Basketball: Learn How to Slam Dunk

by Anthony Rodge

Let’s be real, if you play basketball, whether for fun as a past time activity or are aspiring to be a pro player, learning how to slam dunk is the best thing that you can do out there on the court. Slam dunking may not be the only thing about basketball you need to perfect, but it sure can earn you more points and satisfaction than every other skill. If you want to know how to slam dunk, first you have to get rid of the notion that only tall people can dunk. Nate Robinson is only 5 ft 9 in and is one of the most successful players in NBA history. Spud Webb is even shorter – only 5 ft 7 inches, yet he can dunk amazingly well. What is preventing you from being an amazing dunker?

Elton Brand, number 42 of the Dallas Mavericks performing a two-handed dunk.

Elton Brand number 42 of the Dallas Mavericks performing a two-handed dunk.

First, improve your vertical jump

Increasing your vertical jump is not easy, but it is possible. Since you are already a basketball player, I can assume that you have worked on your fitness levels, your stamina is good and you already know all the rules of the game. To increase your vertical jump, you will need to do specific exercises that target the ‘exploding’ muscles on your thighs, muscles that aid your jump on your lower back and core muscles. Some of the most effective workouts you can use to increase your vertical jump are jumping rope, squats, weight training targeting the calves and most importantly, plyometric training.

Learn the dunk: One-handed dunk and two-handed dunk

Once you achieve your target in the vertical jump, the next step will be to perfect the actual dunk. Your game won’t be worth a thing unless you grasp the dynamics of dunking. To perform a dunk, you must first know that there are two types of dunks: a one-handed dunk and a two-handed dunk. I would advise you that you start with a one-handed dunk and once you perfect it and get used to the rim, you can try dunking with both hands.

Your dunk should be natural, you cannot force it. Perfecting the dunk takes time, but you should first know the basic steps. To dunk with one hand, focus on practicing with your primary hand and try a lay-up dunk first. This involves starting your dunk at about 4 – 5 feet away from the bottom of the rim then launch your left or right foot (left if you are right-handed and right if you are left-handed) to make the dunk. Remember that the other hand you are not dunking with provides the balance you need while in the air.

Slam dunk Problem-solving

If the ball keeps bouncing off the rim, you are not jumping high enough or you are either releasing the ball too soon or too late. Concentrate on getting the ball as high up as possible and when you put it in the basket, your fingers should brush off the rim.

Remember that you can never be a good dunker if you are not a good basketball player. Do not take shortcuts. Instead, practice perfecting your dribbling, layups and general workouts before moving on to dunking.