NBA players dunk all the time, college players dunk a lot, and high schoolers dunk occasionally. Is it worth it at every level?
Dunking has long been one of the most interesting aspects of basketball. Not everyone can fully appreciate the execution of a perfectly set screen, but even a non-basketball fan recognizes the spectacle of a player rising above all others to punch the ball through the opponent’s goal.
To be able to slam a basketball through a ten-foot-tall goal that is guarded by five opposing players is one of the most enviable feats in sports. It takes athleticism, timing, and yes - height helps too. So if you can dunk, should you?
The general reasons for dunking are similar across the board, but can vary slightly from level to level. NBA players typically dunk because not only is it relatively easy for most of them, it is the highest percentage shot they can take. When you are taking the ball to the hole with seven-footers looming, you need to make sure you are putting it through with authority.
NCAA hoops bridge the gap somewhat here, but in most other levels of the game, dunking isn’t always necessary. A fundamental, energy-saving layup will do fine in most circumstances. However, there are other benefits of a dunk that we haven’t discussed.
Pumping up your team and your crowd
As I mentioned, there is something unique and mesmerizing about a player rising up and hammering down a dunk. Instead of gently placing the ball in your opponent’s goal, you are slamming it in a display of dominance. It is a way of showing your opponents that they were soundly defeated on the particular possession.
(Talking about dunking make you want to watch some dunks? Good, me too. Here is a video of one of my personal favorite dunkers - fresh knees Blake Griffin)
Such an act gets your adrenaline flowing as well as your teammates and your fans. The more into the game the fans are, the more they will go wild and do their best to cheer you on. From routine slams to 360 windmills, everyone loves a good dunk.
Just make sure you’re ready
As much as you and everyone else can get out of a made dunk, it can also have the opposite effect to miss one. Missing a dunk is like fumbling on the goal line. It’s like doing your homework and forgetting to turn it in. It’s like saving the best looking piece of bacon for last and then being too full to eat it. Okay, that one’s a stretch. There is always room for bacon.
Anyway - Only attempt a dunk if you are sure you can finish. Coaches are not happy by blown possessions, which is exactly what you will have on your hands if you get all the way to the basket and don’t finish. I have heard of high school coaches that forbid their players from dunking. That is a tad extreme if you have confident dunkers in your lineup, though you can see where a high school coach may have been negatively impacted by missed dunks in the past.
If you are just coming around as a dunker, just keep working. Adrenaline may help, but don’t do your early dunk attempts in-game. Make sure that you can routinely put them down uncontested before you even think about trying one during live action.
Missed dunks can be a bit embarrassing, so like anything else in basketball, constantly hone this skill. Get comfortable dunking from straight on, the baseline, and wings. Once you can do one-hand slams, move to two-hand so that you can get those high percentage looks that make dunking so important.
To get in a gym and work on not only your skills, but your conditioning and physical ability as well, reach out to us at The Basketball Movement. We can help you get the most out of your abilities on your journey to the top.