After warming up, I proceeded to slam Jeff’s best lobs off the back rim at least 10 times, watching these missed dunks rebound high over the lane and land somewhere near the three-point line. It’s tough to express how difficult it was to pack up and walk away from the court on such days, to listen to my body when it told me it had reached the point of diminishing returns. To come up with yet another way to tell the wife: No, not today, Sugar. But I came reeeally close.
When I was growing up, basketball was big in my neighborhood. Everyone wanted to be able to dunk on a regulation 10-foot high basket and, thus, everyone focused on improving their vertical jump. The progression usually went a little something like this: touch the rim, grab the rim, hang on the rim, dunk with a volleyball and, finally, dunk with a basketball!
Not so long ago, I played the worst basketball game of my life. I missed layups, turned over the ball, allowed my opponent free reign to the hoop. It was dark. As I slumped on the sidelines after the game, I realized how far I’d fallen from my prime a decade ago. Back then, I could dunk; now, at 33, I could barely curl my fingers over the rim. My game had regressed to hovering around the arc jacking threes. The last time I dunked a basketball, Michael Jordan was a Washington Wizard and people still listened to Coldplay.
Barry, who retired from the NBA in 2009, recalled that a few days before our sit-down he “drove out to the Clippers’ practice facility, wearing sneakers and board shorts, just to get my basketball fix in. Between games I pick up a ball and start shooting. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, You’re 42, man; can you still? So I get a rebound, do a little power dribble in the paint and, sure enough, throw it down. I put the ball down and walked out. I can still do that. That’s good.”
Step 3. Jump as high as you can while flinging your arms forward and overhead. When you leave your feet, only reach up with one arm; you’ll be able to reach a higher point this way versus reaching with both arms. Land softly with a slight knee bend, being careful not to let your knees cave inward. Drive them outward as you did when preparing to jump in the first place.
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!
The method described above is the most common and simplest way to measure one's vertical jump, but other more scientifically accurate methods have been devised. A pressure pad can be used to measure the time it takes for an athlete to complete a jump, and then using a kinematics equation (h = g × t2/8), the computer can calculate his or her vertical jump based on the time in the air.