Explosiveness and Jumping Higher
Explosiveness and being able to jump higher comes from two areas: strength and technique. While strength is physical….. technique is more mental.
You may think that Dr. J and Michael Jordan had a genetic advantage which allowed them to be able to jump higher than every one else. What people don’t realize is that they had to go through years of blood, sweat, and tears to reach that level. Even Dr. J admitted that being able to jump higher can only be developed by having a good conditioning and strength routine. So, rule #1 — get in the weight room and work hard!
But before you start, there are a few questions I seem to get more than others in regards to weight training and jumping higher, so let me answer those now.
At what age should your child start to weight train?
Weight training is a very important part of basketball training. It seems like I started in about the 7th or 8th grade, but my best advice today is to wait until you are at least 14 years old. Why? Because we all know that our body goes through major changes during our teenage years. One of those changes is an increase in hormones that allow muscles to grow and develop strength. It’s during this time when your weight training workouts will become more productive and much more effective.
How much work should be in the weight room versus other conditioning areas like a track?
Sprinting on a track, running up bleachers, and jumping on plyometric platforms are all great methods to improving your jump and explosiveness. I would suggest finding a trainer who can help you put together a plan that will tell you how often to workout and when and where to do each workout.
Should you stop playing basketball when you’re doing a vertical jump program?
No. True, your vertical may decrease after a long practice, but that’s because when you attack a certain muscle group (your jumping muscles) for a long period of time, they get fatigued. And though it seems like they aren’t working as well for the time being, they are actually preparing themselves to rebuild… and this time they’ll rebound stronger and better. So, if you notice that your jump has decreased — all that means is that you’re doing it right.
Where do I start?
Just like everything else in life, you have to lay the foundation when you start a program. You have to start small and build your way u (ie progress). Maybe start with 20 calf raises, 20 seconds with a jump rope, and 60 seconds of running up bleachers or jumping up on a platform or bench. The key is to build a foundation. There is no reason to buy these crazy and expensive jumping programs when there are dozens of great exercises you do at home.
How is explosiveness mental?
Because sometimes it’s all about your attitude. When practicing your basketball skills – particularly when driving with the ball – keep explosiveness in the front of your mind. The “start step” (the initial first step as you dribble) for example, is often over-looked by so many players but it can truly become a weapon that makes you more dangerous. Make the decision to “go somewhere with your dribble,” and explode by the defense. Make that first step extraordinarily long, low, and hard so that as you dribble, you’re covering more ground with each step. Keep yourself in an explosive position – body low and knees bent. Be aggressive with every move!
Other things you can do to mentally stay aggressive are focusing on squeezing the ball with authority, putting both hands on the backboard when you shoot lay-ups, and jumping as high as you can on every rebound. Focus on exploding and being aggressive while you practice and during your workouts and always try to get 100% out of your body (and your mind).
In conclusion, a couple of things to keep in mind. Once you do start a workout routine, it’s always good to mix your workouts up so that your muscles never get too use to one certain exercise. Repetition is everything because that’s what builds muscle memory. If you do these things enough in practice, your body will take over in games and you will be “exploding” without ever having to even think about it.