I have been training to dunk a basketball for 21 weeks now and although I haven’t achieved my goal yet I have learned a great deal in the process. Here is a list of what I believe are the top five ways to improve one’s leaping ability:
1. Improve your flexibility: Stretching isn’t fun, it isn’t all that impressive, but an inability to utilize one’s full range of motion, specifically in the hamstrings and shoulders will invariably hinder one’s ability to reach their full potential as a jumper.
2. Visualization: Almost all great athletes visualize themselves successfully achieving their goals before they do so. To be a great leaper it is imperative that you see yourself in your mind’s eye jumping high with proper technique.
3. Strength: A good leaper almost always has an excellent strength-to-bodyweight ratio. If an athlete has a bodyweight snatch, double body weight backsquat and a 2.5 bodyweight deadlift, he will have a good static vert, guaranteed.
4. Technique: Jumping from a running start involves a great deal of skill and technique. People who are considered “natural leapers” simply gravitate towards the proper mechanics, people who do not have a ton of god-given leaping ability simply need to learn how to jump the right way. The videos on the page are very informative regarding proper jump technique: http://freeverticaljumptraining.com/vertical-jump-training/single-leg-training-vertical-jump-training/improving-standing-and-approach-jumping/
5. Practice: An old saying is that “practice makes perfect.” The truth is that practice makes permanent, so consistently training the proper jump technique over a long period of time will make you a better leaper. Training your fast twitch muscle fibers to activate properly and on a regular basis will elicit “muscle-memory” (the proper technique will become second nature). Jumping is just like shooting a basketball, swinging a golf club, or pitching a baseball, it takes time, effort, and repetition to improve.