How to Dunk a Basketball

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Our first advice is to forget about dunking and learn the fundamentals of basketball! Learn proper shooting form, footwork, moving without the ball, defense, and so on. This will help you become a better player.

Now that we've given you our honest opinion, you still probably want to know how to dunk....

Dunking is a dramatic, crowd-pleasing offensive move. Many times, a rousing dunk can turn that mysterious factor, momentum, right around in your favor. Clearly, dunking is easier if you're tall and can palm the ball with one hand, but there have been relatively short players who couldn't palm the ball who worked hard enough to be able to dunk. If you are considering adding the dunk shot to your repertoire, follow these steps:

Step #1 - Practice dunking on a rim lowered to your current jumping ability.

This will allow you to get used to the feel of dunking right away. To prepare yourself for the real thing, the basket height should still require you to jump your highest in order to dunk. If it's too low, then you won't be building the muscles or the memory needed for dunking at the regulation-height hoop.

Step #2 - Be able to touch the rim with your wrist.

You will need to get at least that high to be able to snap the ball into the basket. If you're relatively short, then you have your work cut out for you. Developing a one-handed dunk requires less vertical ability than a two-handed dunk, and, for most players, jumping off of one foot from a running start makes it easier to jump high enough to dunk. There are many things that you can do to work on your vertical leap.

To increase your vertical leap, you should do a variety of exercises and follow a strategic work out plan. The workout should include plyometrics, strength training, and stretching.

Step #3 - Use small balls to begin with, and gradually increase the size of ball that you use as you develop your technique and coordination.

Start with a ping-pong ball, then a tennis ball, then a softball, then a volleyball, then a youth-sized basketball, and on up until you can dunk with a regulation size ball. If you can't palm the ball, then you will need to learn how to control the ball with two hands until the last minute extension for the dunk with one hand, or you will have to jump high enough to dunk two-handed.

Step #4 - Learn how to finish the dunk safely.

Dunking exposes you to some extra risk of injury. First of all, you can get low-bridged or get your legs tangled up with defenders near the hoop, causing you to fall awkwardly from a significant height. You can also throw yourself off balance by trying to hang on the rim and slipping off, resulting in awkward falls. If you are in heavy traffic on the dunk, then being able to grab and hang on the rim until the clutter beneath you clears is a safety technique. If you are in the clear on a dunk, then avoiding hanging on the rim at all is the recommended safety technique (It's also a technical foul to hang on the rim in that situation). Whatever the situation, you need to come down with control and balance. Ankle, knee, neck, and head injuries await those who fail to control their momentum after a dunk.

Remember, even though dunking is dramatic and exciting, it still counts only two points. If you can't dunk, it's not the end of the world. You can be an extremely effective scorer without ever dunking the ball. In fact, dunking has very little to do with proper shooting technique.

How to Improve Your Vertical Jump

If you want to improve your vertical jump, we highly recommend you follow a program that utlizes the "Pryamid of Development" -- that you see at most of the top Div I college programs.

This allows you to develop overall athleticm, to not only help you dunk, but also improve your defense, speed, balance, and effectiveness on the basketball court. And more importantly (in our opinion), the Pryamid of Development gives you the foundation and balanced muscle growth that reduces the risk of injury.

We highly recommend the Cody Roberts Athletic Development Program to improve your vertical jump, explosiveness and agility. It's very effective program that is designed the right way.


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Carter says:
12/29/2020 at 11:00:39 PM

So I have been recently able to consistently get high enough to touch/almost grab the rim. Recently have done calf raises and lots of plyometrics to further my ability. I'm around 5'11 and can reach somewhat near 8' standing. Don't know my exact vertical measurement, but figure its close to 30. Any tips to get that first dunk down? I am going to continue jumping daily to maintain the ability. Any tips or feedback/questions are greatly appreciated.


Nathanael says:
5/8/2020 at 9:52:27 AM

I’d say dropping some weight would help a lot. You’re not fat like you said but that’s a heavy from at 6’3 to get up there. Ideally lowering fat and not muscle but some muscle could go. Also proper jumping technique. 2 foot jumping is difficult so if you’re a 2 footer like me you’ll need to develop the right mechanics. Also core strength and upper back are important so you done lose you’re energy train when transitioning from horizontal to vertical


