I talked to a friend the other day whose kid is starting to play basketball and the first thing he asked me was, how do I get my kid to jump higher? In my opinion, there are a lot of kids out there that get suckered into thinking that improving their vertical will solve all of their problems, it will make them into the next Lebron James. I know this first-hand because when I was growing up, the only thing I wanted to do was to be able to jump like Michael Jordan. When I watched Spud Webb win the dunk contest, my imagination went wild thinking that any 5-foot person could dunk like Spud. For a time growing up, I spent more time trying to improve my vertical than I did actually playing basketball. I think I might have gained an extra 6-inches on my vertical, I still couldn't dunk, and I didn't improve the other aspects of my game. The most important thing to remember is that there is a lot more to basketball than being able to dunk, that jumping ability is largely dependent on physical makeup, that some people are just born with the ability to jump high.

That is not to say that vertical leap is unimportant. Like any skill on the basketball court, it helps to be well-rounded, jumping ability being just one of the skills that a player should hope to improve on. Once a player or kid has their expectations set right, then they can go ahead and improve their vertical leap, to achieve their maximum potential.

There are a lot of programs, manuals, infomercials that tout amazing results for their system. Most of them are hype. Jumping ability is like any other physical attribute, there are certain muscles that your body uses to jump. Therefore, improving your vertical requires the same improvement as anything else, improving your flexibility, strength, and quickness. In other words, no special gimmick, video, or program is necessary. Most plyometric and ballistic training drills can be simplified down to: squats with weights. That's all it is, mostly stuff you can incorporate in your regular weight training regimen.

So, don't buy into the hype. Improving your vertical should be just a part of your offseason skill development. Don't get caught up with being able to dunk, and just focus on improving your all-round game.