Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Sports Conditioning and other Exercise topics.
Let's see...Tennis, Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Racquetball, Volleyball, Track, Wrestling, Squash...these all have a common theme in that one has to utilize some sort of 'jump' movement to excel at them. Jumping is an essential part of so many sports, so let's learn how to do it a little better.
To get good at jumping, start from the basics which would technically be an Explosive Squat. Why? Well, jumping really is a squat with power used to push you up with your lower body, moving you from the ground to above it, and upon landing again going into that squat. It is the utilization of the muscles in your lower body to propel you above where gravity is pushing you. So, for starters go read My Blog and learn how to execute a proper squat.
(Go read it... ... ... ... ... ah, you read it. Let's continue.)
To practice jumping, begin by jumping in place from a squat, exploding from your lower body to push you up, then (most importantly) landing in a squat. When you land again in a squat you prevent intense impact on the joints of your lower body, especially your knees. Once you get comfortable with that, begin jumping onto steps or platforms, making sure that you are clear of others. Once you become comfortable jumping up, also jump down, still landing in a squat. Quickly you will notice much more explosive strength in your legs allowing you to: jump higher, get lift quicker, sprint faster, accelerate quicker and perform better in sports.
Lastly, some people will say that working on jumping vertically will decrease your ability to sprint faster. That is just stupid, because the beginning of a sprint is a forward jump (but since your leaning over, it's actually vertical). How about this - to put that silly rumor to rest, try it on yourself. Go sprint and time yourself today, then practice jumping vertically for 3-4 weeks, and then sprint again. If your time doesn't improve, then you are a liar because you did not practice jumping for those 3-4 weeks.