The things I had going for me: an understanding spouse; a modicum of foot speed and leaping ability, flashed during the occasional Motrin-supported­ pickup game; proximity to one of the best training centers in the world; and, again, an understanding spouse. The forces working against me made for a longer list and included (but were far from limited to) my average hand size and arm length, a lower-back injury that I suffered while playing semipro football in 2009 and my age. I was 42.
If you took a poll of the areas athletes wanted to improve the most, their vertical jump would be among the tops. Athletes playing basketball and volleyball rely on their verticals in a number of ways, but one major way is it gives them an edge to stand out amongst their peers. Players want to jump higher and coaches are looking for players that can put some space between their feet and the court.
The defining characteristic of the depth jump is that the jump is preceded with the strong eccentric (negative) muscle action caused by dropping down from a raised surface, as opposed to a standard box jump where you start on the floor. This makes the depth jump a true plyometric movement, where the muscles are stretched suddenly (by the impact of the landing), producing a powerful shortening of the muscle fibers.

Dunking is a dramatic, crowd-pleasing offensive move. Many times, a rousing dunk can turn that mysterious factor, momentum, right around in your favor. Clearly, dunking is easier if you're tall and can palm the ball with one hand, but there have been relatively short players who couldn't palm the ball who worked hard enough to be able to dunk. If you are considering adding the dunk shot to your repertoire, follow these steps:


A second, more efficient and correct method is to use an infrared laser placed at ground level. When an athlete jumps and breaks the plane of the laser with his/her hand, the height at which this occurs is measured. Devices based on United States Patent 5031903, "A vertical jump testing device comprising a plurality of vertically arranged measuring elements each pivotally mounted..." are also common. These devices are used at the highest levels of collegiate and professional performance testing. They are composed of several (roughly 70) 14-inch prongs placed 0.5 inches apart vertically. An athlete will then leap vertically (no running start or step) and make contact with the retractable prongs to mark their leaping ability. This device is used each year at the NFL scouting combine.
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