The vertical jump involves coordinated spine, hip, knee, and ankle extension to produce force in a vertical direction very quickly, while the muscles are shortening through to a very short muscle length. Since the time available for producing force is long compared to other athletic movements, this reduces the importance of rate of force development. Yet, the force-velocity relationship is the primary determinant of the amount of force that can be exerted at a given movement speed. Therefore, maximum force, velocity, and the force-velocity gradient all affect vertical jump height.
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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.