Why can't I dunk???

I’m 6’2" 190lbs and I’m very swift in the sprinting action. I squat about 300lbs, deadlift 405lbs and bench 225. Been training Charlie Francis style for about 2 years. Mostly accelerations, med ball and tempo. And I still can’t manage to dunk a basketball. What’s up with that? My power output has improved dramatically and I would think this would show up in my vertical somehow. Apparently not?? :confused:

How often do you play basketball, practice dunking, or do jumps for height? I’m sure you do a lot of plyometric drills with your sprinting and all but sometimes there’s a lot that can be gained by practicing the specific maneuver. There are some technical considerations you might pick up in this short article.

If that’s not the case then look elsewhere. I’m not sure how much lifting you do but you might want to back off on the volumes of lifting for a while. Switch to more power oriented work. Heavy lifting and/or bodybuilding work tends to create a lot of fatigue in the muscles and nervous system so backing off a bit will enable you to “display” what you’re capable of.

If that doesn’t help then look at the volume of conditioning, tempo, and sport work you do overall. High volumes of non-specific work will hinder explosiveness.

Oftnetimes all that’s needed is 1 or 2 extra days of recovery per week.

accels are a horizontal movement for the most part, so while you are gaining power in your hips it is in a different fashion from that of a vertical jump. now on the other hand running upright(top speed running) requires great vertical force generation throughout the hips. I noticed my vert went way up from playing football(most of the running is done upright).

I think it has a lot to do with technique, how you approach the basket, if you can palm a ball and how lean you are. Also I find it a lot easier to dunk off of 1 foot than 2 and approaching from the left.

At 6"2 you have the height to be able to do this but are you lean enough and do you practice dunking specifically? I believe it is a real skill.

When I was younger I found working on a 9 foot 6 rim helped me to perfect my approach to basket and timing. It took me about 2 years but eventually i managed to get my technique good enough that my lack of stature and vertical jump were minimised. At the time I was 5"10 and could just about jump and hang on the rim from a 2 footed jump directly below the rim with no run up. However, with a run up from the left, a 1 footed jump and the right timing i could dunk a ball 8 times out of 10.

I think this can also help psychologically, in that you are succeeding rather then failing, and popping with relaxed confidence instead of straining for the big effort.

Huh? If you run upright in football, you will find yourself on your back very quickly! Football is almost all acceleration work.

hah this is true, im referring to when you break for long runs, i end up having a lot of those so i guess it’s a specific thing…

I am very close to dunking. I think I have to work on my technique though. If I practice more specific movements to dunking I think this would improve my vertical by atleast a few inches. I rarely play basketball and I thought the general improvements in power and speed would transfer over to my vertical leap, but they didn’t. I do some vertical two-footed plyos but nothing ever off one foot like you do in basketball. Maybe that’s what it will take. I also do flying 20s which have a more vertical aspect to them then strictly accels.

Well I am 6’2" and also 190, but I am 40 years old. Can’t dunk a basketball now, but can a volleyball. Used to dunk with style two hands. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make that are your height is people don’t plant in the right place. You need to plant right below the hoop and jump UP not over. People seem to want to jump over like Jordon or something, but the key is to jump up.

I wish I could watch you. Once you can dunk by jumping up, you can add to it.

Hope this helps.

Get stronger and you should pay a little attention to Speed-strentgh work and RFD work. Work on that in the squat and deadlift and as others have pointed out, actually doing vertical jumping drills might be a good idea.

I myself am only 6 ft tall and my vertical increased by 8 inches by working on technique and RFD work. So give it a try.

What is your standing and/or running vert and when you say you are very close to dunking, how close is that? Does very close mean, back-rimming it, in-and-outting it, etc? You have to be at least doing that before you’re dunking. The progression should be:
back-rim -> in-and-out -> consistent in-and outs -> DUNK.

Could hand size/strength be an issue? Can you palm the ball easily? At 6’2" I doubt this is your problem. Though if so, there are a few ways to work around it.

You might try to actually measure some steps out. I used to palm the ball, start with my right foot in front of me on the free throw line, lean back, then go L, R, jump off L to dunk when I first started. I think one footed jumping comes from quality repetitions while the two-footed jump correlates better with general strength and plyo work. Im not saying that strength doesn’t do anything for the one-footed jump but just that without practice the one-footed jump will stagnate compared to the two-footed jump. Whenever I played bball my two footed jump would go up but my one footed jump wouldn’t go anywhere. All it took was a few repetitions after low fatigue games such as halfcourt 3 on 3 or 21 to see results. So if all you are doing is two footed plyos, then I agree that you need to do some one-footed jumping reps.

So, with a little more data I think we can determine whether it is a technique/coordination issue which just needs practice or an speed-strength issue. With non-bball players usually its just problems with technique of the approach and manipulating the ball.

I hope this helps.

Ok thanks, very helpful. I’ll try the one-footed plyos.