Click HERE to read this article by Jay DeMayo, Strength Coach for the Richmond Spiders.
Click HERE to read this article by Jay DeMayo, Strength Coach for the Richmond Spiders.
By Alan Stein
This is a follow up to the article I wrote about Vertical Jump Con Artists. I felt the need to add a Part II because the original article initiated a whirlwind of responses and comments, nearly every one of which was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. However, I did receive a small handful of comments from folks that disagreed with my position. I view that as a good thing! I never have had a problem with folks who take a different stance and have different opinions from my own. I welcome it and respect it. That is what makes life fun. I have always enjoyed a good debate, especially when it comes to proper training and performance enhancement, because I am so passionate about the topic. I have numerous colleagues and friends in the industry, some in the private sector, some in the NCAA, and some in the NBA… and we all have slightly different philosophies and methodologies. I respect any strength & conditioning coach who is passionate, energetic, truly cares about the well being of their players, and can rationalize their training philosophy; regardless if it differs from mine. I know, and wholeheartedly believe, there are numerous programs that “work.”
With that being said, if you are going to initiate a debate with my philosophy, please do so under the following two conditions:
1) Be respectful and professional. I had someone leave a comment that was not only factually incorrect (it was as if he didn’t even read my blog); it was full of grammatical errors, expletive words, and was more of a personal attack on me. If you want respect, you have to earn it. You only earn it by carrying yourself in a professional manner and sticking to the issue at hand. You if you want to debate philosophies; awesome! If you want to talk smack; look elsewhere.
2) Have something legitimate to back up your point of view; either personal experience with the players you work with or unbiased research. Don’t come at me with hear-say and propaganda from folks who have an obvious financial interest. And please get your own facts straight before you try to argue against mine!
Now, there most certainly was real validity to the responses and comments who disagreed with my article. They were comments and responses I have heard many times before, so I felt compelled to address them in this post. I am going to paraphrase some of the most common comments and give my two cents on each. Please note, these questions are an amalgam of the comments I routinely get – these are not from any particular individual per se but rather more of a summary.
Comment: Do you really believe genetics play a role in your vertical jump?
[Alan Stein] Absolutely; 100%. Genetics are the #1 determining factor in a person’s potential to jump. I challenge you to find ONE legitimate strength & conditioning coach, physical therapist, or athletic trainer who believes genetics do NOT play a significant role in one’s vertical jump potential. Now, this by no means implies that someone with a high vertical jump doesn’t work hard or train properly; it just means they were born with the genetic predisposition to achieve such results. It also doesn’t mean someone with less than ideal genetics can’t make progress; they most certainly can! Everyone can improve their vertical jump and maximize their potential; but not everyone can have a 40” vertical or dunk a basketball.
Comment: How do genetics have anything to do with it?
[Alan Stein] For one, your genetics determine your muscle fiber type. This is a key factor. Someone who possesses predominantly fast twitch muscle fibers in their lower body has the potential to jump higher than someone who was born with mostly slow twitch fibers. While your central nervous system’s efficiency can be improved through proper training; your overall neurological efficiency is somewhat pre-determined at birth. Some folks were just born with more control over their muscular system. Limb length and tendon insertion points are two other genetic factors you can’t control. The folks with the highest vertical jumps were born with favorable genetics and have trained hard and trained properly.
Comment: If you don’t think a 50” vertical is possible, how do you explain all of the guys on YouTube like Area 51 (he is only 5’ 7”) and the guys on Team Flight Brothers?
[Alan Stein] First and foremost, I never once said that it was impossible to have a 50” vertical. I am saying it is extremely rare; like “winning the lottery” rare. I know these guys have impressive leaping ability… I have seen it firsthand. I also know they work hard on their craft and train consistently. But if you believe for one second these particular individuals weren’t born with the favorable genetic predispositions (muscle fiber type, CNS efficiency, etc.) that gave them the potential to jump that high; then you need to re-read my previous answer regarding genetics. That is exactly why everyone who does a vertical jump training program can’t jump as high as these guys. Do you think if you followed their EXACT training program for an entire year you would have the same result? Do you think you would have a 50” vertical?
Comment: Why do you NFL players and Olympic lifters have higher verticals then NBA players?
