If you play baseball and want to jump to the next level you might want to think about improving your hops (a.k.a vertical jumping ability). This post will talk about why jumping is important for baseball players as well as give you stats of how high elite level baseball players can jump.
When you think of jumping baseball is not the first sport that comes to mind. Sometimes you get an outfielder jumping to bring back a homerun or an infielder climbing the ladder to snatch a line drive out of the air.
These types of play are great but they are not the reason that I am stressing the importance of jumping. The ability to jump is more of an overall indicator of athletic ability. Getting your feet off the ground more than 24 inches requires muscles that are both STRONG and FAST. Do you know what happens when you put FAST and STRONG together? You get POWER.
Power is what makes the ball jump of the bat and it’s also what makes the ball jump out of your hand.
The Power of Jumping
When we look at jumping there is more to the story than just how high you can get. Baseball is a game that places a huge emphasis on power and the way to measure lower body power is to look at a combination of your jump height coupled with your body weight. The exact formula is at the end of this article but you can understand how a 200lbs guy that has a 20 inch vertical is going to be more powerful than the 150lbs guy with a 24 inch jump. In a study that looked at every player in the Texas Rangers organization for two years showed a correlation between home runs and jumping peak power but there was no such correlation with jump height by itself(1).
|Baseball Populaiton||Body Weight||Jump Height||Peak Power|
|Pro (16-19yrs), n=82||199||26.7||9276.3|
|Pro (20-22yrs), n= 285||204||27.7||9515.3|
|Pro (23-25yrs), n=364||211||27.6||9614.2|
|NAIA, n= 108||183||23.7||8542.8|
|High School, n= 494||164||18.9||7477.2|
So compare your jump ability to the stats of the elite players in this chart to see where you stand. Use these stats as a target for yourself and if you need to improve your jumping ability remember that you need to increase both the strength and speed of your lower body muscles. For the record most young athletes really need to focus on strength part of the equation.
How to measure your jump height & peak power
There are devices out there like jump mats or a vertex which measure your jump height but you can simply use a wall. Stand sideways agaisnt the wall and make a mark on it by reaching as high as you can without getting up on your toes. Next perform a stationary jump where you are only allowed to bend your legs and jump. Measure the distance between the highest mark you can make and your reach height in order to calculate your vertical jump height.
Once you know your jump height weight yourself and put these numbers into the following equation known as the Harman formula.
Peak power = (61.9 x jump height (cm)) + (36.0 x body mass (kg)) + 1,822
*Take note that weight is in centimeters and body mass is in kilograms – the world of science operates with the metric system.
**Take your body weight in pounds (lbs) and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms (kg).
***Take your jump height in inches (in) and multiply by 2.54 to get your jump height in centimeters (cm).
All of the numbers from the “Pro” players came from a study that got their numbers from the Tigers, Rangers, Mets and Reds organization – reference 2. In case you actually check out this study you will see that the peak power numbers are different from what they listed. I calculated the peak power based off the mean average of the weight and jump heights while the actual authors were able to calculate the individual peak power for each athlete then determine the mean average of the group. Their numbers were actually higher.
The stats from the NCAA, NAIA and High School players came from reference 3.
- ANTHROPOMETRIC AND PERFORMANCE COMPARISONS IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYERS. JAY R. HOFFMAN, JOSE VAZQUEZ, NAPOLEON PICHARDO, AND GERSHON TENENBAUM
- EFFECT OF AGE ON ANTHROPOMETRIC AND PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE MEASURES IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYERS. Gerald T. Mangine, Jay R. Hoffman, Maren S. Fragala, Jose Vazquez, Matthew C. Krause, Javair Gillett, Napoleon Pichardo.
- Baseball Athletic Test: A Baseball-Specific Test Battery. Frank J. Spaniol, EdD, CSCS*D