The Phantom 10' Verticals

Updated: Feb 8

Prove it.

I'm not saying athletes aren't touching 10', I'm just saying there are probably fewer than we think.

I think that it is the fact that I talk to all of these coaches a lot and this coach or that coach will tell me about their kid that is touching 10-something and then I go watch the athlete and I think immediately, "she's not even close." It's not a lie, I don't think, to be misinformed about an athlete's vertical touch. But I do think perspective is important. That's why I started off this post by saying "prove it." I've been in plenty of gyms where the basketball rim hangs down on the side of the volleyball net to have a decent visual of where 10' is on that red and white antenna. The eye test isn't an exact measurement; it more like when 5 different people walk up to the net and stick their arm straight up in the air (you know what I'm talking about) to use their body as a measuring stick to judge whether or not the net is high or low.

Now I will start this off by saying I don't really trust "jump trainers" or "vertical trainers" because I haven't seen the the statistical numbers that prove it actually does improve an athletes verticals. There are GREAT strength coaches out there (I know several) but, I just haven't seen the actual statistical data that proves whatever they are doing gives the desired results. I would argue there are probably 100 different variables at work in there and most of them have to do with what goes on outside of those training sessions. I'm also not impressed with vertical measuring that occurs every 6 months! How in the world are you gathering enough data to show that what you're doing is working?...and it takes all of 30 seconds, so you've got time to do it.

I also don't trust the vertec. Well, I trust the vertec, but I don't trust the people using them. Talk to enough parents and you hear about how their daughter's vertical approach was 4 inches (4!) different from one facility to the next. User error with a vertec could easily increase or decrease an athletes vertical by 2 inches. I've had athletes tell me they did a vertical test at a qualifier and that they touched 10-something and there is just no way to believe. An athlete that normally touches about 9'6" regularly magically touches 10'2" at a qualifier? Who is getting duped here? Because that athlete is going to go now and put that on her profile and the eye test by college coaches is going to fail her each time.

The other reason I don't buy into it is because I watch live volleyball a lot. I know how high the net is. You would have to stack 4 volleyballs on top of the net and be able to touch the top of the highest volleyball in order to get to 10'. Again, there are athletes that do that and CAN do that on a consistent level; many even getting higher than that. But there are plenty that aren't.

So, my challenge to all of my coaching friends out there (high school and college) and athletes as well - prove that you are touching 10'. Make a video of yourself touching the 4th volleyball above a net, or even simpler, touch the rim of the basketball hoop in your gym. I will trust that over whatever the vertec is telling you. Post the video on social media and tag me in the post or send me the video! I can't wait to see how many 10' touchers there really are out there! :)

Also, if "Jump" isn't stuck in your head right now, it probably should be, so here.

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