Online video of the PEP program. Click Here
Coaches Quick Reference (2-pages), Click Here.
PEP Program in Detail (6-pages), Click Here
Follow-up Note to Coaches from Matt McManus, PROEx PT (April 2010)
1. Technique, technique, technique: these flexibility, strengthening, and plyometric exercises MUST be performed as error-free as possible. It’s going to take some time, but the coaches cannot allow the kids to get lazy and sloppy. There must be a fine attention to detail, because if these athletes are not performing these movements correctly, they might as well not be doing them as all. Refer back to the video we showed the girls…the athletes on the video did a nice job of showing proper and improper form. Trust me, it’s soooo easy to just let them go and finish up…especially since we’re all concerned about how much time we have to practice…spend the time NOW so you don’t have to later!
2. They must learn to walk before they can run! With the plyometric section, DO NOT progress to single leg exercises unless you’re confident the athlete has mastered double leg hopping. If you take a minute and think critically about it, it makes total sense…why would we progress someone to a more advanced exercise before they demonstrated proficiency with the fundamental building blocks? Instead of progressing down the list of plyos, repeat the double leg, fwd/bkwd and lateral hops again!
3. Finally, I just wanted to list a few common mistakes I viewed consistently on Saturday…if I saw them repeatedly on Saturday, I’m sure you’ll see them out on the fields starting this week…difficulty keeping knees in line with the foot and hip…difficulty keeping the knee BEHIND the toes with things like lunges, scissors, plyometric hops, etc. ( I really can’t think of a reason why I’d ever be in favor of allowing the knee to come PAST the toes)…when landing, be soft! Stick your butt out like you’re sitting in a chair, but remember to keep your back straight!…overstretching (remember, the intensity of the stretches should be mild to moderate…holding for 30 seconds)…many of the kids were telling me ‘I don’t feel the stretch!’ If you’re satisfied with their form and technique and you’ve tried everything to help them achieve a stretch, then say, ‘that’s OK! You’re flexible!’ But continue to have them perform all required stretches. We still want them to repeat everything, establish muscle memory, learn how to do this program with their eyes shut!
4. The running activities are not a race! Focus on technique and form…many of these kids will try to rush through the activity to keep up with their friends/teammates, especially when they’re not comfortable with the particular exercise (bounding runs, for example).
5. In watching many of these young women run, I can’t but help think that many of them have very weak hip muscles…if this is true, it’s a strong contributing factor to knees caving in, hips internally rotating, knees moving beyond the toes, etc…all major issues we address formally in physical therapy every day…and all things that place extra stress/tension on the ACL. I know we listed some exercises as ‘alternates’ at the end of the PEP program, but I’d strongly encourage adding in the bridging and bridging with a leg lift (when appropriate)…remember, keep those hips up when bridging! Don’t let them dip down!