Slam Dunking Technique

Mon, 14/10/2013 - 14:03

If you are the average man, you’d have to vertically jump over 40 inches to make a dunk shot.

A little about those numbers because we’re sure you’ll want to know your vertical jump goal to dunk like your favorite college players. In regulation play, the rim of the basket sits 10 feet above the playing surface. The average height for a man is 69.4 inches, while women are 63.8 inches. (According to an NBA survey, the average height of a professional NBA player is 79 inches (1)!)

Assuming the “dunk” position, you’ll notice it is your height, plus the height of your forearm, since your wrist will need to be above that 10 foot rim. Looking to da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the foot is one-seventh your height, and interestingly, your foot is the same length as your forearm (2). Your vertical jump goal is the difference of the “dunk” position and the net rim.


120 inches – (height in inches + 1/7 height in inches) = Vertical Jump to Dunk

For a 71-inch tall man: 120 inches – (71 inches + 10.14 inches)

120 inches – 81.14 inches = 38.86 inch Vertical Jump to Dunk

Will vertical jump determine March Madness winners? Run a series of vertical jump stats based on the playoff team’s rosters. Do you think vertical jump can predict who takes the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy?

Finding Vertical Jump Height

Dunking take-offs can be either single- or double-leg. For this simple no equipment vertical jump test, stand on both legs with your shooting-arm side next to a wall and jump as high as possible, marking the wall with an extended hand-chalked or even a sticky note slapped on the wall at the top of the jump. Subtract extended reach height from height of the mark to find the vertical jump height.

Get your clients and gym members involved with a Dunk Jump Off! Measure and mark on a wall the 10 foot rim height and then have participants write their name on a sticky note and jump to see who can get their name above the rim.

Improving Vertical Jump

Plyometric training, commonly referred to as jump training, along with Olympic lifts can increase vertical jump, according to Dr. Michael A. Clark, author of the NASM Essentials of Sports Performance Training (3,4). Plyometric activities involve pre-stretching and eccentrically loading the muscles, stabilizing, and then releasing the stored energy with a concentric contraction, like the stretch and release of shooting an elastic band (4). Box jump-ups are an initial plyometric stabilization exercise that focuses on establishing landing mechanics, postural alignment and reactive neuromuscular efficiency.

Olympic lifts, such as the snatch, clean and jerk, power clean, snatch deadlift, and back squat, can improve rate of force development, maximum strength, and explosive power in addition to vertical jump performance.  Don’t overlook the importance of flexibility in either of these training techniques.

Incorporating plyometric training and Olympic lifts requires an understanding of where your client is in the Optimum Performance Training (OPT ™) model and determining appropriate activities in order to systematically enhance skills and avoid injuries.

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