Do you remember Kevin Durant’s first NBA (Summer League 2007) game? It was a 66-77 loss for the Seattle Supersonics (to the Dallas Mavericks), in which the 2007 No.2 draft pick scored 18 points in 29 minutes, but only shot 5 of 17. ground.
The forward missed his first five shots of the game (two lay-ups, two jumpers and a hook stroke), but displayed good moves in the process, including good spinning motion on the block. His sixth shot, a right-corner reversal jumper, only hit the net. Durant hit his stride in the second quarter (0-5 FG, 0 points in the first quarter), hitting for 13 points (3-8 FG, 7-8 FT).
Also, his first shot was blocked out of bounds by Dallas Mavericks Center Desagana Diop.
“Everyone gets their shot blocked, it’s the NBA,” Durant said of the block. “I can’t get down because he (Diop) blocked him. I thought I had the clear layup but he came and blocked it.”
But make no mistake, Kevin Durant can jump. In fact, it has a vertical of 33 inches! But the interesting fact here is that the lean forward (just 215 pounds at 6’9 ”) never worked with weights to increase his vertical jump. By using weights you can get bulky and lose speed and flexibility very quickly. But that’s the whole game of Durant.
So what are the exercises he used to improve his upright?
1) jump rope:
It is a must! Almost all NBA players use this “old” drill. Skipping rope is a great way to build endurance and work on your leg strength. In addition, it strengthens the ability to jump (explosiveness, calf strength, etc.).
2) Explosive jumps:
One-Leg Jumps: Jump as high as you can with one foot, then come back down and immediately jump as high as you can with the other leg. Repeat this for 10 to 15 jumps.
Double Legged Jumps: Crouch down to be in a triple threat position. Now explode and lift off the ground like you want a bounce. Go down, gather for a second or two, then jump again, as high as you can. Do this 8-10 times.
3) Go up the stairs:
Running stairs can really help your vertical leap, as it builds up stamina, leg strength, and when done right, explosiveness. To work on explosiveness, use “leaping” movements. In other words, don’t just go from step to step, but really jump from step to step.
These are just a few of the exercises that help increase your vertical very quickly.
For the rest of the exercises and the crucial things to know about vertical jumping (for example, why often what you “don’t” is more important than what you “do”) please take a look at: