Having previously discussed the safety of weightlifting in youth, we will now look at plyometircs. Johnson et al 2011 completed a literature review on children using plyometrics. Similarly to how many fear children using weights, some fear them using plyometrics. This is even more irrational given that traditional games like hop scotch and leap frog are using plyometric principals.
Inclusion criteria included a) describing the exercises used, b) outcome measurements for strength, balance, power or other performance variables, c) children 5-14 years old, d) rct or quasi-experimental. 7 articles met these criteria.
Currently, the best evidence indicates that children improve running and jumping at an extraordinary rate when using plyometrics and improve kicking ball distance as well as balance and agility. The program found to work best so far (and recall, we are talking out of 7 properly done studies), is 8-10 weeks of twice a week 50-60 jumps/session and increasing jumping and running load weekly as tolerated.
Research currently indicates that plyometrics are safe and do not increase the risk of fracture or soft-tissue injury. Let the kids play.