A lot of board-sport athletes make the mistake of thinking they only need to spend time in or on the water to train for their sport, whether a novice or intermediate athlete. The truth of the matter is, and you will notice this with all elite boarders, a lot of time has to be spent outside of the water to help with technique and performance when on it. There’s a point where your body needs to be challenged outside of the repetitive movements and landings it copes with during your practice to enable it to perform better.
Plyometrics, or ‘jumping and landing’, is paramount to wakeboarders, snowboarders, kiters and even surfers. If you’re lucky enough to have stomped or landed a trick neatly first time, then you have evenly distributed a very high load up through your feet, ankles, knees and even lower back. The majority of the time however, as you’re learning new tricks, you spend a lot of time landing awkwardly or catching an edge or missing your footing. Regardless of how seasoned a veteran you are, regular plyometrics training will ensure your body is ready to absorb those high impacts when landing correctly as well as increasing your chances of nailing it first time round as your body will be conditioned to landing evenly no matter what the angle.
Top Tips for training with PLYO moves:
Jump onto a variety of heights.
Jump from a variety of different surfaces and down onto different surfaces.
Include rotations in your plyo training. Don’t just jump straight ahead, jump and do a 180/360/720 and make sure you stick it.
Jump and land onto one foot as well as onto two feet.
Make sure you land with soft knees and absorb your landing. Don’t bring down the house with your heavy landing.
So next time the conditions aren’t quite right (or even if they are), pop into the gym or find a park bench and get some jumping in. It’s the best way to improve your landing skills and prevent injury to those ankles/knees and back. (plus help you stomp that next trick)