How To Dunk

Michael Jordan

The slam dunk is one of the greatest displays of athletic power in sports.

The dunk is an artistic display of speed, flexibility, power, and explosiveness.

It is every basketball player’s dream to be able to dunk…

Nothing gets a crowd crazy and electrified like a good-ol dunk during a basketball game, whether it’s a pickup game or the NBA finals.

How To Dunk A Basketball In 4 Simple Steps.

1. Increase your vertical leap

The first thing you need to do if you want to dunk is to increase your vertical leap.

You can do this by doing exercises that make you jump higher and/or by following a great vertical jump program like the Jump Manual.

As a rule of thumb, you want to be able to get your whole hand above the rim in order to dunk.

Every athlete varies in height and limb length, so you need to figure out how many inches you need to add to your vertical before you can get your whole hand above the rim.

2. Improve your flexibility

This goes hand-in-hand with increasing your vertical jump.

If you increase muscle flexibility and elasticity, you will be able to jump higher.

In fact, if you currently don’t have good flexibility, you increase your vertical jump by simply stretching more.

Stretching also improves the range of motion of your joints, helping you prevent injuries.

Stretch your whole body, but pay special emphasis on stretching your lower back, hips, quadricep muscles (thighs), hamstrings, and calves.

Check out these great tutorials on how to stretch the muscles mentioned above:

3. Improve your grip strength

Increasing your grip strength will do wonders for your dunking ability, especially if you can’t touch your whole hand above the rim when you jump.

hand gripper

hand gripper

The simplest (and cheapest) way to increase your grip strength is to squeeze a WET towel.

Yup, just get the towel wet and squeeze away!

You can also improve your grip strength by buying hand grippers

4. Master the mechanics of dunking

A high vertical jump is not enough when it comes to dunking.

I’m sure you know many athletes who can jump really high but cannot dunk very well, often missing most of their dunks.

On the other hand, there are many athletes who can barely get their hands above the rim but can consistently dunk the ball successfully.

This is because they have mastered the mechanics of dunking.

Before we get to the mechanics, let’s discuss the 2 ways of dunking.

  • Single Leg Takeoff
  • Double Leg Takeoff

Most dunkers can dunk using both takeoffs, but they always have a preference.

For example, Michael Jordan and LeBron James are more single leg takeoff dunkers while Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson are more of double leg takeoff dunkers.

Dunk Mechanics

a) Single Leg Takeoff

  • Speed dribble towards the basket, then take the allowed 2 steps while palming the ball in your dunking hand.
  • Jump as high as you can after your second step, extend your arm towards the rim and stuff the ball through the net
  • Make sure you land safely by landing softly on your feet.
  • Run back for defense! (unless you pull of a 360 between-the-leg dunk whereby your coach will run on the court and celebrate with you)

b) Double Leg Takeoff

  • Speed dribble toward the basket and jump-stop (plant both feet on the ground) about 1 foot away from the rim.
  • Grip the ball with both hands and extend your arms towards the basket, jumping as high as you can.
  • Stuff the ball through the net with both hands.
  • Make sure you land safely by landing softly on your feet.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Practice on an adjustable height basket and start on a lower hoop and gradually increase height.
  2. Dunk a smaller ball first and slowly progress to the basketball as you become more proficient at dunking e.g. tennis ball – > volleyball -> basketball
  3. Practice dunking with one hand first. When you get it down, practice dunking with two hands.
  4. Watch your favorite NBA players dunk and try to notice how they do it ; how do they approach the rim? how far out to they begin their jump? Noticing these details will help you dunk better.
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360 Responses to “How To Dunk”

  1. Colton Says:

    Hey im 16 and 6’3 I can dunk with two-hands or one doesn’t matter. But I want to increase my vertical to where I can dunk like its nothing. Right now I miss my dunks sometimes and its embarrassing so any tips are appreciated.

    Reply

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