Single Leg Vertical Jump

Single leg vertical jumping is a very useful thing. I know many basketball players that have a great vertical of two feet but not anywhere close while jumping of one foot. Hopefully I don’t have to explain how important an explosion and elevation of one foot is, when it come to gametime. I will take Lebron James as an example, as the majority of his dunks are of one foot while driving towards the basket. Since you are running it is faster to take of one foot rather than square up and jump off two feet. 

Every type of jump has its advantages though. Jumping off two feet is more effective for rebounding because you will ussualy box out and go for the rebound straight up. Instead of choosing one or the other become good at both. The reason I am talking about it is because I have had the question come up lately and today another player and friend of mine asked me this:

“Is there a way to improve my one foot jumping to equal it to my two foot jump? I would like to have the ability to elevate from one foot of the drive!”

Now, this player has a very good vertical of two feet but not nearly as close that of one foot. So whats the catch? Well, here are some things that will explain and help you improve you one foot vertical:

Lebron James

One leg, not two

- Mobility and Flexibility: If you have really tight hip flexors then it is going to be hard for you to jump period but it will be even harder to jump of one leg. If you cannot get into optimal positions for jumping then you will ot get the most out of your jump. The hip flexors actually pull you down when you jump, if they are too tight. This ties into what I was talking about in the 5 training mistakes of ball playersFoam roll and stretch your hip flexors as much as possible.

- Single Leg Strength Training. Many players have hip instability problems and a weak posterior chain (backside), so their knee may buckle inwards (valgus), whcih means they have an energy leak that will prevent them from jumping high, not to mention a higher risk of a knee injury. Does it sound like you?  Single leg training develops single leg strength, stability, proprioception and better force production of one leg.

Not as fun as an alley oop but it gets the job done

- Single Leg Jumping. Players don’t really think about rate of force development and if they do and they are two legged jumpers then guess how they are going to be jumping? You guessed it - of two legs! I see it all the time, players tell me that they want to improve their vertical of one leg and I watch them while doing plyo’s and in drill and they do the majority of jumping of two legs. When doing plyo’s, include single leg box jumps, bounding, power skipping, single leg hops (multi-directional), single leg triple jumps, etc.

After all these things there is one more thing that is extremely important, doing specific jumping with the ball when you are doing drills and practicing. Your body has to develop the co-ordination between muscles and get good at that motor pattern. You body has to get effcient at jumping of one foot as it has continuously been going of two and it is just not as good at jumping of one.  

Those are just some tips that you can implement and get better at jumping of one foot. Let me know how you do and leave a comment. I’m looking for some people to get dumked on, of one foot!


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