Time Course of Improvements in Power Characteristics in Elite Development Netball Players Entering a Full-Time Training Program

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McKeown, I, Chapman, DW, Taylor, KL, and Ball, NB. Time course of improvements in power characteristics in elite development netball players entering a full-time training program. J Strength Cond Res 30(5): 1308–1315, 2016—We describe the time course of adaptation to structured resistance training on entering a full-time high-performance sport program. Twelve international caliber female netballers (aged 19.9 ± 0.4 years) were monitored for 18 weeks with countermovement (CMJ: performed with body weight and 15 kg) and drop jumps (0.35-m box at body weight) at the start of each training week. Performance did not improve linearly or concurrently with loaded CMJ power improving 11% by Week 5 (effect size [ES] 0.93 ± 0.72) in contrast, substantial positive changes were observed for unloaded CMJ power (12%; ES 0.78 ± 0.39), and CMJ velocity (unloaded: 7.1%; ES 0.66 ± 0.34; loaded: 7.5%; ES 0.90 ± 0.41) by week 7. Over the investigation duration, large improvements were observed in unloaded CMJ power (24%; ES 1.45 ± 1.11) and velocity (12%; ES 1.13 ± 0.76). Loaded CMJ power also showed a large improvement (19%; ES 1.49 ± 0.97) but only moderate changes were observed for loaded CMJ velocity (8.4%; ES 1.01 ± 0.67). Jump height changes in either unloaded or loaded CMJ were unclear over the 18-week period. Drop jump performance improved throughout the investigation period with moderate positive changes in reactive strength index observed (35%; ES 0.97 ± 0.69). The adaptation response to a structured resistance training program does not occur linearly in young female athletes. Caution should be taken if assessing jump height only, as this will provide a biased observation to a training response. Frequently assessing CMJ performance can aid program design coaching decisions to ensure improvements are seen past the initial neuromuscular learning phase in performance training.

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