For a small payer like me (at 5′ 10″) adding inches to my vertical jump puts catching the disc over much taller players on the menu. I’d like to show you how you can jump higher right now with better technique.

Ultimate frisbee isn’t known for producing players with stunning jumping ability. Players who can jump really high (from what I can tell) tend to have experience in other sports where jumping is more important (such as volleyball or basketball).

This article is for those of you who have never been formally taught how to jump. If you don’t come from a volleyball or basketball background, you stand to immediately benefit from incorporating these two motions into your vertical jump:

  1. An explosive arm swing.
  2. A long “penultimate” (second last) step.

These two motions add inches to a player’s vertical jump by allowing her to momentarily store elastic energy in muscle and ligament fibres, then release it during muscular contraction.

If you’ve ever seen a player who seems to just “float” in the air effortlessly when jumping, what you’re seeing is someone who is truly leveraging the elastic potential energy of their muscles and tendons to spectacular effect.

Ash making a big catch for a small girl!

This is not an inherent or genetic ability. It is a skill that improves with practice. Even the most genetically gifted jumpers still had to put the hours of practice into developing excellent jumping technique.

“But Ryan, this looks hard, why go through the trouble of learning a new way of jumping?”

Because if you don’t already have great footwork for jumping, you could be jumping way higher than you currently are. This will make you more dangerous on both offence and defence, and able to go up against taller opponents with more confidence.

Years of jumping pay off.

The period of time it will take to learn this approach is only a matter of minutes, after which you will be set up to jump as high as your body possibly can for the rest of your playing career.

And those initial few inches gained through technique alone are untouchable. The day I learned to use a 3 step approach to jump higher, I was immediately jumping between 2 and 4 inches higher than I had been earlier that same day. 

To put that into perspective, I’ve recently worked through 8 months of vertical jump training in order to gain an additional 4 inches (training 3x per week and playing volleyball 2x per week).

So next time you get the chance, try incorporating a 3 step approach into your jump to tap into more of your body’s latent physical potential.

Chime in below with your comments, I’d love to know how your jumping is coming along!

Ready to Level Up Your Forehand Throw?

I’ve put together a free training video for players who want to get serious about perfecting their forehand throw for ultimate frisbee. After completing the training, you will have the skill to double the distance of your forehand. Think of the fear you will inspire when your opponents see you bomb the disc the length of the field.

Get the training here: