Skills

How To Dunk A Basketball

Progression

From there, work your way up. Jeff Haefner of Breakthrough Basketball suggests starting with smaller balls like a golf ball or tennis ball to practice timing and elevation. It's a little harder than just grabbing the rim, and a good step toward throwing down a big ball.

"You'll find it's much harder to dunk with a full-sized ball," Haefner said. "Your timing and vertical leap is the key."

Keep that in mind, and progress slowly. A mini basketball is a little more challenging than a tennis ball, but it's easy to palm and that helps. See if you can get high enough to get your hand over the rim--almost up to your wrist--so you can stuff the mini ball. If you can't throw it down with a little authority, a bigger basketball won't be any easier.

From there, you can try a four-square ball or a volleyball. Both are a pretty good size but soft enough to be able to grip.

Remember that fatigue is a factor, and you probably have only so many jumps in a session before your legs wear out. Once you're not 100 percent, you don't stand a chance at dunking for the first time. Don't get frustrated if your 15th attempt of the day isn't as good as your third or fourth try. That's normal.

With a Ball

If you're on the verge of dunking, being able to palm a normal basketball will help immensely. If your hands aren't big enough, you can go up holding the ball over your hand like a waiter holding a plate of food. Take care of it--the rock often gets away from players mid-jump, making the attempt worthless.

Work at it, and focus. You'll probably get painfully close dozens of times before you break through and finally get a clean one. You're first "dunk" might be a little ugly and won't be with force. It doesn't mean it doesn't count.

The slam dunk is a beautiful play that only a small portion of the population can do, which adds to the allure of it. If you're right on the dunk's doorstep, don't give up. Work hard at it and keep your confidence high. When it finally does go down, it will be worth it in the end.

That's a promise.

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