A while back I was driving home while listening to Jim Rome on the radio. He was interviewing a pro football player for the Baltimore Ravens and was talking to him about the Ravens chances for winning the Super Bowl that season.
After a few minutes of chatting the topic turned to off-season conditioning programs where Rome said "Is it true you improved your vertical leap 8 inches this off-season?"
When the player answered that he had, Rome half jokingly suggested that the player should create a workout tape or routine and was dying to know the answer of how he did it. What was the answer... "I simply jumped" was the player's response.
As the two men continued to talk the player discussed how it happened and how he finally decided to make it a point of emphasis for himself as an athlete.
In the past he had worked out muscles to make himself stronger and faster and it had worked so why not the same for jumping. "I simply jumped" was his answer.
I've done research since and found that it wasn't just any kind of jumping but specific jumping. Warm-ups were always done with jumping rope but no vertical leap could be improved by simply jumping an inch off the ground.
Imagine trying to improve your bench press by only lifting the bar each time. It just wouldn't get you the results you were looking for.
He would box jump or platform jump and with each set he would push himself to go higher and higher much like you would with any other exercise that you are trying to improve. He simply didn't set the box at 24 inches and work on that all summer long.
He constantly reached a plateau and then worked to beat it. The most common theme was the fact that he treated jumping like any other strength training exercise and jumped.
How many of us are willing to put the time and effort into this part of our game or athletic ability to improve? Just as some people are born with better natural strength, others are born as better natural jumpers. In my own terms, it takes me months to really improve my bench press as I don't have great natural strength. I have to truly work at it.
Meanwhile, I'm much faster than most people and that has come naturally to me so this all makes sense. What do we do with what we are given and what do we do to improve what we weren't given? That is what truly separates the professional athletes from the rest of us.
By.Coach Brian Schofield