Air ball Alley-oop Assist Backboard shattering Ball hog Block Buzzer beater Cherry picking Dribble Crossover Dunk Euro step Fadeaway Fast break Fly Flop Jump shot Layup Finger roll Field goal Four-point play Free throw Hook shot Moves Pick and roll Positions Posterized Playbook Rebound Point Screen Back screen Slashing Steal Three-pointer Three-point play Uncontested shot
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.
For taxonomic purposes it is an important distinction, but the modifiers discussed below are often considered dunk types in common parlance. This misconception is perhaps attributable to the modifier being the most salient component of the dunk from the perspective of the observer. However, each dunk modifier requires a dunk type to be a successful dunk—albeit the most-basic dunk type.

I went through this progression, too. I went from touching the middle of the net at 12 years old, to dunking a basketball at 14 years old, to doing serious acrobatic 360-degree dunks at 17 years old. In college, my personal record for the vertical leap was 40 inches. At my peak, I was able to touch the top of the square on a regulation backboard, about 11.5 feet from the ground. Even now, in my thirties, I can dunk a basketball while standing underneath the basket—no run up required. I owe it all to the power of the vertical jump.

Joe would die some 30 years later, at age 82, but what he said that day as he stood in a puddle of dry tobacco—his clothes disheveled, the other Fortenberrys yelping a chorus of excited Yessirs—spoke to me in a way that can only be understood by those who blindly take on missions that exact a greater toll than was envisioned. “Well,” he said with a grin, “that’s the last time I’ll ever do that.”


Two foot jumpers spend a lot more time on the ground during take-off than one-foot jumpers. This allows them to generate a lot of force through the muscles of the calves, quads, glutes and hips. While one-foot jumpers rely heavily on elasticity and "bounciness", two-foot jumps are more reliant on strength and power. This is one of the reasons why football players are excellent two-foot jumpers - they have really strong lower bodies!
Secondly, in addition to the rate of force development, the size of the force itself produces a negative feedback effect on vertical impulse, because higher forces lead to faster accelerations, which in turn reduce the time spent producing force before take-off. This is *partly* why drop jumps tend to involve higher forces, shorter ground contact times, and yet similar jump heights to countermovement jumps.

A vertical jump is defined as the highest point an athlete can touch from a standing point jump, less the height the athlete can touch from a standing position (standing reach height). The best place to start with your vertical jump improvement is testing your vertical jump. This will serve as your reference point to see how you’re increasing your vertical.


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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