How good are you jumping?

Jumping height is obviously a key factor in team sports like basketball and volleyball when reaching a greater height opens more opportunities in attacking or defending. Therefore, sports professionals such as strength and conditioning coaches are highly interested in understanding and determining physical characteristics of ballistic movements like jumping.

“Ballistic movements can be defined as the ability to accelerate a mass (i.e. body mass) as much as possible to reach the highest velocity in the shortest time.” (Morin & Samozino (2018) Biomechanics of Training and Testing)

Accelerating something, from Newton’s law of motion, needs to apply an external force and to produce mechanical work on its center of mass. This mechanical energy first and foremost needs to be produced by the athlete‘s physical capabilities and then effectively be transferred to the center of mass by technical abilities!

From a movement perspective, jumping consists of three phases. The acceleration, the flying and the landing phase. This separation leads to two targets in jump training. Generating a high impulse for great air times and developing the ability to absorb the resulting energy in a harmless way when landing. In other words, boost performance and reduce injury risk.

As the vertical jump is the most popular test for ballistic lower limb power, doing performance analyses the right way is something every S&C coach should have interest in. Equally important than dealing properly with performance diagnostics is monitoring the quantity and quality of jumping in sports like Volleyball or Basketball. Knowledge about movement kinematics, proper measurement and data analysis will increase performance development and reduce overuse and injury risk dramatically!

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Dr. Matt Jordan (CAN)

David Gil, BS, MA (US), 

Dr. Kerry MacDonald (CAN)

(More information in the PDF)

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