Why Jumping is Important for Baseball Players

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).

The Stats

Baseball   Populaiton Body Weight Jump Height Peak Power
Sample Size lbs Inches Watts
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
NCAA, n=34 187 27.0 9127.1
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 (W) = (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).

Geeky Details

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.

References

  1. ANTHROPOMETRIC AND PERFORMANCE COMPARISONS IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYERS.  JAY R. HOFFMAN, JOSE VAZQUEZ, NAPOLEON PICHARDO, AND GERSHON TENENBAUM
  2. 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.
  3. Baseball Athletic Test: A Baseball-Specific Test Battery.  Frank J. Spaniol, EdD, CSCS*D
Advertisements

5 comments

  1. jeff kallman

    jumping , twists and weighted sand tube hip snaps) I find to be the things that our pitchers do that is different from others around our town. Before we even start drills for mechanics- we do kareoki with emphasis on dominant hip to snap, then we do left to right s over a ditch, followed by jumping using plant foot for distance and heighth, followed by a trash can jump with blocks for every jump cleared we add a block. After that we do twists- left foot only twist, then right foot, then a left right combo, followed by a 360 twists- the goal of each is to achieve as many rotations as you can before landing. example on 360 twists the maximum rotations that have been achieved are 2.2 rotations- what you find is those that have that type of rotation tend to have higher velo than the others of the same age. and it creates a little compettion amongst the boys as well. we are big believers in jumping here. I have 4th graders throwing in the mid 50’s, 5th graderes in mid upper 60’s, 8th graders in mid 70’s, 9th graders in high 70’s and low 80’s , soph in high 80’s etc. without arm, shoulder issues becasue it is all focused on lower body with proper arm mechanics and timing. A+ legs with C- arm in the later innings is what we say. so I like your work. it gives me confidence to keep doing what we are doing. Thanks

    • Graeme Lehman

      Jeff,
      These are all great ideas. I have also been doing some of these types of 360 jumps which my youngers guys like doing. I think that the combination of these types of “special” strength drills coupled with a great foundation of traditional strength are what really makes the difference. I know of some gyms that just focus on one or the other and as a result don’t get the desired results.

      Keep up the good work.
      Graeme Lehman

  2. Brendan

    Hi Graeme,
    I just read the post about jumping ability and strength. So what would you recommend for z baseball player? Anything different than your recommendations on the “accelerate the game” post? (Squats, Deadlifts, Bulgarian Split Squats, RDL’s and Hip Thrusts)
    Thanks,
    Brendan

    • Graeme Lehman

      Brendan,
      These exercises are the foundation for building a better vertical leap. Once appropriate levels of strength are in place the use of plyometrics can add inches to an athletes vertical jump.
      Thanks for reading
      Graeme Lehman

  3. Test-o-boost reviews

    Hello There. I discovered your weblog using msn.
    That is an extremely well written article.

    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll
    certainly return.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s