The purpose of this intervention study was to investigate if a low-dose of plyometric training (PT) could improve sprint and jump performance in groups of different maturity status.
Male youth field hockey players were divided into Pre-PHV (from -1 to -1.9 from PHV; Experimental: n = 9; Control = 12) and Mid-PHV (0 to +0.9 from PHV; Experimental: n = 8; Control = 9) groups. Participants in the experimental groups completed 60 foot contacts, twice-weekly for 6 weeks.
PT exerted a positive effect (effect size: 0.4 [-0.4–1.2]) on 10 m sprint time in the experimental Mid-PHV group but this was less pronounced in the Pre-PHV group (0.1 [-0.6–0.9]). Sprint time over 30 m (Mid-PHV: 0.1 [-0.8–0.9]; Pre-PHV: 0.1 [-0.7–0.9]) and CMJ (Mid-PHV: 0.1 [-0.8–0.9]; Pre-PHV: 0.0 [-0.7–0.8]) was maintained across both experimental groups. Conversely, the control groups showed decreased performance in most tests at follow up. Between-group analysis showed positive effect sizes across all performance tests in the Mid-PHV group, contrasting with all negative effect sizes in the Pre-PHV group.
These results indicate that more mature hockey players may benefit to a greater extent than less mature hockey players from a low-dose PT stimulus. Sixty foot contacts, twice per week, seems effective in improving short sprint performance in Mid-PHV hockey players.