The Step By Step Guide To Achieving your first dunk
The NBA’s Slam Dunk contest is one of every basketball players favorite moments. Everyone tunes in to see what sort of dunks these elite athletes have come up with this year. We remember Michael Jordan taking off from the free throw line in 1988 and Vince Carter putting his elbow in the rim in 2000 NBA. These are the type of dunks that will forever be on highlight reels and be motivation to make basketball players want to learn how to dunk a basketball.
Whether you are 6-foot-7 or under 6-foot, you want to have the power to fire up the crowd with a monster jam or deflate your opponent’s spirits with a two-handed slam. Unfortunately, every basketball player doesn’t have the genetics to just walk into a gym and dunk, but with the right training and hard work you can improve your chances of rocking the rim.
In this article, we’re going to breakdown the steps you can take to learn how to jump higher and improve your chances of making your dream of dunking come true.
Hopefully by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly what you can do to improve your ability to dunk.
" If you really want to learn how to dunk a basketball and put in the work required, you will achieve a your goal. We hope you find this article helpful in allowing you to achieve your first slam dunk. "
The road to your first dunk is not going to be easy, but the payoff will be worth it.
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How To Dunk A Basketball: By BallTillWeFall. Last Updated March 29, 2018 2:19 PM
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Building Your Strength to Dunk a Basketball
Lifting Weights To Jump Higher
The best way to begin the journey of slam dunking is building up your basketball specific strength. For many athletes, their physical strength is a major factor that limits their athletic performance.
It’s no secret that the stronger you are the more efficient you can be on the court. Not just for jumping, but in speed, quickness, and agility; which all will help you get over the rim.
There are specific exercises and weight training workouts you can focus on while you’re in the weight room and these mainly focus on your lower body.
These exercises are building your basic level of strength first:
● Back Squats - start with your feet shoulder width apart and the bar at the top of your shoulder blades. Place your hands on the bar but make sure you’re not applying any pressure to the bar. Bend your knees and start to slowly lowering your body to pretend like you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight and make sure your knees don’t buckle in before pushing yourself back up to your starting position.
● Lunges - keep your upper body straight with your shoulders back and relaxed. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent. Use the weight in your heels to push back to the starting position. Follow by stepping forward with the opposite leg and continue switching from leg to leg.
● Calf Raises - stand at the edge of a step and lift your heels until you are standing on your tippy toes while keeping your leg straight. Hold on your toes for 2 seconds then slowly lower your heels back to floor. Once you’ve got your balance, add weight! Other lower body exercises to consider are:
● Leg Extension ● Leg Curl ● Leg Press ● Single Leg Squats
Find a coach or trainer who can make sure you do these exercises correct. Even though these are basic lifts, it’s important to do them the right way. The explosiveness and power you get from getting stronger with these lifts will directly translate into your athletic performance.
Jumping Rope For A Higher Vertical Jump
Outside of the weight room, there’s one specific drill you can work on to improve your vertical leap - and that’s jumping rope. This is a great exercise for basketball players and you’ll be hard to find a basketball player that hasn’t spent time training with a jump rope.
The benefits of jumping rope are quickly visible when you get on the court. It helps you develop quick feet and agility, but the number one thing is it gets you in great shape. It also helps you increase your hops. If you are new to jumping rope then you should start with your basic jumps which is simply getting over the rope.
Once you’ve mastered this move, you should start mixing it up and pushing yourself to do more difficult moves such as double-skip jumps, one-legged jumps, or switching to a heavy jump rope.
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Before and after every workout, stretch your legs. This can lead to increase flexibility which loosens your muscles and allows them to perform better with a greater range of motion.
In other words, they are strong and function better. Be sure to include dynamic stretches into your warm-up to get your joints moving and static stretches into your cool down after the workout.
Dynamic stretches are when you put your body through a range of motion to prepare it to perform. Some examples are:
● High knees
● Lunge with a twist
Static stretches are when you hold a stretch for an extended period of time. Some examples are:
● Standing Quadriceps Stretch
● Hamstring Stretch
● Calf Stretch
How To Dunk A Basketball 101
Generally, a player can reach their highest when jumping off one foot and reaching up with one hand. For a player that is right-handed, the most common way is approaching from the left and jumping off the left foot with the ball in the right hand.
Obviously, for a left-handed player, it’s coming from the right and jumping off the right with the ball in your left hand. Some players thinking jumping off two feet to be more comfortable, but it’s different for every player. Take time while you’re practice your jump to find what’s the most comfortable for you.
As you’re learning the right way to jump, comfort is crucial because you don’t want to hurt yourself making a move that feels awkward.
You want to be comfortable taking off and landing - and that can be done a number of different ways.
To begin, go up without a ball first. This will give you a great idea of where you’re at and just how close you are to being able to dunk. For beginners, you should focus on dunking with one hand.
Your other hand should stay by your side to balance your body while you’re in the air. The two-handed dunk is awesome, but is surprisingly more of an advance dunk and should be an approach you build up to as you work on your dunking. One of the problems with dunking is managing the ball while you’re in the air.
To dunk with one hand, you’ll need to be able to palm a basketball. Some players have no trouble getting a grip of the basketball and driving it over the rim, but for other players this realistically isn’t going to happen without a lot of practice and hard work. If you can jump high enough to dunk, but you’re having a hard time going up with the basketball in one hand, the solution is to start small and work your way up.
A smaller ball such as a soft golf ball or tennis ball is a great starting point. From there, move slowly to a mini-basketball. It will provide more of a challenge but still be easy to palm as you go up. Once you can dunk the mini ball, try moving on to a volleyball until finally a regulation basketball.
Cautions of Dunking a Basketball
Once you dunk a basketball you’ll probably want to dunk every chance you can to show off those vertical skills, but keep in mind a few things to avoid hurting yourself along the way.
● Check out the rim. Before you consider dunking, inspect the rim and its condition - especially if you’re playing on an outdoor court. The rim itself might not be in the best condition and you don’t want to risk injuring your hand if the rim is poorly maintained.
● Protect your knees and ankles. No matter your height it’s important to jump and land the right way. Stay under control and land properly. It’s not worth dunking if you’re going to get hurt when you land incorrectly and end your season.
● Don’t use a portable basketball goal. This one doesn’t even have to be explained - portable goals are not safe for dunking. They can easily tip over with any sort of weight on the rim and the last thing you need is an injury due to stupidity. Just don’t even think about it.
Being able to dunk will undoubtedly take time, but if you put in the work, you will get there and maybe one day you’ll dunk like the superstars. Until then, remember to keep using the right form as you jump and handle the basketball and most importantly, don’t give up!
You’ll get painfully close a hundred times before you finally get a clean dunk. You're first dunk may be a little on the ugly side and won’t be with the authority you pictured, but it will still be a dunk and it will be worth it in the end!
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