A force plate is a tool that measures the ground reaction forces generated by a person while they are standing, jumping, or moving across the plate. It is essentially the force that the ground exerts back onto the person. These forces is measured in all three directions – vertical, side-to-side, and forwards-backwards. This information reveals so much more than an athlete’s maximum force output. We analyze the direction, magnitude, and the force-time curve that represents the relationship between you and the ground. From these measurements, we create a Force Plate Profile that assesses:
- Energy Transfer
- Neuromuscular Coordination
The athlete’s Force Plate Profile is tailored to their specific sport and position. The ideal profile for a baseball pitcher looks very different from a sprinter, jumper, or a defensive lineman. The demands of each sport/position are unique in how the athlete utilizes ground forces to move their bodies. The amount of force put into the ground and the timing of when that force occurs in the movement is crucial for optimal performance in each respective skill.
A Force Plate Profile is particularly useful for trainers, as it assists in tailoring the athlete’s training to maximize results through appropriate focus. A common error in training is that we all like to watch the athlete perform the exercises and skills that they are already good at. It is satisfying to watch! However, it is much more difficult to identify and focus on the weaknesses that are inhibiting performance, plus it is rarely the athlete’s favorite thing to do.
Regular monitoring of an athlete’s force profile will allow continued optimization of their programs. Basing the major elements of an athlete’s individualized training on accurate and reliable data is vital to efficiently improving performance.