During my basketball playing career and even playing now, I will get asked the question, “how can I increase my vertical or how can I dunk better?” Everyone wants to be able to dunk and jump higher. They see players like Blake Griffin almost hitting their head on the rim and how much attention they get, and they want that too.
I am not comparing my vertical to Blake because he is an athletic freak, but we tested our running vertical jump in college, and mine was at 39 inches. As a basketball player now, I can jump higher than before, but since that was the last time I tested my vertical, I will leave it at that. Some of my jumping ability is a gift from God, but a lot of it is hard work and training.
Hopefully, in this basketball article for players, I will give you a few tips on how to increase your vertical jump.
Learning the Correct Technique to Jump Higher
The first step to becoming a great leaper is to learn the right technique for jumping. Just like with shooting, the best shooters in the world usually have the best form. Think of your body like a coiled spring. The farther you push a spring down, the farther it will explode upwards when you let it go. Your body is the same way.
When you load up to jump, you need to bring your arms back, body down, keep your core tight, and then when you go to jump, throw your arms up in the air and explode your body upwards. The standing broad jump is a great way to practice your jumping technique. Once you learn the right jumping technique, you need to train your muscles, and the best way to do that is repetition. This is where the jumping training/jumping drills come in.
They not only make your muscles stronger and more explosive, but they train your muscle memory on the correct way to jump. When you are doing different basketball drills that focus on jumping, make sure that you are doing everything the right way every time because this will translate over into how you jump in a game.
Improving Your Vertical in the Weightroom
Weight Lifting is another key to being able to jump higher. Not every player who jumps high lifts weights, but from personal experience, this has helped me a lot. It is important to lift both your upper and lower body because everything is connected. You do not want any weak areas on your body. Squats are a great exercise because they strengthen your legs, core, and open up your hips.
Hang cleans are a little more difficult, but they train your muscles to be explosive and really build up your fast-twitch muscle fibers. If you are under 15 years of age, I would recommend that you only do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups for your weight training or limit your weight training to lighter weights. This is because you want to make sure that you are executing the exercise the correct way. The best way would be to have someone show you in person the correct way to do the exercise.
Flexibility Equals Being Able to Jump Higher
Being flexible is something that younger athletes do not take advantage of enough. I can jump higher now than I could ever jump before, and the main reason for that is because of stretching. Early in my playing career, I would never stretch, but now that I have seen its benefits personally, I would recommend it to everyone.
The importance of stretching cannot be emphasized enough. For 10-15 minutes of your time a day, you can add inches to your vertical and improve your quickness, speed, change of direction, quickness, etc. Take the time to stretch every day for about 10-15 minutes, and then before and after playing/working out, you will see the difference.
Visualize Being Able to Jump Higher
The power of the mind and visualizing can also help you improve your vertical. I know what you are thinking, but give me the time to explain myself. If you talk to any bodybuilder about lifting weights, they will tell you that majority of the battle is in the mind. It is not the weight that beats them; it is their own mind.
How many stories have you heard about mothers lifting a car because their child was trapped underneath? Stories like this happen all the time because the mind is a very powerful tool. Don’t visualize yourself just being able to barely dunk; visualize yourself putting your head on the rim.
When I was about 15, my high school coach told me to start trying to dunk every day. Even though I couldn’t dunk at the time, I tried every day and pushed myself to jump higher each time. I started with a tennis ball, then a volleyball, a girls basketball, and then finally a regular-sized basketball. I can dunk easily now, but I still push myself to jump higher each time and try crazier dunks each time. If you have put the time in lifting weights and working out, don’t let your mind hold you back, or in this case, hold you down.
How to Increase Your Vertical in Basketball Conclusion
It may never be an option to jump like Blake Griffin, but you can still maximize your jumping potential if you are willing to work at it. Be willing to be patient and put in the work. You will not add 6-8 inches to your vertical next week if you start today. However, 3-6 months from now, you could see a great improvement in your vertical. Now that you have the information on how to increase your vertical, it is up to you to get in the gym and put in the work.