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.
Though improving jumping technique may add a couple inches to an athlete's vertical jump, good landing technique is even more crucial. The landing is when almost every jumping-related injury occurs, not the jump itself. For this reason, athletes should spend a significant amount of time learning to land in a balanced position that distributes the impact of the jump equally across all joints of the lower body. This position should look almost identical to the take-off position.
At the onset of the jump, the ball is controlled by either one or both hands and once in the air is typically brought to chest level. The player will then quickly thrust the ball downwards and fully extend their arms, bringing the ball below the waist. Finally the ball is brought above the head and dunked with one or both hands; and the double clutch appears as one fluid motion. As a demonstration of athletic prowess, the ball may be held in the below-the-waist position for milliseconds longer, thus showcasing the player's hang time (jumping ability).
Nothing generates more excitement in a basketball game than watching the creativity and athleticism of a player flying through the air and finishing with a slam dunk. It can single-handedly change the dynamic of the game and turn a regular player into a star. Although it helps to be tall or have a natural leaping ability, short people can develop the skills required to perform this amazing athletic feat with proper training and technique.
Vertical jump measurements are used primarily in athletic circles to measure performance. The most common sports in which one's vertical jump is measured are track and field, netball, basketball, football, and volleyball, but many sports measure their players' vertical jumping ability during physical examinations. In addition, single and multiple vertical jumps are occasionally used to assess muscular strength and anaerobic power in athletes.