Photo By: Chad Cooper
Using jumping drills for basketball is a great way to improve overall athleticism as well as vertical jump ability. Whether you are looking to sky high for a rebound or go up for a dunk in traffic, jumping is one of the most valuable athletic traits a player can have on the basketball court.
You may already know the value of plyometric training, and that is because it works. The effectiveness of plyos has been proven in many studies. One such study was done by Goran Markovic. Improvements of 4.7 to 8.7% can be seen through short-term vertical jump training.
Here are 5 great plyometric jumping drills for basketball:
This is one of the most basic plyos around. The athlete simply squats down and then jumps straight up in the air for height. They can be done with no added weight or with dumbbells or a barbell. Just start with no or light weight until you get experience.
Box jumps are simply when an athlete jumps up onto a box or some other large sturdy object. Start with a low height when you first attempt these until you are confident with the technique. You can slowly use a higher box as you improve. The video below shows the athlete jumping off the box after each jump, but you can gently step off to take unnecessary stress off of your lower body.
Depth jumps take advantage of the muscle’s stretch-reflex ability. You step off of a short box or other object into a squatting position and quickly explode up in the air. Because of the stretch-reflex caused by stepping off a box, you can get good height on these. These are a demanding exercise and beginners should use a short height.
These are just like regular box jumps, except the athlete jumps to the side instead of forward. Why would you work on jumping sideways? In basketball game situations, you could be jumping from any and all angles, so you’ll want to be strong and powerful in all directions. This also prevents muscular imbalances.
Ski jumps are another lateral plyometric, but are generally done on one leg. These can be done for distance or for height, by jumping side-to-side and landing on the opposite leg. The video below demonstrates an easy jump, but they should be done in an explosive manner. This is for advanced athletes as an explosive jump that is landed on one leg is very difficult and challenging to the body. It is not meant for physically weak athletes.
Because jump training can be so demanding on the body, it’s smart to be conservative. Advanced plyos should only be done with experienced athletes who have good general strength levels in lifts such as the squat. When you insert these drills into our program, you will want to keep the repetitions low for a couple reasons. For one, when doing explosive training, you want to put maximum effort into each rep to train the body to recruit more muscle fibers. You also want to keep reps low because basketball players get so much running and jumping during the course of a regular practice. You don’t want to put extra stress on their lower body.
You can also add variations to all of these exercises, such as:
You can get creative with these and try different variations as long as you are smart and safe. For instance, you want to make sure your body is capable of doing all the single leg jumps. Remember that minor changes in height or added resistance can go a long way in jump training. It’s best to be conservative when trying any new exercise or variation.
Make sure to change your program every 3-6 weeks to avoid stagnation and keep progressing. Jump training should be done when the athlete is fresh, such as at the start of a practice or lifting session, just after a dynamic warm-up.
These types of training are very specific to basketball and have a great transfer to the court. While perimeter and post players may benefit most from a vertical jump program, all basketball players can benefit from leaping higher and getting more short-area explosiveness.
If you are looking for a set program designed for basketball players, you can see my review of the Jump Manual here. The Jump Manual, designed by Jacob Hiller, is a complete vertical jump training program that has had many success stories of athletes making massive improvements in their vertical in a short time period. Many of the exercises above and some variations are included in the program.
Plyometric jumping drills for basketball are a great way to improve overall athleticism and vertical leaping ability. They should be a staple of any experienced athletes training program.