CM April 26, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 28

image Power Training for Sport:
     Plyometrics for Maxium Power Development.

Tudor O. Bompa. Illustrations by Gineta Stoenescu.
Gloucester, ON: The Coaching Association of Canada, 1994. 166pp, paper, $18.95.
ISBN: 0-920678-58-0.

Subject Headings:
Physical education and training.

Review by William F. Benson.



     The key to improvement in athletic performance is a well-organized system of training. A training program must follow the concept of periodization, be well-planned and structured, and be sport specific, so as to cause the athlete's energy systems to adapt to the particular requirements of the sport.
     Also known as reactive training, the stretching-shortening cycle, or myotatic stretch reflex, the exercises known popularly as plyometrics are those in which the muscle is loaded in an eccentric (lengthening) contraction, immediately followed by a concentric (shortening) contraction.
     By following a training regimen of specific exercises which emphasize explosive-reactive power, the potential of the stretching-shortening cycle can be increased.

TUDOR BOMPA appears to be a knowledgeable, experienced coach; in Power Training for Sport, he has attempted to quantify and explain how coaches of all levels can use plyometrics to help individual athletes improve in a wide variety of sports. Plyometrics do not replace regular training methods, but are rather an adjunct to improve the "explosive, reactive power." Bompa has a background in European coaching, and he offers interesting insights into the differences between North American and European training without being judgemental about either system.

image      This is a well laid-out book, with a Table of Contents, Index, Glossary of Terms, and even a Reference section. Power Training for Sport is clearly divided into specific units that review energy systems used, training principles, methodologies, and planning. The book even separates the plyometric exercises themselves into groups based on the section of the body involved or the skills they are meant to develop.

     Bompa's review of how plyometrics works goes down to the cellular level to explain the different energy systems and to caution against over-use. He points out that while some levels of plyometrics training, such as skipping, can be used at any age, others, such as shock tension and drop jumps, should only be used with well-conditioned older athletes.

     Bompa also stresses throughout the importance of following a complete coaching plan. In this book he supplies the framework through concrete suggestions that will help any coach in any sport to develop a year-round, safe, and systematic training program for their athletes.

     Power Training for Sport supplies information meant to assist experienced, rather than beginning-level coaches. And as it is designed to be a generic book on coaching, with an emphasis on plyometrics, it lacks the specificity top level athletes need for training. Bompa also cautions that plyometrics is better suited to some sports than others.

image      Bompa provides a thorough section on plyometric exercise with norms, both Canadian and European, with which to compare your athletes' results. Unfortunately, the norms are eight to ten years out of date, and the Canadian norms are given only in imperial measurements -- an oversight in a work that otherwise gives both imperial and metric measures throughout.

     Tudor Bompa's well-written book outlines the reasons for adding plyometrics to a coach's training plans. His cautions, focus on safety, encouragement of variety and fun, and emphasis on a total plan with a clear goal make this a worthwhile title for coaches not only in Canada, but around the world.


William F. Benson is a school psychologist and triathlon coach in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364