What Are Hops in Basketball?

Basketball, as with every popular sport, has a lot of slang or lingo. Even if you know the surface words, it’s easy to get lost in all of the jargon. That is why you may be confused when you hear the word “hops.” However, it’s pretty simple to understand.

This guide will take a look at “hops” in order to better explain what it means in a basketball sense. That will shed some more light on the sport, give you a better understanding of its phrasing, and show why some words arise in the way that they do.

The Meaning of Hops

As you might be able to tell from the term, hops has to do with jumping. More specifically, someone who can jump extremely well. If a person can dunk with ease, other players or fans may describe them as having hops. You can also say it about people with high verticals.

If you’re using it in a sentence, you might say “that guy has great hops” or “his hops are out of this world.” It’s a noun that specifically refers to one’s ability to get high into the air, or the ability to jump up extremely quickly.

At this point in time, nobody is sure where the term originated. Even so, it has become a staple of modern basketball vernacular. You’ll hear it at every level of play. Similar terms are “bounce” and “vert.”

The Best Jumpers In Today’s League

Of course, every NBA player has some degree of hops. Not all of them can jump 40 inches, but they do have the ability to dunk and play above the rim. 

Even players you might not expect to have hops can still get high enough to shoot a jump shot over a tall defender.

Currently, the best jumping players in the league are Zion Williamson, Derrick Jones Jr., Zach LaVine, Dennis Smith Jr., and Keon Johson. Their verticals are 45 inches, 46 inches, 46 inches, 48 inches, and 48 inches respectively.

Those are all extremely impressive. In fact, Smith Jr. and Johson have some of the highest verticals ever recorded. There’s no doubt that, with the increased athleticism, that number will only go up with time.

How to Improve Your Hops

While increasing your hops and strengthening your vertical might seem like a lofty goal, anyone can get better in that area if they set their mind to it. It takes a lot of hard work, as well as dedication, but it is doable.

If you want to improve your hops, you first need to work on strengthening your legs. There are plenty of great lower body workouts on the market. Choose the style and routine that works for you. Make sure it’s fun as well.

You also need to practice your jumping itself. Playing basketball is a great way to increase your overall fitness and athleticism, while going over different jumping drills will help the speed at which you get into the air. Certain vertical jump programs can also give you a leg up in that area too.

Final Words

Hops may sound foreign if you aren’t familiar with the term, but it’s merely a slang word that describes how well someone can jump. It’s a fun word to say, and it’s a quick way to describe a player without needing to go into great detail.

It is far from the only basketball slang term out there, but it’s one that comes up quite a lot. If you want to learn more about the game, or fit in with other fans/players, don’t be afraid to research other common slang phrases to increase your basketball vocabulary.

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