Slam dunking like the NBA legends is often a pipe dream for those of us who have been blessed with short legs. However, there are no rules to say you can’t give it a real Aussie try. After all, isn’t it better to have tried than not at all?
Of course it helps if you have legs to your armpits and athletic ability on your side, but knowing the technique, having the right sort of shoes, flexibility and a basketball you can grip properly may just help you achieve maximum air time.
You better shape up
Dunking requires a premium level of physical fitness. Start off with building strength in your legs by doing squats and lunges. Once you have the technique correct, gradually start adding weights and incorporate the leg press at the gym.
Work on your bounce
It’s time to power up using exercises combining strength and speed. Box jumps, burpees, squat jumps, hopping and skipping will add to your vertical wattage.
Jump! Jump! Jump!
Maximum height is usually achieved when leaping from one foot and stretching up with one hand. Start by doing a series of drills up and down the basketball court, by simply jumping from one foot and extending the opposite hand. When you have this down pat, add the ball. It doesn’t matter if you are only jumping a few inches off the ground at this stage, you are simply working on getting the foot-hand coordination correct.
When ready, ditch the ball and just aim to touch the outer rim of the hoop. Don’t try to swing from the ring. Concentrate on simple remaining upright when you land to avoid injury.
Start off small
Smaller balls are easier to slam dunk than using a competition size basketball. Try a small rubber ball the size of your palm or a mini basketball until you get into the swing of things.
Don’t fight the fatigue
Learning to slam dunk can be tiring and frustrating. Don’t expect to be able to dunk like the pros in a day. If you feel your legs tiring, stop and have a rest. Tired legs will only result in injuries and slow down your dunking progression.