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Elevate Your Game - Jump Mechanics

As an athlete, you need to pay attention to ALL aspects of your game. Fundamental athletic skill technique (running, jumping, agility, coordination) is one critical component often overlooked in training. Proper technique not only helps an athlete to perform better, but also helps reduce the risk of injury. Proper form for all body movements should be the principal focus of sport training. These movement patterns carry over into many of the more complex, sport-specific skills. JUMPING is fundamental to explosive movement & power.


  • Slightly misaligned foot or knee position can significantly affect direction of jump.

  • Lack of flexion or a shallow sit back limits explosion and reduces jump height.

  • Too deep of a squat shifts weight, creating an imbalance at takeoff resulting in a fall.

  • Poor timing can lead to in-air collision, missed balls, faulty landing, &/or injury.

Aside from executing a jump with proper form and technique, there are other factors that can impact performance and injury risk. The athlete’s state of physiological development can impair or enhance alignment and power generation. Equipment like footwear or integrity of the playing surface affects ground reaction forces for power development. Weakness, stiffness, limited flexibility, and previous injury history may alter movement patterns and body mechanics creating inefficient function.


To achieve optimal power, explosion and vertical height your body must be prepared for the forces it will endure. A healthy body, proper equipment, focus, proper technique, and motivation help drive performance. Train to improve performance by considering these factors:

  • Fitness Level: mobility, stability, flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and endurance.

  • Fundamental Movements: squat, lunge, single leg balance, and rotary stability.

  • Fundamental Athletic Skills: agility, balance, coordination, speed, strength, and power.

  • Cognitive Athletic Skills: reaction, timing, eye-hand coordination, kinesthetic awareness, motor-learning & predictive movement.



Imagine trying to jump from a surface covered in marbles. You wouldn’t get far because there is nothing stable from which to push. You need a stable surface to plant your feet and generate energy through tension in your muscles:

Man demonstrating jump preparation
Plant & Load

Note the surface from which you will jump & adjust accordingly (soft, hard, slippery).

  • Proper fitting footwear in good condition with adequate grip is important.

  • Spread your toes such as standing barefoot in the sand.

  • Slightly rotate your feet outward like screwing them into the ground.

  • Tighten up to create tension in your feet, legs and gluteal muscles.

Man demonstrating proper jump alignment
Load Jump Flexion


Proper alignment of your hips,

knees & feet is imperative to maximize energy development and reduce the risk for injury. Keep your knees out!

  • As you sit back to load, your knees should be aligned over your 2nd & 3rd toes.

  • As you absorb energy and create tension make sure your knees do not cave in.

  • Knee alignment is the same for loading position before takeoff and landing position.

Man demonstrating jump technique
Vertical Takeoff


Jump preparation requires energy absorption from the ground into the body which happens by pushing or loading from the ground through joint FLEXION:

  • Hinge at the hips to sit back with chest slightly forward.

  • Knees bent about half way between standing & sitting.

  • Ankles bent as you push through your feet.

  • Arms reaching behind you.


Vertical takeoff occurs when you release the tension in your muscles and recoil your joints upward and forward into EXTENSION:

Man demonstrating jump technique
Flying High
  • Squeeze the glutes to thrust the hips forward & straighten them.

  • Straighten the knees while lifting your chest to make your body long & tall.

  • Push through your feet to point your toes & lift your heels.

  • Arms swing forward and thrust upward overhead to lift torso.


While in the air you can move your body to perform other skills such as an arm swing or kick. TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

  • Engage your deep core muscles to stabilize your spine & pelvis while generating power from within.

    • Movement should be precise, efficient and quick to complete while still airborne.

  • Body alignment as you come down to land is key to avoid injury – chest is over pelvis, hips, knees & feet are aligned.

Man demonstrating jump landing technique
Cloud Landing


Your return to earth is the most important jump component for injury prevention and

to prepare for the next move. FLEXION at your landing is the loading for your next flight – should be the same

depth as takeoff:

  • Land feet first on your toes with your weight slightly forward.

  • Land as quietly as possible – no noise and no jarring up your body.

  • Ankles bend as your weight comes down through your feet.

  • Knees bend to drop your pelvis while remaining apart over the toes. (No Caving In!)

  • Hinge at the hips to sit back bringing the chest slightly forward. Arms drop straight down toward the ground.


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