How To Measure a Vertical Jump

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If vertical jumping is an important part of any game or sport you play, then in order to improve your jumping you need to know where you are starting from. After all, how can you chart your progress in terms of jumping higher if you do not know how high you can jump now?

To obtain that figure you need to be able to measure your current vertical jump’s maximum height, and thereafter be able to measure it again to compare it, with the hope that the new height is higher than the original.

In this article, we will take a look at some ways you can measure your vertical jump, from the tried and tested way, which is very basic, to some others which rely on the latest technology.

Why We Measure Different Types of Jump

Measuring a vertical jump isn't quite as simple as a high jump or a long jump where the measurement is simply the height of the bar or the spot where the dislodged sand is closest to the take-off board.

In the case of long and high jumping, the measurement of a jump is the crux of how the athletes compete. In other words, at the Olympic Games, the gold medal winner is the one whose jump measures the highest or the longest depending on the specific discipline.

With vertical jumping not being a sport in its own right, the measurement has much more of an impact on athletes drive to improve their jumping to help them compete in other sports. There are lots of ways this improvement can be achieved, and for vertical jumping one of the best  is 'The Jump Manual.' This program has a host of coaching videos, exercises, tips, and advice to help anyone improve their vertical jump.

How to Measure a Vertical Jump

Of the ways that can be used to measure a vertical jump, unless you are prepared to go and buy special equipment, there is actually only one true way to do it, so we will cover that first.

You will need some items depending on whether you are doing this yourself or with the help of someone else, and we strongly suggest that for accuracy you get someone to help you. The items you need are a ladder, masking tape, a measuring tape, and either an ink pad or some chalk. You will also need a wall or better still, you could use the backboard of a basketball net.

The next step is to stand against the wall and then stretch up as high as you can. Note where you can reach to and then using masking tape cover this area and around 3 to 4 feet above it. This is to prevent you from marking the wall at the next stage.

If doing this yourself, you want to mark the tip of your middle finger with enough ink or chalk that it can make a mark on the masking tape.  Now, standing next to the wall, stretch up again as far as you can and when you can stretch no further, dab your middle finger on the wall so that it leaves a mark on the masking tape.

Re-mark your middle finger and then start to make vertical jumps from a standing position. Once you feel you are jumping as high you can, at the top of your jump, stretch up as far you can and dab your middle finger on the wall again. If you have someone helping you, instead of marking your finger, they can stand on the ladder and mark the point where it reaches the highest point.

Whether you mark yourself or have someone help you, you will now have two marks. The lower one of the two is called your 'Standing Reach' and the one higher up is called your 'Vertical Jump Reach.'

Vertical Jump Versus Vertical Reach

It is at this point a lot of people assume that the 'Vertical Jump Reach' is the measurement of their vertical jump but it is not. If you think about it, if that was the case, those who are tall would always appear to have the best vertical jump when in fact there will be many who are much shorter than those who can actually jump higher vertically.

Put it this way, the fact that you can jump and reach a point higher than someone else does not mean you can jump vertically higher than them. For this reason, the calculation of your vertical jump is the difference between the two heights you have marked. So, we subtract the ‘Standing Reach’ from the ‘Vertical Jump Reach’ to give you your vertical jump measurement.

This means this measurement is now done on a level playing field in terms of comparing individuals. An example would be a male at 6 ft. 6 inches whose vertical jump is measured at 20 inches which is average, and someone else at 5 ft. 11 inches who can jump 26 inches, which is very good.

Regardless of your height, if you want to move your vertical jump from average to good, or good to very good, or even from very good to excellent, you need to undertake a workout program. One of the most popular is 'The Jump Manual,' which provides training videos, tips, and technique hacks, to ensure you make the improvements you desire.

High-Tech Ways of Measuring Vertical Jump

Here are a couple of the high-tech methods of measuring vertical jump.

Force plates

These look like doormats and you basically stand on them and jump. The sensors inside measure the downward forces and the time you are in the air. They then calculate what the vertical jump would be, based on that data.

Vertecs

These are poles with several horizontal vanes on them which rotate. The idea is that the person first stretches up and moves the vanes. This first height is then noted. They then jump from a standing start and moves the vanes at the top of their jump. The difference provides the vertical jump measurement.

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