Here is one undeniable fact: when it comes to doing a perfect slam dunk, tall guys seem to have the advantage. The question is, is height the biggest factor? Must you be 7ft tall like Shawn Bradley, Yao Ming or at least Michael Jordan’s 6’6’’ to make it into the history books as one of the best dunkers of all times? Or you just need a proven tactics how to jump higher to dunk?
The truth is, it is all a misconception. While being tall makes it easier for a basketball player to jump higher, it is one of the least factors here. Just like any other basketball technique, achieving a high vertical jump depends on how you train. Here are some few tips on how to become a better dunker.
How to jump higher to dunk
Tip 1. Perfect your vertical jump
The ugly truth is, you can’t do a perfect slam dunk if your vertical jump technique is poor. But not only that. Ability to jump higher enables you to get your hands high above other players making it easier for you to score as well as block shots. So, work on it.
Vertical Jump Workouts
– Plyometric workouts
One of the best vertical jump workouts is plyometric exercises where your leg muscles are forced to exert a force on short time intervals. Focussing on plyometric exercises enables you to achieve a greater leg speed needed to get your body off the ground faster. Here is how to do it.
- Stand straight, widen your feet until they are shoulder width apart and bent your knees slightly.
- Jump as high as you can. Ensure your knees comes close to your chest.
- Land gently on the balls of your feet. Without wasting even a split second jump again.
- You should jump at least ten times continuously for each rep.
- Start with three reps then proceed to four then five reps.
- Do this 2 to 3 days a week.
– Dynamic weight training
Here is one unfortunate fact: weak legs won’t take you anywhere. To jump higher, you need to focus on building your leg power needed to carry your body weight off the ground. To make your training more effective, involve some weights. Here is what to do:
- Squat Jumps – Stand straight with dumbbells on each arm, lower your body slowly into a squatting position, jump up ensuring your knees aren’t locked and land gently. For starters, try to beat a 20cm jump.
- Weighted calf raises – Just like squat jumping above, have two dumbbells on each arm, but a slightly heavier. Stand straight with your torso parallel to a wall. Lift your heels up using your calf muscles and then gently lower yourself to the ground. Start with ten sets for 3 reps with a 10-second rest in between. Lastly, stretch your calf muscles to avoid other complications such as plantar fasciitis.
– Jump, Jump, and Jump
You can’t do a perfect slam dunk if you aren’t a better jumper. So, jump, jump and jump. You can start with the usual knee to chest jump. Jump as high as you can bringing your knees closer to your chest. Do ten reps for three sets then proceed to 20 reps for three sets? Other effective workouts include rope jumps, jumping over obstacles and more. Jump 3 to 4 times a week.
Tip 2: Work on your slam dunk technique
Step 1: Warm up – Slam dunk is a risky basketball move. If you aren’t good at it, there are chances you’ll get injured. So, ensure you’ve warmed up properly.
Step 2: Stretch your hip flexors and hamstrings– With tight hip flexor muscles, you won’t be able to extend your hip fully. But you need this to jump higher. So, stretch your hip flexors as well as your hamstrings.
Step 3: Find a height basket that is adjustable – Jumping higher will help you get above the rim, but you also need to perfect your scoring technique to do a perfect slam dunk. So, find an adjustable rim. Start from a height you can reach then raise it higher as you go. This will allow you to perfect the technique.
Additional tips on how to jump higher to dunk
- Choose a program that won’t conflict with your daily duties
- Find time to rest so as to recover from the training
- Don’t repeat one endurance exercise too many times, because it might compromise your focus
- Do lots of explosive exercises to increase your strength and speed.
The final word
Every basketball player dreams to be a better slam dunker, but only a few take a step to improve on it due to one misconception: you must be tall and well built. To remind you, not every tall player can do a perfect slam dunk. Believe it or not, some shorter players jump higher than tall players. All it takes is training. So, drop the misconception and focus on the tips and tricks above on how to jump higher to dunk.