[Alan Stein] I am well aware that the highest combine verticals for certain NFL positions (cornerbacks, running backs, and wide receivers) are statistically higher than the average combine verticals for potential NBA players. No argument. I assume the same is true for elite Olympic lifters; although I haven’t seen the stats. The elite level football players at those three positions in particular, almost all of the time, were born with the same genetic advantages I keep mentioning. A prototypical cornerback in the NFL is EXTREMELY explosive. He has to be, or he wouldn’t be playing at that level! Again, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worked hard and trained properly, it means he was born with certain tools that allowed him to develop such explosiveness through training. Not everyone was born with the tools to be an NFL cornerback; just as not everyone was born with the tools to dunk a basketball or play in the NBA. Bottom line is this; in order to be a successful cornerback in the NFL or to be an Olympic caliber weight lifter, it is favorable to be extremely explosive and powerful. Both require very short bursts of high intensity power. There are always exceptions; but this is the general rule.
Comment: I think with hard work an average person can beat someone with genetic talent.
[Alan Stein] Beat them in what? A vertical jump contest or playing elite level basketball? If you are talking about basketball, there are too many factors above and beyond vertical jump that determine a person’s chances of playing college or professional basketball. Fundamental skills, basketball IQ, experience, height, and competitiveness are just some of the factors that are equally, if not more, important than jumping ability. In this scenario I am well aware that “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” That is one of my favorite quotes. Yes, someone without superior genetics can still attain a high level of success in a given sport. Yes, someone born with the right tools is not guaranteed to be successful. I have never implied otherwise. But if you think EVERYONE has the potential to have a 40” vertical jump or can dunk a basketball than you are truly mistaken. This is why I wrote my original blog. Most (not all) vertical jump programs claim that “anyone” can gain “8-12 inches” on their vertical, which by my definition, would be “amazing results.” And again, I know for a fact, that is 100% not true.
As always, please share this article with any player or coach you know as my goal is to reach and impact as many players as possible. I welcome all comments and thoughts as long as you abide by the aforementioned guidelines.
If I can ever be a resource to you for your strength & conditioning, please let me know, I would be honored to help. You can email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com.
Whether reading a hoops magazine or visiting a basketball website, I am constantly bombarded with advertisements for vertical jump programs; created by guys claiming to be experts at improving a player's explosiveness and athletic ability. I rarely know who any of these guys are yet they claim to be industry experts; all of which are selling programs, gizmos, gadgets, and even pills that promise to deliver unbelievable improvement in one's vertical jump. As a veteran strength & conditioning coach, it is obvious to me most of these folks are completely bogus. I constantly find myself laughing out loud at some of the claims they make.
After a lot of preliminary internet research, it is my professional opinion nearly every one of these programs is a sham. These guys are not credible strength coaches or performance specialists; they are simply con artists who are trying to trick honest kids out of hard earned money. And that is absolutely unacceptable in my eyes.
As a legitimate, long time basketball strength & conditioning coach as well as someone who has a valid, justifiable vertical jump training program on the market (the MVP program), these guys give people like me a bad rap. Their approach is sleazy and unprofessional and it makes me sick to think they make money swindling kids who are desperate to jump higher and improve their game. I don't ever want to be mentioned in the same sentence as these hacks.
Now, it is not my place to name specific names or websites and this article is certainly not directed at any one person or program in particular; I'm taking aim at this group of con artists as a whole and want to expose them and their fallacies. I also want to make crystal clear I am not claiming these programs don't work; you may very well increase your vertical jump. I am simply stating these programs don't live up to their outlandish claims and preposterous promises. So you may improve your vertical jump; but you won't gain 8-12 inches! I will also make clear I have not tried these programs myself; my thoughts and opinions are based purely on my vast experience in this industry and what I know to be the truth in human performance.
The claims these sites make are unbelievable. Some guarantee an increase in vertical jump of 8-12 inches in a matter of weeks. Others claim they will double your vertical jump, or better yet, get your vertical to 40 or 50 inches.
For someone to make such outlandish promises, they must be the best of the best, right? But after reading many of these sites extensively, most of their "resumes" are paper thin. Most make claims to have worked with high level players, although not one recognizable player is ever named. Most make claims they have helped hundreds or even thousands of athletes, but where is the proof?
So I started to ask myself, what is their real resume? Who have they really worked with? Do they really even train basketball players on a day to day basis or do they just pretend they do? I have worked as a full time private, professional strength & conditioning coach for the last 10 years, so I take grave offense to someone with an empty mug shot and phony resume claiming to be an expert in a field that I have worked so hard in for a decade.
