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Using Force Plates to Measure Performance

Using Force Plates to Measure Performance


Force plate testing allows us to measure ground reaction forces – think running, jumping, stopping, etc. It’s a newer technology for the private industry and high school sports, but here at Carlisle Performance we’re using it to maximally develop speed, quickness and jumping in our young athletes and clients.

As a parent it’s a struggle to watch our children fall short of their athletic goals. And we know it’s unavoidable that there will always be someone bigger, faster, stronger, more explosive or more skilled. But with this force plate technology we’re able to help and it may just give our kids the leg up they need to achieve that next level of success.

Just as medical doctors rely on medical tests to “see inside” and help determine maladies, we use the force plate testing to “see inside” someone’s force production to determine where they may have weakness or improper mechanics. From there we can prescribe proper training to address those weaknesses or faulty mechanics, whether it’s in their force production or force absorption.

Measuring force brings advantages such that the Sacramento Kings use what’s called a force velocity profile to determine how their players produce force – before every game they do a jump test to collect this data. And now that we’re able to measure it, we’re giving our athletes a training advantage. Force wins in sport. Period.

With force plates we’re able to gain information not available to the naked eye. Not only does this help with maximizing sport performance as mentioned above, but we can use it to help determine readiness to return to play after sustaining an injury. When we have consistent measurements, we’re able to compare pre- and post-injury metrics, as well as comparing right to left asymmetries.

Lastly, we’re boosting self-esteem and confidence in training. When athletes know exactly what they need to work on to improve, it gives them direction and therefore confidence when they realize improvements in those areas. They’re able to dunk when they hadn’t previously been able to; they’re able to get that first step off the line to beat their opponent; or they can stop faster to change direction to grab that tough ball that previously would have gotten past them. Seeing improvements in numbers is what gives athletes that extra boost of confidence in their own performance.

Here at Carlisle Performance we’re taking full advantage of this technology and developing force plate programs for our young athletes. We’re seeing all around improvements in performance – speed, quickness and jumping – as well as safer return to training protocols, and increasing confidence in our athletes.

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