Warren says:
5/2/2020 at 8:16:06 PM

I am about 75”, 242 pounds, finger tip to finger tip about71 and one quarter inches, 56 years old, not fat, run 4 miles three times a week, do 1000 crunches, about 160 leg raises all the way up and then open legs at bottom, 160 rocky crunches holding 8 pound dumbells, rope stretches (20) each leg laying and hen each leg rope around foot and pull overhead with three sets counting to 200, 75 wall exercises with feet and back against wall raising top knee, 25 wall exercises same as above except top leg straight and slides up wall, 3 sets of 40 pushups, wide, close hand and regular, 60 leg curls on stomach, 60 kickbacks, 30 calf raises all with 20 pound ankle weights, 55 dumbbell flys, 55 lay raises behind head, 25 dumbbell raises to side all with 8 pound dumbells, 40 dumbell presses overhead and 40 dumbell curls both with 20 pound dumbells, 10 squats to left and to right, 140 laying side leg raises, 30 dumbell presses overhead and 30 dumbell curls both with 25 pound dumbells, jump in place 60 times holding those same 25 pound dumbells, leg stretches each leg counting to 200, 25 calf raises no ankle weights, 22 dumbell curls with 40 pound dumbell, 30 crunches holding 20 pound dumbells. Then run the 4 miles around 33 minutes. On completion of 4 miles jump in place about 20 times kicking heals together, 25 two foot forward jumps, 50 slides to left and to right, 25 ski jumpers with hands behind head and feet together, 25 calf raises, 25 kickbacks, 25 one foot calf raises and then one suicide run to 7 spots. This is done Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Was going to YMCA on Friday and doing leg press machine. Put 2 45 pound plates on each side working up to 11 45 plates on each side. I have been doing this for about 15 years. Did have right ankle surgery a couple years ago to clean out scar tissue. Wear waterproof tape around right Achilles and under inside and outside ankle bones on that right foot. Also, use inhalers in nose and mouth, take one nitric oxide before run. There are some other exercises do at gym and before running that didn’t include, but this is about right. What can I do to add to the vertical jump?

  1 reply  

JMamba7 says:
1/17/2021 at 11:19:07 AM

Haha! You need to play basketball. All of that is fine but if you Have no athletic timing then it’s for naught


Bossticc says:
11/12/2019 at 7:14:01 PM

I'm 5'5 and can get the ball above the rim, but I can't palm the ball, so I always hit the top of the rim. I've had a few rim grazers, but they are pretty inconsistent. What should I do to prevent this from happening?

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
11/14/2019 at 7:45:52 AM

It's tough if you can't palm the ball. The only good solution is just higher, which makes it easier to throw it down with 1 or 2 hands.


GOAT says:
9/28/2019 at 6:14:16 PM

I am 7 foot tall and i cant dunk on 6 foot hoop HELP

  1 reply  

Mickle Pickle says:
2/12/2020 at 1:17:05 PM

Your arm should be able to go over the rim so you should be able to dunk.


GOAT says:
9/28/2019 at 6:10:46 PM

Damn how old are you now


pauly d playz YT says:
3/6/2019 at 3:09:33 PM

im 5''''9 and i''''ve been touching rim since i was a freshman and im a Junior now. im getting up there and i can jump up off 1 foot and hang on the now but it seems like i cant jump as high when i have a ball in my hand


bvnjcv says:
2/14/2019 at 1:16:44 PM

i can dunk but i jump to high every single time i try i know i have extreme hops but can anyone please help me?


Alex says:
4/1/2017 at 8:29:43 PM

I'm 5"11 and 12 years old, and i'm able to touch the rim, but it's very inconsistent. like 50% of the time I can wrap my 3 biggest fingers around it, or i dont touch it the other 50% of the time. I've been training for about 4 months, doing calf raises every day until they cramp, and everyday i try to touch the rim at my gym or school or at any court. I found out i could touch the rim 2 days ago, but is there any way to add 7 inches to my vertical instead of doing thousands of calf raises again, because i really want to be able to dunk by 8th gradr

  1 reply  

Jordan says:
8/1/2020 at 12:01:52 AM

Do more than calf raises. Your body gets used to different workouts very quickly. So vary them. If you want to work on vert then, just jump. Basically do exercises where you jump. For example you can do a single leg jump, where you bend down and jump with as much power as you can on one leg. Do this for 3 sets of 10. To up the ante add light weights (no more than 10 pounds). Then you can do basic squats.. but add a max height jump to the end to make it harder and more applicable. Again 3 sets of 10. Or jump up a flight of stairs on one leg. While doing these exercises make sure to swing your arms to work on arm swing and to also jump with your full strength to get the full benefits.


The White One says:
3/28/2017 at 3:45:05 PM

I am 5''11 with a 43 inch vertical I am a freshman and I play on the varsity team as a point gaurd I can do 360''s and now a 540 I want to tell you how I can dunk all I did was watch Vince carter and watch the motion he does and I did the same motion and I never thought I could dunk until the beginning year of 8th grade now I am a freshman posterizing 11 and 12th graders.


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