How to Measure Vertical Jump

As a basketball player, your vertical jump can be a very important part of your game. Your ability to grab rebounds, block shots, rise up for jump shots and throw the ball down with a thunderous dunk all depend on your leaping ability. Have you ever measured how high you can bounce?

The vertical jump is one of the key measurements taken to evaluate the athleticism of a player. It’s not just used in basketball but in many other sports such as American football. When teams are evaluating players before a draft, you will often see them checking their ability to get up in the air using a vertical jump tester. It’s a long pole with little blocks on it. The player will spring up and hit the highest block they can reach and that gives the measurement.

If you have ever wanted to check your vertical and thought, I can’t afford or don’t have access to one of those cool jump testers. No worries, we will give you some easy steps to record your own hops.

Why Measure your Vertical Jump

There are a few different reasons that you may want to see how high you can get off the ground. You may just be curious about your own vertical jump height and how it compares to others.

Probably the most important reason to record it, is that you may be training and trying to increase your athletic abilities, one of which is your vertical jump. Whether you are just all-around training or you are trying specifically to increase your leaping ability, be sure you record the measurements often to see your progression in real-time.

For anyone who has trained extensively, it’s no secret that seeing improvement is one of the greatest motivators you can utilize to continue your quest towards a goal. By taking measurements we can see that progression and it lets us know that what we are doing is making a difference. It gives us the encouragement to keep going.

If your goal is to be able to dunk a basketball, then you probably have a specific vertical height in mind. Tracking your vertical will show you where you currently measure up and if your training program is working. While it is great to measure and record your progress, be careful that you don’t do it too frequently. If you do it too often, you may not see a large enough improvement which could cause your confidence and motivation to take a hit.

Measuring your Vertical Jump

If you have access to a vertical jump tester or are able to purchase one, that’s great news! You will be able to take measurements with that. Testers are nice, but they can be quite expensive and it is nice to be able to check your progress at home. There’s a relatively simple way that you can do this and it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Let’s take a look.

What You’ll Need

  • Jump area – a good flat level surface, next to a clear wall, in an area with a high ceiling or no ceiling.
  • A tape measure or yardstick.
  • Chalk or masking tape – Chalk makes a great marker, but if you don’t want to mark up your wall, get masking tape and you can wrap it loosely around your middle finger with the adhesive to the outside.

6 Steps to Measure Your Vertical Jump

1. Stand with your side to the wall.

Find a good jump area. It should be a stable level hard surface. It should be in an area with a high ceiling or no ceiling at all and next to a clear plain wall. Stand next to the wall with your feet completely flat and your side next to the wall.

2. Mark your standing reach.

Cover your middle finger of the hand nearest the wall with chalk or place a small piece of masking tape on it. Keeping your feet flat on the ground and standing straight up, reach as high as you can and touch the wall with your fingertips, leaving a chalk mark or the piece of tape that was on your middle finger.

3. Mark your jumping reach.

In the same way that you did in step 2, cover your finger with chalk or the masking tape. Jump as high as you can and at the peak of your jump, touch the wall with the hand that has the chalk or masking tape. This should leave a chalk mark or the tape higher up on the wall. Try to do this so that the mark or tape ends up directly above the mark or tape that you left in step 2 for the standing reach.

4. Measure the difference.

Take your yardstick or measuring tape and measure the distance from the top of the standing reach mark made in step 2 to the top of the jumping reach mark made in step 3.

I prefer to use a yardstick since it is not flexible and you can simply hold the yardstick against the wall to make the measurement. You may be able to do this with a tape measure also but it may fall as you try to hold it up depending on the stiffness of your tape measure. In that case, a stool or step ladder may come in handy in order to hold one end of the tape against the wall at the jumping reach mark.

5. Repeat the Process.

Sometimes you don’t always get your best jump. I recommend repeating steps 1 through 4 a couple more times to make sure you get your best jump. Don’t repeat it too many times or you will begin to get tired and your attempts will not be as high.

6. Record your measurement

If you are trying to keep track of your progress. It is important to record your best attempt. Write down the best of the three in a journal or a spreadsheet so you can see your improvement and stay motivated.

Explanation of Measurement

Since we are measuring how high we can get off the ground, you may be wondering why we are using our fingers instead of our feet. It really does not matter. You could, in theory, use your feet but it will be very difficult. First of all, it would be hard to mark and measure it unless we were able to take a picture at the exact high point.

Second, when you jump, you probably do not keep your feet in a flat position, parallel to the ground as they are when you take off. They are usually pointing down towards the ground and that would not give you an accurate reading. So, measuring using our standing reach and our jumping reach is the easiest and most accurate way to do this.

Final Words

Hopefully using the method above helps you to accurately check and record your vertical leap. By doing this you can compare to others and keep track of your own abilities. This one simple measurement, you can vastly improve your basketball skills

Do you know any other easy ways to measure your jumping ability? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments.

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