By Julia Sparco
Elm Staff Writer
A person’s vertical is measured by how high they can jump. The higher a vertical an athlete has, the better. This can be valuable for most sports, but especially sports like basketball, volleyball, and track and field where jumping is a key component.
For example, a higher vertical can mean better shots for basketball, like a dunk, and better hits in volleyball.
“Basketball is a game of athleticism and jumping. Having a good vertical allows you to be more explosive and with more airtime,” senior captain, Cole Storm, of the men’s basketball team said.
“It’s important to be able to jump high so you are able to out rebound other players too” junior Jess Giblin of the Washington College women’s basketball team said.
Raising your vertical can be challenging, but with proper training it can happen. WC student-athletes spend time raising their vertical throughout the school year in the weight room.
In what is known as the “off-season,” the time period where the athletes are not playing games, all WC athletes have team weight-lifting sessions. They work with strength and conditioning coaches to raise their vertical, run faster, and become stronger.
WC athletes acknowledge the importance of having a high vertical is beneficial for themselves, but also of their entire team.
“Having a higher vertical can be beneficial on both defense and offence for volleyball,” senior captain, Kylie Peats of the WC volleyball team said. “A girl with a higher vertical is going to be able to block on defence better and hit over the block while on offence.”
Basketball For Coach’s, a website dedicated to giving advice/ideas for coaches on how to measure and improve performance on and off the court for basketball players, has pages on the importance of athletes raising their verticals.
According to them, exercise like jumping ropes, squats, practicing different kinds of athletic jumps, like lateral jumps, high-reach jumps, tuck jumps, and practicing jumping technique are some of the key things to raising your vertical.
The website also has a video program devoted to raising your vertical at home during the pandemic. Although the website is dedicated to basketball, anyone can use this program to raise their vertical if they do not have access to a weight room
In the program, there are phases and steps that viewers follow that can help athletes improve their abilities even off the court. The longest one is a 12 week course that former Division 1 basketball player Adam Folker of UC’s Irvinings partners with. Folker is known for his dunking skills.
As athletes await beginning their seasons, there will be a continuous focus on raising athlete’s verticals in the weight room and at home so players can better their game.