You will need to get at least that high to be able to snap the ball into the basket. If you're relatively short, then you have your work cut out for you. Developing a one-handed dunk requires less vertical ability than a two-handed dunk, and, for most players, jumping off of one foot from a running start makes it easier to jump high enough to dunk. There are many things that you can do to work on your vertical leap.
Rope skipping is also a very basic form of a type of exercise called plyometrics. Plyometric exercises involve repetitive explosive movements, such as jumping up and down or catching and throwing a medicine ball. The idea is to execute the movement with as little downtime as possible between repetitions. This, in effect, trains muscles to be powerful and explosive, and utilize the kinetic energy inherent in athletic movements in the most efficient way.
It takes a higher vertical leap to get both hands up to the rim versus just one (and don’t forget, you’ll be holding a basketball as well), so if you’re cutting it close, try for a one-handed jam. Being able to palm the ball will obviously help, but it’s not totally necessary; just make sure you keep the ball in both hands until you leave the floor so you don’t lose it.
The vertical jump is defined as the highest point that the athlete can touch from a standing jump, less the height that the athlete can touch from a standing position. The measurement of the jump is flawed if the athlete is permitted to take one or more steps before jumping, as the athlete will convert some of the energy developed in the step taken into the force of propulsion that generates upward lift. Basketball has numerous legends and other urban myths concerning the seemingly superhuman leaping ability attributed to certain players; one such player, former University of Louisville star Darrell "Dr. Dunkenstein" Griffith, was reputed to possess a 42 in (1 m) vertical leap. It is likely that the average National Basketball Association player 6 ft 6 in (1.97 m) or shorter has a vertical leap of between 25 and 30 in (0.63 and 0.75 m); taller and heavier players will usually not be able to jump as high.
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.
“There aren’t many people in the world who can [dunk], that’s why it has this allure, I guess,” Carter told me last fall, during his first training camp with the Grizzlies. “As far as trying to do it, there are so many ways people can go about it. The approach you’re taking is the right approach. When I was younger, that’s how I started. Tennis ball, to the point that it became easy. Then a volleyball. Then a girls’ ball. Finally I took—it was like a dodgeball. I dunked that and said, ‘You know what, I’m gonna try it.’ Next thing you know. . . .” He shrugged and smiled, the gray whiskers on his jaw sinking into a dimple.
My warmup on March 29, following a day of recovery, left me feeling hoppier than I’d expected, and not nearly as achy. After 10 devastating near misses, and several others that weren’t as close, Jeff lofted the best lob I would see during this journey. I leaped, controlled it with one hand and—boodaloomp—in and out. I could have wept. “You got this!” Jeff implored. “You know you got this!”
Before takeoff, or at the onset of the jump, the ball is brought to the abdomen and then the windmill motion is started by moving the ball below the waist according to the length of the player's fully extended arm. Then following the rotation of the outstretch arm, the ball is moved in a circular motion, typically moving from the front towards the back, and then slammed through the rim (from the profile view of a player facing the basket, the windmill motion most generally appears clockwise). Although, due to momentum, many players are unable to palm the ball through the entire windmill motion, the dunk is often completed with one-hand as centripetal force allows the player to guide the ball with only their dunking hand. In some instances sticky resins or powders may be applied to the palm, these are thought to improve grip and prevent loss of possession. Amongst players, subtle variations in the direction of the windmill depend on bodily orientation at takeoff and also jumping style (one-foot or two-feet) in relation to dominant hand.
Even so, the back squat does differ in important ways from the vertical jump. Primarily, it involves a much greater trunk extension turning force, because of the barbell weight on the upper back, and this likely contributes to the more hip-dominant nature of the squat over the vertical jump. Secondly, it is often performed to a deeper depth, which can alter the relative contribution of each of the hip extensors to the movement, because of their different leverages at each joint angle. And thirdly, it only involves accelerating up to midway through the movement, while the vertical jump involves accelerating right up until take-off. This also affects the relative contribution of the hip extensors, as force production will be required in the jump even when the hip is nearly fully extended, while this is unnecessary in the squat.
Often times, basketball players have used one-leg jumping their whole life. It's just a much more natural movement because it's used every single time someone goes for a layup. On the other hand, volleyball players are often used to two-foot jumping because it is the most common way to jump when trying to block or spike. So, if you have all the suppositions to be a great two-foot jumper, but you get barely of the ground this way, it's probably because of a lack of technique.
Stand on your right leg and lift your left knee up as high as you can. Keeping your knee bent and your left leg out of the way, jump and land eight to ten times on your right leg. Focus on the landing. Your body should be ready to spring back up again the second you hit the ground. Try to jump higher with every repetition. Use your left hip and raised leg to build leverage.
Strength exercises include slow, controlled movements like squats, lunges, and weighted step-ups. Power exercises require explosive, quick moves like those needed for plyometrics and power cleans. Plyometrics are explosive bounding, hopping and jumping drills that blend strength and speed. Finally, practicing maximum vertical jump will increase vertical jump.