It is perhaps the most beautifully poetic sight in all of the sports – the man lifts off from the top of the keyhole, soaring high into the air as he defies gravity. His hand cups the basketball and arcs it high above the rim, only to bring it powering down and into the waiting basket. Poetry in motion, indeed. How many times have you thrilled at the sight of your favorite NBA star making the ultimate on-court statement and wished that you had the skill to do so yourself.
Well, the good news is that you can. Whether it’s the one-handed dunk, the two-handed slam, or even the reverse dunk, you can train yourself to perform the feat on the court. You’ve just got to build yourself up to it.
The dunk is quite simply when the player jumps so that his arms are above the level of the ring and throws the ball down through the basket.
The shot is still worth two points, but it can seriously affect the moral of an opposing team, while at the same time stimulating the attacking team. On the other hand a missed dunk does just the opposite, as well as giving away a vital two points.
In order to dunk, you must be able to jump to a sufficient height that your hand is over the height of the ring, which is set at ten feet or three meters. Here’s how to build up your jumping height:
(1) Go to the gym and start on a plyometric weight training program. Plyometrics is where you simulate sports movements with additional weight resistance. Concentrate on simulating jumping movements (explosive motions) with weights in your hands.
(2) Set yourself a regular program of jumping exercises in front of the basketball hoop. Start by jumping to touch the net with a running jump, working in simultaneous sets of 10 jumps. Then set yourself the goal of touching the backboard. Once you can do this comfortably set your sights on the rim. Be patient and work consistently and you will see progress in this area.
(3) Begin a program of wind sprints. Mark out a track and then sprint for 50 meters, walk ten continuously for five sets.
(4) Once you can touch the ring attempt to bunk small objects, like table tennis or golf balls. Then slowly work your way up until you are dunking slightly larger balls, like volleyball, soccer balls, and finally a basketball.
(5) Jump rope at least three times per week to build up your aerobic fitness level.
Now that you have the height side of it under control you need to concentrate on the mechanics of the dunk. Practice palming the ball, as this will make it less likely that you will lose control of it in the air. Once you are comfortable with this, practice the move by dribbling toward the basket as if you were on a fast break, then take the allowed two steps while at the same time palming the ball in your dunking hand. Liftoff after your second step and jump as high as you can. Now extend your arm to full elevation and slam the ball down through the basket.
Work consistently at the above program and you will end up being a dunker. If you have access to an adjustable height basket, lower it so that you can master the mechanics and feel of the dunk before you perfect the 10-foot height. Then slowly bring the height up until you are slamming the ball through at regulation height. Happy dunking!