The goal of my workout today was a predictable one: dunk a basketball. After some preparatory fast back squats and high box jumps I headed over to the outdoor courts at Redwood High School. In all honesty I was dragging a bit today when I started to warm up my vert at Redwood. I just didn’t feel explosive; I didn’t feel fast or quick. There wasn’t anybody around, and I hate to say it, but I was just going through the motions.
After about 30 minutes of lackluster rim grabs I was about to call it a day when some kids came by and picked up the basketball that I had brought with me to eventually practice with. I told them that it was my ball, but they could play around with it for a while. They started playing a game of one on one and in between plays I went up and tried to grab the rim as emphatically as possible.
Then something amazing happened. I could suddenly jump a good five inches higher than I had been on my previous jumps. I was getting my entire hand above the rim and hanging on it. I was grabbing the rim with two hands. I just felt incredible. What was responsible for this sudden upsurge in performance? I had an audience. Simply having those kids present and within 10 feet of me and aware of what I was trying to accomplish presented me with a tremendous sense of motivation that simply was not there when I was jumping on my own. My body was producing more adrenaline and I felt like a new man.
When the kids thanked me and gave me the ball back they said to me, “You can dunk right?” I said “Not yet, but I’m almost there.”
After they left, I came very close to dunking, but did not successfully do so. Next time I head over to the court I think I’m going to have to bring an entourage, or just solicit some kids to throw me alley-oops.