Spud Webb – how many people remember him? He was one of the shortest players in the NBA, standing only 5’7″, yet he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1986. He had an amazing vertical of 42″!You don’t need the height to dunk, just the training.What training do you need? It’s called plyometrics. Basketball players, volleyball players, track and field and more, all these athletes, whatever their level, use a form of plyometrics. What is it? It’s just a series of exercises designed to explode your leg power.
A good start is jogging and skipping rope. Do each three times a week. You should be jogging about 30 minutes a week and skipping for 30 minutes.Jumping rope builds coordination and develops leg power, which will help you develop your leg power. Some guys are don’t like skipping, because it doesn’t seem manly. But don’t forget, skipping is a key part of all training for boxers.The days you don’t run, you should be in the gym, working on your quads and calves. These muscles are integral to develop your vertical. Squats and calve raises are good exercises for this. Remember to slowly increase the weight.
Always alternate your running days with weight training days. Its also a good day to take one day off during the day to let your body recover and rest. Work with your coach or trainer or just a partner to motivate yourself and to chart your progress.With some practice and training, you could have a vertical like Spud Webb!
Losers at the quadrennial Olympic Games get slight notice, if any, and most among the winners go down as a statistic for their country, particularly if they medal at less than Gold. Yet athletes competing at the Olympic level continue to excel in their sport between Games because part of their enormous talent lies in learning to lose well in order to keep going.While four years need to pass before athletes get another shot to win after competing and losing at the Olympic level, the statistics on winning are better than they appear to the various audiences focused on the winners. This year in Beijing, for example, there are approximately 300 events with 600 athletes competing. With three medals awarded per event, the total number of medals to be awarded is approximately 900.
Theoretically, every athlete competing in the Olympics this year could win a medal, with half of them winning two. That’s a strong incentive for competing, even if the win occurs at the level of an upset, as it has for Jamaica in track and field or for Japan in softball.The reality, of course, is that Olympic stars such as Michael Phelps win multiple medals in various events, even at the Gold level. In addition, the number of medals won by any country depends in part on the level of support the country is willing or able to provide for athletes to take part in the Olympics.The host country, of course, has a keen interest in its athletes performing well and the basis for China’s strong lead in the Gold category has been brought into question. But other large countries with big budgets such as the United States and Russia are also customarily at the top of the winners list while 120 of the 200-plus countries have won no medals as of the Friday before Sunday’s closing ceremony in Beijing.The bleak outlook for the athletes of those 120 countries and of others who failed to capture Gold might be daunting to outsiders. But the athletes themselves have a cushion of proven performance to take the sting out of defeat.
Each athlete competing in the Olympics is nominated by the national Olympic committee. By the Olympic charter, no more than three athletes for any event are entered per country.To be one of the top three athletes in any country is no small accomplishment or honor, however small the country. With the wins and losses under their belts at national, regional and international levels, those athletes know their own value to themselves and to their countries. That is the reason why every athlete carries the country’s banner with head held high in the closing ceremony of the Olympics regardless of the country’s standing in the medaling.