Exactly which muscles are most important for improving the vertical jump is still relatively unclear, and may differ between individuals. Clearly, the spinal erectors, hip extensors, quadriceps, and calf muscles are all involved in the jumping movement, and the hip extensors and quadriceps are likely the prime movers, but which of the hip extensors is the primary muscle is very unclear. Importantly, since force production is required right up until take-off, the lower body muscles must produce force from moderate through to short muscle lengths, which differs from the barbell back squat exercise.
About 100 yards away from this 9' 10" breakaway rim (which came to sound, each time I grabbed and released it, like someone closing the metal baby gate at the top of our stairs) was a brown, oxidized, immobile 9' 1" version, a hand-ruining iron maiden where, in front of the occasional puzzled onlooker, I practiced (and practiced) the timing and the hand and wrist work required to dunk. I knew early on that my regulation dunk, if it ever came to pass, would have to come from a lob of some sort—a bounce to myself, either off the blacktop or underhanded off the backboard—after which I would hypothetically control the ball with one hand just long enough to flush it. Mastering the placement and the delicate timing of such lobs would prove to be a quixotic pursuit in and of itself. But it was necessary, not just because of my hand size (7 ¾ inches) but also because I needed to keep my arms free so I could swing them at takeoff, adding much-needed lift to my leap.
No, I think there’s a practical aspect to that. It’s hard to grip a basketball. I mean, that’s another physical challenge. I have pretty small hands, and one thing I had to train myself to do, which I couldn’t do at the start of this project, is palm a basketball. So that involved fingertip push-ups, to get the tips of your fingers much stronger. It involves, while hanging out and watching television, trying to palm a basketball for as long as you can. You want to get into a quick, full sprint, and you want to be able to grip the basketball as you go up to jam it. So doing those things can be a challenge. That’s partly what’s behind people doing the alley-oop-type things or throwing it up off the backboard. In some cases, they simply can’t grip the ball on the way to the hoop, so their solution is to throw it in the air, catch it, and try to bring it down.
Generally, a player can reach their highest when jumping off one foot and reaching up with one hand. For a player that is right-handed, the most common way is approaching from the left and jumping off the left foot with the ball in the right hand. Obviously, for a left-handed player, it’s coming from the right and jumping off the right with the ball in your left hand.
Turn on the windmill. As you approach, bring the ball into your abdomen and back, extending your arm behind your body and up in a circular fashion, like a windmill spinning. At the apex of your jump, bring your arm all the way around to throw it down like a boss. Dominique Wilkins, the Dunkmaster General of the 90s, used to blow crowds away with this spectacular dunk.
Start on a lower hoop and practice on that, just to get the feel of dunking. Jump height is one thing, but you would be surprised at the number of people that find it hard just to slam the ball into the basket, even if they are high enough. Make sure the hoop is high enough for you to only touch the rim. Different jumping styles and distances from the basket can change your vertical drastically and could be the difference between a rim-block and a slam. Keep progressing and eventually you will see results. Good luck!
My early efforts were clumsy. Jumping willy-nilly as high as I could, with no regard for technique, I occasionally felt my finger graze the underside of the rim. Most times I did not. What I did feel early on was a firm self-awareness that I was a two-foot jumper (like Spud Webb, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter and myriad NBA Slam Dunk champions with whom I have nothing else in common athletically) as opposed to a one-foot jumper (see: Julius Erving, Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan). This meant that my best shot at dunking would be to elevate like an outside hitter in volleyball—that is, by stepping forward with one foot, quickly planting my trailing foot next to it and then propelling myself upward off both.
“No, not Dad,” Oliver said in the brick tract home where he grew up. “He was an older dad, like you, and his family was the focus of his life. The only time he wasn’t home with us kids was when he went out on the road for Phillips Petroleum, buying and selling leases in western Kansas and Oklahoma. When he got back he’d say, ‘All I wanted to do was come home.’ ”
When an individual has a force-velocity gradient angled such that force is too high and velocity is too low, they benefit most from high-velocity strength training exercises with light loads. Conversely, when an individual has a force-velocity gradient angled such that force is too low and velocity is too high, they benefit most from low-velocity strength training exercises with heavy loads. Often, individuals with a long history of heavy strength training display profiles that are not ideal for vertical jumping, because their force is too high, and their velocity is too low, so they need to focus on high-velocity strength training.
Squats – start with the bar behind your neck, resting on your shoulders and make sure you’re standing with your feet shoulder width apart. From this position, slowly lower your body by bending at your knees. You’ll go all the way down until you’re in a deep squat and holding that position for two seconds. Then you can slowly rise back up to your starting position. Make sure you keep your back straight and you’re bending at your knees.
Dunk types reflect the various motions performed on the way to the basket. They start with the basic one- or two-hand forward-facing dunk and go on through various levels of athleticism and intricacy. Discrete dunk types can be modified by appending other moves; for example, a player who passes the ball off the backboard, catches it in the air, and executes a double-pump dunk would be said to have completed a "self-pass off the backboard, double pump".
A slam dunk, also simply dunk, is a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air, controls the ball above the horizontal plane of the rim, and scores by putting the ball directly through the basket with one or both hands. It is considered a type of field goal; if successful, it is worth two points. Such a shot was known as a "dunk shot" until the term "slam dunk" was coined by former Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.
I think it’s the sort of thing that a lot of kids probably fantasize about, me included. Just like you might want to become an astronaut or something like that. I was always one of the tallest kids in my class, but I never really tried to dunk. And so as an adult, you start wondering a little bit about what sorts of things you left on the table, that you never really tried your hand at. And I got it into my head that I’d pick up this childhood fantasy of mine and see if I could dunk.
The simplest method to measure an athlete's vertical jump is to get the athlete to reach up against a flat wall, with a flat surface under his/her feet (such as a gym floor or concrete) and record the highest point he/she can reach flat-footed (the height of this point from the ground is referred to as "standing reach"); fingertips powdered with chalk can facilitate the determination of points touched on the wall. The athlete then makes an effort to jump up with the goal of touching the highest point on the wall that he or she can reach; the athlete can perform these jumps as many times as needed. The height of the highest point the athlete touches is recorded. The difference between this height and the standing reach is the athlete's vertical jump.