Then I started asking myself a ton of other questions:
Why are all of their testimonials from people no one has heard of? How come most of the testimonials neglect to include a way to truly identify them? I am well aware you do not have to work with NBA players or high profile players to be a quality strength coach or expert in vertical jump, but seriously, if their programs did what they claim, don't you think just one noteworthy player would have used their services and been proud to say so? For the record, I am well aware high school athletes and members of NCAA institutions are not allowed to endorse commercial products at risk of jeopardizing their eligibility. But pro players can endorse whatever they want. So can coaches as well as a host of other credible professionals. Yet none ever endorse these programs. Why?
And what gives these guys the right to call themselves a vertical jump expert? How legit are the pictures they use? How do I know that is a 10 foot rim? How do I know they didn't jump off of a bench to dunk like that? How do I know the person in the picture isn't 6'5" and claiming to be 5'9"?
And if you think their resumes and testimonials are a hoax, you should see the claims they make regarding the results you will get. As a real life strength & conditioning coach, I believe the results they claim are absolutely, positively not possible for 99% of the players in the world. A 50 inch vertical jump? An increase of 12 inches in 4 weeks? Touching your head on the rim when you are 5'7"?
Don't believe me? Do you actually think a 50 inch vertical is really possible to attain for 99% of players?
I went online and looked up the results from the last three year's NBA combines (2007 - 2009). These standardized tests were administered by the NBA's top strength & conditioning coaches, guys with real experience and educational backgrounds. Their first test, the "No Step Vertical Jump" is measured accurately on a Vertec device and is done to standard - no shuffle step, no side step, no drop step and no gather step was allowed, just straight down and straight up.
Keeping the above guidelines in mind, guess how many guys in the past three year's NBA Combine had a 50 inch vertical jump? NONE. Guess how many had a 40 inch vertical? NONE. Not one player broke 40 inches on this particular test. Not even guys who are known for their hops: Jerryd Bayless, Al Thornton, Michael Beasley, or Derrick Rose. And these are the best players (and in many cases, the best athletes) in college basketball. For their second test, the "Max Vertical Jump", the athlete was allowed to take as many steps toward the Vertec as they felt necessary to acquire their maximum vertical jump. Everyone was required to start within the 15' arch and each athlete had the choice of a 1 or 2 foot takeoff. Even using this protocol, only 9 players (less than 3%) got above a 40 inch vertical, with 42 being the highest. Just a few months ago at the pre-draft combine in Chicago; Jonny Flynn (Minnesota Timberwolves) was the only player to get a 40 inch max vertical jump. And that was with a running start!!! I am sure if you look at the previous 10 years of NBA combine results you will see a similar pattern. If the best and most athletic college basketball superstars, who have been training under the watchful eye of proven college strength coaches aren't jumping 50 inches, I'm supposed to believe any kid off the street will be able to achieve that after following one of these vertical jump programs? Is that a joke?
One of the main reasons they trick so many kids is because they offer a money back guarantee, which is nothing more than a false sense of security. Let me tell you, as soon as you see "money back guarantee" on any type of workout product or program, you must question its credibility. NOTHING in this world is guaranteed. NOTHING. And to paraphrase Chris Farley in the movie Tommy Boy, "the only reason they have a guarantee is because they know they sold you a guaranteed piece of crap!" So why do they offer it? Because studies have shown time and time again that hardly anyone ever takes them up on their offer and asks for their money back because it is an actual admittance of failure. It well worth the risk for them to offer a money back guarantee because they know no one will actually do it. It is a ploy to move product. Heck many times, they escape the money back guarantee because of some loophole in the fine print. My parents taught me when I was very young, if something looks too good to be true, it almost always is.
I don't offer a money back guarantee on my MVP program. You know why? If you don't get results, it is your fault, not mine. I know the program works; I have used versions of it with thousands of players. I also don't make any promises for results. Some folks will make much better gains than others. The only thing I know is that if a person does the program, they will improve. How much they improve is dependent upon their genetics, their starting level, and their effort and consistency. Period.
Another reason I know most of these programs are counterfeit is because all of their websites have the exact same look; same layout, same color scheme, same rhetorical questions. This is because most of these guys have taken classes or read books from the same internet marketing people. And these people are experts at designing sites to trick folks into buying their product. These con artists spend more time on their computer working on their site than they do actually training players!
