Whether you play basketball, volleyball or some other athletic sport, you’ll become a better player by learning how to jump higher. By practicing some simple fixes, you should instantly see some gains on your vertical jump today. Let’s look at some strategies on how you can jump higher.
The only way to jump higher is by fixing your jump technique. Let’s break down the jumping technique into two separate phases, which will make it easier to work on each step separately. There are two separate parts that make up a jump:
- The approach (also known as the run up).
- The takeoff.
Common Jumping Approach Mistakes
The approach is what will make or break your jump. Keep in mind that you’ll want to use the same principles when practicing both one foot and two foot jumps in your approach. Most people are guilty of neglecting to practice their approach. They think that the actual jump is all they need to focus on, but it’s the approach that largely determines how high you can jump. Let’s look at the three biggest mistakes that most players make when it comes to their approach.
- Don’t stutter-step. Stutter-stepping is when you take way too many short choppy steps as you begin your jump approach. Stutter-steps are a bad habit that causes deceleration. If you approach with a stutter, your approach to each jump is going to be different every single time. This introduces an element of randomness to your jumping technique that will make it difficult to replicate your best jumps.
- Don’t slow down before your jump. When you transition from your approach to your take off, you want to gather speed. The horizontal speed gets leveraged into your vertical jump. Slowing down reduces the power you have to push off and leap high.
- Don’t bend forward excessively. An excessive forward lean is especially common with basketball players who want to jump higher. Many players who are extra aggressive in their approach to the basket have their chest almost parallel to the ground. When your approach has too much forward lean, you end up jumping horizontally instead of vertically. Since a forward jump is not what we want, keep your chest back to maximize your vertical jump.
Fixing Your Approach
Let’s talk about some keys to having a good approach. You first want to remember to launch into your jump using the balls of your feet. You can remind yourself of this by keeping your toes pointed up towards your shin as you’re approaching the launch point for your jump.
The ball of your foot is probably the most powerful part of your entire body. You want to be running and generating that force through the ground with the balls of our feet. This will allow you to get a faster approach and get a more powerful takeoff.
You want to speed up during the approach so that you’re hitting a maximum speed right at the takeoff. The more speed and power you can command in your takeoff, the higher you’re going to jump.
Fixing Your Takeoff
Now let’s talk about the takeoff. If you have too much forward lean in your approach, your body will collapse during the take off into your jump. Instead, we want a tall approach where the chest and head are up. This allows us to control our body better. By fixing our tendency to lean forward, we’re trying to take all of our momentum vertical instead of horizontal. A great way to keep upright is to remember to look up at the basketball rim. That will ensure that your head and chest is up.
You want your takeoff to be at the point where you’re at your top speed. So you want the beginning of your approach to be the slowest and the moment of take off to be the fastest. The last crucial step to focus on is literally your last step before the jump. You want your step right before the jump to be a quick penultimate step. The penultimate steps are those last two steps that you take before your jump. You want those last two steps to be your most explosive steps.
By cutting out the mistakes in your jumping technique, you can start adding inches to your vertical jump. We hope this post has given you some helpful tips in your quest to jump higher.