Dunking a basketball is one of the most exciting plays in the sport. The power and athleticism needed to throw down a ferocious slam captivates everyone watching. While dunking may seem out of reach for many players, anyone can learn how with the right drills and training.
Dunking is a coveted skill in basketball. Crowds go wild for aggressive throw-down dunks that showcase power and athleticism.
While many recreational players feel dunking is impossible, developing your vertical leap and approach technique can help almost anyone dunk. By using targeted drills and joining a dunk basketball training program, you can throw down like the pros.
We’ll provide a complete guide covering:
- What is a dunk in Basketball?
- Basketball vertical jump drills
- Proper dunking approach and technique
- How to join a dunk basketball training program
Follow along to learn how to sky high and unleash rim-rocking dunks on the court.
What is a Dunk?
A dunk refers to when a player jumps high enough to forcefully slam the ball down through the hoop within one or both hands.
These athletic jams draw excitement from fans and intimidate defenders. Dunk types include:
- One hand dunk – One handed slam using either the left or right hand.
- Two hand dunk – Slamming with both hands for added power. Easier for most players.
- Alley-oop – Dunking a pass tossed up near the rim by a teammate.
- Putback dunk – Dunking the ball immediately after grabbing an offensive rebound.
- Windmill dunk – Swinging arm in a circular motion before dunking with one hand.
- Between-the-legs dunk – Player brings ball between their legs in mid-air before dunking. Very difficult.
Now that you know what defines a dunk, let’s get into the training to learn how to throw it down!
Basketball Vertical Jump Drills
Throwing down high-flying dunks requires significant leaping ability. By training your fast twitch muscles using these drills, you can increase vertical jump height.
The platform jump is an excellent drill for improving your vertical leap to dunk a basketball. To perform this exercise, stand on a platform or box that is 8-12 inches off the ground. Explosively jump off the platform onto the floor, land with bent knees to absorb impact, then immediately rebound back onto the platform.
Repeat this rapid on-off jumping for 5-10 reps per set. This drill develops the fast twitch muscle fibers needed for increasing vertical jump height. Make sure to land softly and use your arms for momentum.
Lateral Box Jumps
Lateral box jumps help build up the lateral explosiveness required for dunking. To do these, stand sideways beside a sturdy box or platform that is 2-3 feet high. Jump laterally onto the box with both feet, land with bent knees, then immediately jump back down to your starting position.
Repeat jumping back and forth over the box in this lateral motion for 10 reps. Focus on soft landings and using arm drive to maximize power. Work up to higher box heights gradually as you gain strength.
Platform Box Jumps
Platform box jumps are another great plyometric drill for improving vertical leap. Set up a box or platform that is about 2-3 feet high. Start by standing behind the box, then swing your arms and jump forward onto the top of the box, landing with bent knees as you absorb the impact.
Step down and repeat the forward jump for 10 reps per set. Over time, increase the height of the box as your hops improve. This drill develops single effort leaping ability applicable to dunking basketball.
Alternating One Foot Hops
Alternating one foot hops target the power and stability of each leg independently. To perform, stand on a platform or box on one leg. Hop down onto the floor on that same leg, then immediately rebound back onto the platform, keeping the movement only on one side.
Repeat for 10 reps on that leg, then switch and complete 10 reps on the opposite leg. This single leg focused drill improves lateral stability and builds the unilateral force needed for dunking.
Step-ups help develop leg strength required for dunking. Use a knee-high box or platform. Place your left foot on top, then step up until your right leg is straight and supporting your weight. Step back down in control.
Repeat stepping up and down 10 times on the left side before switching and doing 10 step-ups on the right side. This move will strengthen your push off leg muscles for jumping. Do 2-3 sets on each side.
Proper Dunking Approach and Technique
Once vertical leap height improves through training, perfecting your approach and dunk execution will lead to high-flying success at the rim.
Two Foot Approach
The two foot approach starts a step inside the free throw line to build momentum.
- Take a power dribble towards the rim from the wing or top of the key
- Launch off two feet from inside the foul line
- Fully extend arms to rise high and dunk with authority
One Foot Approach
The one foot approach starts further back allowing even greater momentum.
- Begin dribble from the 3-point line
- Take a long penultimate step
- Jump high off one foot close to the rim
- Dunk powerfully with one or both hands
Joining a dunk basketball program will teach you how to maximize the one foot approach.
For alley-oop dunks off a pass, coordinate your approach with the passer.
- Time your cut towards the rim with the lob pass
- Jump off one or two feet to catch the pass high
- Dunk immediately after catching the ball midair
A program will cover how to perfect the alley-oop timing and finish.
With proper approach techniques and form training from a program, you’ll be flushing alley-oops and dominating the rim in no time!
Dunking a basketball brings excitement to the sport and intimidates opponents. While it may seem unattainable, nearly anyone can learn to dunk basketball with proper training.
By combining targeted jump drills, approach practice and joining a proven training program, your dunking goals can become a reality.
Bring power and athleticism to your game, gain confidence and have fun by unleashing rim-rocking dunks on the court. Start increasing your vertical today and join a dunk basketball program to learn how to throw down like the pros!