Places where vertical jump measurements are used
Vertical jump measurements are used primarily in athletic circles both to measure performance and as something athletes brag about among themselves. The most common sports in which one's vertical jump is measured are track and field, basketball, football, and volleyball, but many sports measure their players' vertical jumping ability during physical examinations.
 How to measure vertical
The simplest method to measure an athlete's vertical jump is to get the athlete to reach up against a flat wall, with a flat surface under his/her feet (such as a gym floor or concrete) and mark off the highest point he/she can reach flat-footed (this is referred to as "standing reach"). Then, instruct the athlete to take several jumps from a standstill, marking off the highest point he/she can reach. Next, measure the distance between the two. This is the athlete's standing vertical jump.
The method described above is the most common and simplest way to measure one's vertical jump, but other more scientifically accurate methods have been devised. A pressure pad can be used to measure the time it takes for an athlete to complete a jump, and then using a kinematics equation (h = g*t2/8), the computer can calculate his/her vertical jump based on the time in the air. Using this method, an athlete can "cheat" by pulling his/her knees up to extend hangtime.
A second, more efficient and correct method is to use an infrared laser placed at ground level. When an athlete jumps and breaks the plane of the laser with his/her hand, the height at which this occurs is measured.
Devices based on United States Patent 5031903, "A vertical jump testing device comprising a plurality of vertically arranged measuring elements each pivotally mounted..." are also common. These devices are used at the highest levels of collegiate and professional performance testing. They are comprised of several (roughly 70) 14-inch prongs placed 0.5 inches apart vertically. An athlete will then leap vertically (no running start or step) and make contact with the retractable prongs to mark their leaping ability. This device is used each year at the NFL scouting combine.
 Vertical jump as an assessment
The vertical jump is a commonly used metric used in testing athleticism, especially in sports like basketball and football. A vertical jump of over 50 inches is considered extremely rare.
 Common misconceptions about vertical jump
The most common misconception about vertical jump is that the measurement displays the athlete's ability to elevate off the ground from a run-up, contrary to from a standstill. The effect of this misconception is that many athletes will grossly inflate their vertical jumps. Also, athletes have learned to "cheat" the existing systems. The vertec can be cheated by not reaching as high on the initial measurement commonly referred to as "shrugging your shoulders". Jump pads can be cheated by lifting your knees, or even hanging on to them until the last moment. Since jump pads rely on hangtime, they are easily cheated.
Another misconception is that increasing your vertical jump requires several hours of training, almost everyday of the week. This is actually quite the opposite of the truth. According to the Vertical Jump Resource, training for more than one hour and more than 5 days per week can actually be detrimental to your jumping ability. The recommended exercise time is set at a maximum of 1 hour due to the fact that your body has used most of its glucose energy stores by that point. After this time, your body will begin to use other sources like fat, and probably even muscle. If you can, try to spread your workouts out during the week. Take one day off between workouts to allow for maximum recovery. Also, your training cycles should last a maximum of 16 weeks with a 1 week break before the next one begins. Most athletes find that their vertical jumps actually improve the most during that one week rest period. In conclusion, make sure you get enough rest after each workout and between each training cycle.
- ^ Vertical Jump Resource Exercise Database
Vertical Jump Resource Exercise Database
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