What exactly is a “vertical leap”? Your vertical leap is defined as how far you can jump directly in the air vertically from one spot on the floor.
The vertical leap is measured from your height to the highest point you touch on a nearby wall when you jump up directly in the air.
Vertical leap is used heavily in the game of football and basketball as well as other sports. One may recognize that the NFL combine and Pre-NBA Draft workout both test every potential athlete because they want to get a feel for exactly how high they can jump.
Your vertical leap is the most accurate source for your leaping ability so consequently athletes constantly test their vertical and strive to improve upon it.
Would I rather have a team full of athletes or a group with an average vertical leap?
While I can never complain with a team full of outstanding athletes, I never believe that players should be held back or knocked for a poor vertical leap or overall athleticism because some individuals can still compete at a very high level without natural talent. Take Larry Bird for example. He is one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, yet he was never blessed with a lot of natural athleticism. Bird thrived because his work ethic was better than anyone else and he consequently improved because of his hard work.
My point is that an average or below average vertical leap is nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of the best shooters at any level are often not great athletes but they find other ways to contribute.
Still you can improve upon your average vertical leap with a little effort and time.
The bench mark for an outstanding vertical leap is set at 40+ inches (Michael Jordan for example, had a 48 inch vertical). Athletes with this raw jumping ability usually compete at a very high level because they are incredibly gifted in this department. If you ever watch an NBA draft you’ll usually find analysts going crazy over a kid with a “40+ vert.”
If you can jump 40 inches or higher, or even in the mid to high 30’s, thank God for your natural leaping ability.
I’m told the world record for the vertical leap is held by Kadour Ziani who jumped a ridiculous 61 inches! While other reports say he’s only reached 56 inches, the number is incredible regardless. Ziani (who stands 5’10 by the way) is the only person ever to do a double windmill slam dunk.
While almost all of us can only dream of doing the things Ziani can accomplish, most of us can strive to reach 28 inches on the vertical, which is the NBA average for the vertical leap.
At the college and high school level I’m sure that average number for the vertical leap dips somewhere between 27 and 24 inches.
The Importance of a Vertical Leap and What it means to have an average Vertical Leap…
If you jump around the average for your level of competition, you have nothing to be ashamed of. While a great vertical leap is highly coveted, it’s important that a player who jumps higher than another individual can still get beat to a rebound by effort and a solid box out.
If you are seeking to improve your vertical leap to above average or in the 40+ range, it’s important to do your research when browsing products or training programs on the internet that “guarantee” you’ll jump 40+ inches in two weeks or less.
Such products are usually gimmicks because anyone with basketball sense understands you cannot just improve that drastically and that quickly. If you really want to improve your vertical you’ll need months (if not years) of training and even then the results may not be instant.