instruments which might be nearer to your precise sport. These are the instruments that persist on the peak of your pyramid.


When contemplating utilizing field jumps to enhance your leaping capacity, they’re a far weaker stimulus in directing your improvement in comparison with instruments discovered on the decrease ends of the pyramid just like the again squat and energy clear. Nevertheless, field jumps are extraordinarily helpful when educating an athlete the right way to switch her newly acquired power and energy to extra sport particular actions.


For a volleyball athlete who needs to enhance her vertical, implementing plyometrics and different bounce coaching to assist her enhance her efficiency are crucial however solely after she employs different instruments to assist her construct her work capability, power, and energy. Implementing field jumps or different plyometrics first, earlier than establishing power and physique consciousness, might assist the athlete enhance her bounce efficiency at first, however not for the long-term.


Bear in mind, increased jumps are the aim, however not essentially the technique of attaining the aim. When contemplating the event of a talent, you could first develop the qualities from which the talent is developed.


Your athleticism is the bottom. Your expertise as a participant are your peak. Desire a increased peak? Then cease coaching solely on the peak, and begin growing your base.



1. Gambetta, V. Athletic Growth. (2010). The Artwork & Science of Purposeful Sports activities Conditioning. Champaign: Human Kinetics.

2. Sargent, D., Clarke, R. (2018). Power and Conditioning for Feminine Athletes. Power and Energy. Marlborough: Crowood. Pp 23-57.

three. Haff, G.G. and Nimphius, S. (2012) Coaching ideas for energy. Power and Conditioning Journal, 34(6), 2-12.

four. Sargent, D., Clarke, R. (2018). Power and Conditioning for Feminine Athletes. Velocity and Agility Growth for Feminine Athletes. Marlborough: Crowood. pp 73-90. .

5. Hedrick, A. and Wada, H. (2009) Weightlifting actions: do the advantages outweigh the dangers? Power and Conditioning Journal, 30(6), 26-35.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button