Learning to Jump

Jumping is a critical part of playing basketball and it is often the player with the best vertical jump who is scoring the most points.  Anyone who is healthy and doesn’t have back or knee problems is able to jump but what separates the Michael Jordan’s from the rest of us.  While in Jordan’s case much of his skill is absolutely his raw talent but the other part is the hours he spent learning to jump while training.  Vertical jump training is a part of every basketball player’s training regimen.

Explosive Power

The ball players who train at vertical jumping not only improve their jump shots but their overall performance improves as well.  Practicing the vertical jump does more than help you jump higher it helps increase your overall strength and explosive power.  Don’t ever overlook vertical jump training as important coaches use jumping as a guide to determine your athletic ability.  Here is how you can improve your jumping skills.

Jump Training and Basketball

Plenty of athletes use jump training as part of their fitness routine but basketball is one of those sports where a lot of jumping takes place during the game.  The jump shot, the layup and the slam dunk all require you to have a great ability to jump.  Coaches will have the whole team practice vertical training several times per week, especially at the college or professional level.  You don’t need a coach you can do that type of training on your own fairly easily.  Most fitness instructors or personal trainers can help you with vertical training.

Jump Training and Rest Days

Leg training and jump training both give you an excellent workout, that means you need to take a sufficient rest period between workouts in order for your muscles to recover. Vertical training and developing your ability to jump higher doesn’t happen overnight.  Jump training is very similar to weight training in that regard you’re going to have to build up the height of your jumps.  Don’t quit because you can’t reach a certain height or because you have seemed to plateau.  Put in the work and your jump shot will improve.

If you want to improve your game then improving your ability to jump will help tremendously.  While you may not be able “to fly” quite like Michael Jordan, you may improve your ability to sink a basket or two.  The power you get from jumping will also help you move around the court much more fluidly.

Making Smart Decisions

Most people attribute speed and the ability to make a basket for success on the court, but that’s not all you need to be a great player.  Great players are also making smart decisions on the court.  Physicality will only get your so far, but if you can’t decide whether it is time to pass or to shoot then your strength and speed won’t help you.  Basketball is a team sport and you need to work together to make magic happen on the court.

Decisions Change the Game

Every time a player steps on the court they are going to have to make decisions, some of them will change the direction of the game.  A player’s performance is determined by the decisions they make, do you pass the ball or do you try and shoot.  Can you stop the opposing team from shooting without getting a foul?  All of the decisions and hundreds more are made in a split second.

Not only do you have to make decisions but you cannot allow mistakes to keep you from playing well.  Once you make a decision, wrong or right it is time to move on.  You need to be able to react quickly, both defensively and offensively.  While players rarely think about it, it is the decisions they make that win basketball games.  Coaches are there to help players do that.  The best players in the world are the ones that are cool under pressure and have the ability to make decisions despite the pressure.

Strategy or Athleticism

How do older players outperform younger more athletic players?  They know the game intuitively and they make good decisions even under the most pressure.  The better player is the one who knows where to be and understand the game.  Talent isn’t enough you also need to know how to play with a team.  Some of the best performing players didn’t possess the greatest athletic ability, Steve Nash is a great example of that yet he still managed to be nominated for MVP three times, winning twice.

Learning to Make Better Decisions

Making better decisions comes from practice.  The more you play the game, the more you are faced with bad decisions and you can take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become a better player going forward.  You can learn what skills that you need to improve and where you should spend time practicing.  Use practice sessions to try different things and what you can make work.  You can also watch some of the top players in the world and take a look at what they are doing and how they make it work.