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".
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Learn about plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that use the resistance of your own body to build strength and are essential for building the kind of strength necessary to build your jump. It takes time to train your body to jump higher, but working the right muscle groups can improve your explosiveness and height without maxing out regularly in the weight room.
The slam dunk is usually the highest percentage shot and a crowd-pleaser. Thus, the maneuver is often extracted from the basketball game and showcased in slam dunk contests such as the NBA Slam Dunk Contest held during the annual NBA All-Star Weekend. The first incarnation of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was held during the half-time of the 1976 American Basketball Association All-Star Game.
Cameras of that era were too crude to capture the split second when the rules of both Newton and Naismith were bent, so it was fortuitous that New York Times writer Arthur J. Daley was at the Y that day covering the tournament that would decide which Americans sailed to Berlin for the Olympic debut of the 45-year-old sport. This new “version of a lay-up shot,” Daley wrote, “left observers simply flabbergasted. Joe Fortenberry, 6-foot-8-inch center . . . left the floor, reached up and pitched the ball downward into the hoop, much like a cafeteria customer dunking a roll in coffee.”
Among the hundreds of lessons I learned during my youngest child’s first year of life was this: If you earnestly pursue dunking after your athletic peak years of 18 to 30, give or take, it can be done. You can enjoy what it feels like to dunk. You can even feel it more purely than I did, maybe without needing a lob from a friend, and hopefully without all the hand damage. But you should expect a long, frustrating, demeaning war of attrition that pits mind, body, spirit against the most oppressive, unrelenting opponent of them all: gravity. The sun rises and sets, the tides creep in and out—even taxes and death seem negotiable nowadays—but gravity remains constant, forever pounding our shoulders, stooping us shorter as we grow gray, never letting up—no matter what NASA tweets.
Finally, to make things even more complicated, it is likely that the roles of the lower body muscles may differ according to if: (1) the jump is maximal or sub-maximal, (2) long-term training has occurred, and (3) the individual has a “hip-dominant” or a “knee-dominant” technique. Indeed, the vertical jump is more dependent upon the hip extensors in maximal jumps, compared to in sub-maximal ones. And after long-term jumping training, the increase in the amount of work done in the jump by the hip extensors is related to the increase in height, while the increase in the amount of work done by the knee extensors is not.
My quest to dunk started poorly. The main problem was that I could only do about half of the very long list of ercises the Jump Manual instructed at the crowded and inadequate YMCA near my place. The basketball court—the only space big enough to do some of the drills—was always occupied with classes. The Strength Shoes, meanwhile, were so absurd that I was too embarrassed to wear them in front of other gym-goers. I used them only a handful of times, in an empty stairwell on the top floor of the gym.