How to Measure Vertical Jump for Sports

Athlete testing has come a long way. Today coaches and scouts do a variety of tests depending on the sport. How to measure your vertical jump or leap is one of the things the athlete should know how to do because it is one of the basic tests for athleticism.

The vertical jump test can be done in a number of ways, but however it is done, the main goal is to be able to measure the jumping height of the athlete.

The reason that this is important is that how high the athlete is able to jump shows how much leg power they have, which is always a good thing in sports.

In this article we cover the simplest method to measure vertical leap and one you can do almost anywhere without any special equipment. To know more about the other methods, see our article on the vertical jump test.


How to Measure Vertical Jump at Home without Any Equipment

Steps for Measuring Standing Vertical Jump:

how to measure vertical jump1. Stand beside a wall with your strong side next to the wall.

2. Standing straight up, raise the arm closest to the wall all the way up, reaching as high as you can.

3. Mark the wall using chalk or have a friend mark the wall.

4. Put some chalk on your fingers. They will be used to mark the wall.

5. From a standing position, bend your knees and jump as high as you can.

6. At the height of your jump, reach as high as you can and touch the wall. The chalk should leave a mark.

7. Do the jump and reach 2 more times, for a total of 3 jumps.

8. Get the highest mark reached during the jump, and subtract the standing reach from that figure. This gives you your vertical jump height.

If for example your standing reach is 7 feet, and the highest reach of your 3 jumps is 10 feet. Then your vertical jump is 3 feet or 36 inches.


Steps for Max Vertical Jump Measurement:

In the NBA, and some other sports another variation of the vertical jump is measured. This is what the NBA calls the Max Vertical Jump. What it actually is, is a running vertical jump.

So how does the NBA measure vertical leap?

It uses the standing vertical just explained above, plus, the max vertical.


To do the max vertical, set yourself up the same way as the standing vertical. You will use the same standing reach measured from the standing vertical.

Basically you’ll repeat steps 1 through 4 (above) if you’re beginning from the start.

  • For step 5, instead of starting from a standstill. You get a running start.
  • Position yourself where you can get a running start.
  • From there run and take however many steps you need to get the best jump you can.
  • At the peak of your jump, reach as high as you can and touch the wall to leave a mark.
  • Do this jump 3 times in total and get the highest mark.
  • To measure your running vertical, subtract your standing vertical from the highest mark of the 3 jump attempts.

Doing the calculation is the same except the jump marks should be higher because you had a running start. You can use a calculator to make compute the height faster and so you won’t make any mistakes.


Using Vertical Jump Test Equipment

NBA vertical jump testThe one difference with how the NBA and NFL measure the jumps of their athletes during the draft combines is that they use special testing equipment, called the Vertec vertical jump device.

This way the tester does not need a tape measure for measuring or chalk to mark the wall.

The Vertec device is like a flag pole with thin flags on top. Each flag is ½ inch thick making it easy to measure.

What the athlete does is jump and tap away as many flags as they can. The more flags the higher the jump. By looking at the flags the testers can tell the height they reached and compare that to the player’s standing reach.