They spend hours and hours "writing copy," which means they follow a specific template on what to write. Therefore all of their info follows the same pattern. They come up with a catchy headline. Then they list several problems their perfect customer has (can't jump, no time, no money, etc.). Then they list several benefits to dispute these problems. Then they think of a few reasons why someone would not buy their product or program and then have an "answer" to that. It is called, "identify problem... agitate.... solve by using their program." These guys are merely wordsmiths who prey on kids insecurities and they rely on the fine print to make it legal.
Don't believe me? Go check out the sites yourself. They usually start off with a letter directly to you. Then they say something to the effect that this will be the most important thing you ever read. Then they make several ridiculous claims. Then they sprinkle in some questionable testimonials. Then they act like they don't even want your business if you aren't 100% serious or committed. Then they act like they are giving a huge discount. Then they start tacking on FREE stuff. Blah, blah, blah.
Now let's kick some truth. The truth is your genetics do dictate your potential to jump. Muscle fiber type and CNS efficiency are just two examples of traits that will ultimately determine how high you can jump, both of which are nearly impossible to see just by looking at someone. Not everyone can have a 30 inch vertical, much less a 40 or 50. Not everyone will be able to dunk a basketball. Not everyone has the ability to play in college, must less the NBA. Period. We were all born with different abilities and potentials. Everyone can improve their vertical jump, but not everyone can achieve the results these spinsters claim. In fact, hardly anyone can.
Now, I don't want to get accused of being hypocritical. I am proud of the fact that HoopsKing and I created and sell the MVP DVD, a 12 week vertical jump program, of which I make a modest royalty on. I am the first to admit that is part of how I make my living, in addition to training players full time. I stand by the fact the info in that program is legitimate and I make no guarantee on results. I know as a real strength coach; the results will be different for everyone. However, I have full confidence that if a player follows the program consistently, with great effort, and is accurate and progressive, they will make gains. For some that might mean 6 inches, for someone else 3. But at least it will be real! Also, I didn't wake up one morning and proclaim myself a vertical jump expert. I have a solid educational background and 10 years of real life work experience on my resume, including previous work with Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Montrose Christian HS, the Nike Skills Academies, the Jordan All American Classic, and the McDonalds All American game.
Train hard. Train smart.
*Below are claims I have seen made on actual websites. Please note the misspellings and incorrect grammar is on their end, not mine!
• "If you've been wanting to dramatically, easily, and quickly enhance your athletic ability, so you'll dominate the competition and hold the capability of performing effortless magical plays, I've got the most important letter you'll ever read. Just take a minute and read below to see how you can crush your frustrating lack of athletic ability problems once and for all."
• "How would you like to know exactly how to develop court dominating power, sick athleticism, rock sold strength, and 'Highlight Reel producing" quickness?"
• "I've helped athletes who didn't even have a lick of experience at the time and turned them into basketball heroes within weeks!"
• "Now You Can Discover the Power House Secrets that Can Easily Get You Flying Through the Air and Doing Electrifying Dunks!"
• "If you would like to learn what the pro's do to jump higher, become quicker, develop explosiveness, increase strength and improve overall athletic ability and performance...then this new program is just what your looking for!"
• "The secrets that will almost "instantly" increase your vertical leaping ability. These secrets are so powerful they're guaranteed to increase your vertical by a minimum of 9 inches!"
• "Are you ready to explode off the ground and finish breaks with rim-rocking two handed monster dunks?"
• "Small research laboratory stumbles upon "vertical leap in a tablet" formula that -- for the very first time -- allows above-the-rim gains for the average, bench-warming baller."
• "Explosive Lab-Tested And Doctor-Approved Discovery Biologically Forces Even Hard-Gainers To Unleash Rapid Vertical Jump Gains Of Up To 5 Inches In Just 15 Days!"
• "Forget old-school plyometrics... if you are one of the 99.2% of ballers born with "inferior genetics", then this will easily be the most important discovery of your life because this new formula, forcefully and unfairly can re-wire your central nervous system and supercharge your muscular power... for straight up-and-down vertical jump gains of 10 inches or more... all without the use of "jumping programs" or "platform shoes"..."
• "If you can touch the net, I guarantee you can dunk."