Two Foot or One Foot Jump

Mark was wondering why some people prefer to jump off two feet and others off of one. Back in the mid eighties when I was working with the Bulls I saw it up close. Charles Oakley, could not jump off one foot. Tex Winter, one of the assistants, felt it was really hindering him. We tried a bunch of stuff to try to get him to jump off one foot, but under pressure he always reverted. Conversely in testing vertical jump on the Vertec with Michael Jordan, he was terrible off two feet. When he took a step and went off one foot the difference was unbelievable. In short I think it represents a personal preference and it may represent where you play on the floor. Certainly with young kids I think it advisable to devise games that encourage all types of take offs.


At 1/24/07, 10:17 AM, Anonymous Chris, ATC, CSCS said...

I have often wondered this too. I feel it may be a coordination variable. I have seen high school atheltes be able to jump even 18 inches higher off one foot compared to two feet. Some feel more comfortable gathering themselves and jumping off two. One thing I have noticed with one leg jumpers though is ironically, the leg they jump off of is not very "balance" oriented. Whereas the opposite leg, balance is better. I feel this may be due to the explosive qualities in the jumping leg? THoguhts Vern?

At 1/24/07, 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your examples certainly point out why Jordan was able to leave from the foul line and dunk and Oakley was a great rebounder and shot blocker around the basket. In Oakley's defense would he had been as productive as he was if he had been a 1 leg jumper? Probably not. Should we help these youngsters develop a game to fit their jumping preferences? 2 legged jumpers would certainly be better on the block and doing more drop step moves verses 1 leg jumpers may want to experiment more with shots that allow 1 leg takeoffs such as we see in Doug's Layup Drills Video. I could see where this would also apply to receivers in football with the types of routes they run. At what age do we work to their strengths and not so much their weaknesses? I do agree variety is good. I have just often wondered why my 1 step 2 leg vertical was measured at 30" a few times but I could never consistently long jump over 20 feet despite running the 200 and 400 meters in college. Oh, and by the way I about killed myself trying to triple jump.


At 1/24/07, 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I feel that there is a training/sport factor that enables an athlete to be better on 2 feet rather than 1 foot. Consider how many times Charles Oakley went up for a rebound or block shot. Probably since high school he was know as that type of basketball player and put in positions requiring 2 leg jumps. Compare all those 2 legged jumps to single leg jumps and you have a trained habit that performs efficiently because of practice. Could he become a single leg leaper? Maybe. But it would take a lot of training to reverse the motor patterns he has developed.

Adam King

At 3/16/07, 11:19 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Coming from a basketball players perspective I learned basically how to jump during track doing high jump where you jump off one leg. So i have always preferred to jump off that one leg. So I can dunk easily off one foot but it is more of a challenge off two feet. So i think it is just how you learned to jump in the first place whether it be in track or basketball.


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