If you’re an athlete who’s looking to get better or compete with others, knowing how to measure vertical jump is one of the basic skill assessment tools you can use.
Unlike many years ago when athlete testing wasn’t such a big deal and things were more on playing ability, today competition is so tight that an extra edge on one skill can make the difference between making a team or getting to the next level.
How to Measure Vertical Jump at Home
This is the easiest way to see how high your can jump because you don’t need any special equipment and can do it at home, in school or where you workout.
- Find a wall that’s high enough where you can’t reach the ceiling at your peak jump.
- Stand beside the wall with your dominant side near the it.
- Apply chalk on your fingers or something that can leave a temporary mark on the wall when you touch it.
- Reach straight up with your dominant hand and touch the wall. This will leave a mark at the highest point your hand can reach. This will be the low point.
- Position yourself beside the wall again, but this time prepared to jump.
- When you’re ready, jump as high as you can and at the top of your leap, touch the wall as high as you can. The mark made will be the high point.
- Using a measuring tape, measure the distance between the low point and the high point. This distance is your vertical jump.
Note that the low point is also what coaches will call your standing reach.
And your jump height is the distance between the highest point you can reach at the top of your jump and your standing reach.
Other equipment known to be used for testing vertical
If you’re going to get assessed by a professional vertical jump tester who will compare your scores to other competitors or athletes knowing what type of testing equipment being used on the actual day of the test itself is important.
The method described above by far the simplest to do and use but highly likely not the one testers will use if they have the means to purchase equipment.
Here are some common testing equipment:
1. Vertec Vertical Jump device
Among the most common and is how the NBA, NFL and other professional organizations measure vertical. The Vertec device is a long, high pole that has thin bars attached at the top part. When touch the bars rotate away.
To measure jumping ability, the athlete stands under the thin bars jumps and taps away as many bars as they can. The number of bars will allow assessors to measure the height of the jump.
2. Vertical Jump Mat
The jump mat is an electronic device that’s around 2 feet by 2 feet in size. The athlete steps on the mat then jumps up.
The mat uses science to get compute the height of the jump. It uses a formula that’s based on the time of the jump (how long the athlete was in the air).
Once the jump time is recorded, the machine’s internal calculator computes the jump height.
3. Infrared Laser
The most accurate and high-tech of all is by use of infrared laser. In this method a laser range calculator is placed at ground level and is able to automatically calculate the height of the athlete’s jump when their hand breaks the plane of the laser beam.
Things to Remember Before Taking the Test
If you’re going in for a combine or something that could make a difference between getting into a program or scholarship taking extra notes and studying the process can make a big difference.
- Don’t go in ‘cold’. Be sure to warm up before taking your actual jump. Also, make one or two warm-up jumps before doing the actual test.
- Know what device they’ll be using for the test and have at least a few practice sessions with that type of equipment. For example, devices like the Vertec where you need to tap the bars can decrease your score by up to 2 inches if you don’t do it right since you may not tap at the height of your jump.
- Know how many jumps they’ll let your make. Some give you 2 jumps, others 3 and some up to 5.
- Know what kinds of jumping you’ll be doing. Will they allow you a one step jump, two step jump, running jump or a no step jump. This will allow you to practice that style.
- Wear light clothing and use lightweight shoes.
- Practice your jump technique. This is often overlooked but can make a big difference.
- Don’t forget to stretch before the jump, specially your hip flexors.
More In-Depth Information
If you’re serious about jumping higher the tips above will give us about maybe 2 or so extra inches in height.
A better way though, is to invest your time in a jump training program like the Jump Manual program or the Vert Shock Training System, since these are permanent skill improvements and not ‘hacks’ but permanent jump improvements.
We’ve seen athletes gain over 10 inches in their vertical after using either of the two.
The main difference between them is that Vert Shock does not use weight lifting and is plyometric based. Whereas the Jump Manual uses weights, plyometrics, stretching and nutrition to get results.