How to Line Up for a Jump Ball in Basketball

The fact remains that unless you perfect every skill as a basketball player, you will be considered deficient or “incomplete” as a player, which means that you don’t have a solid basketball foundation.  At some point, your shaky foundation will catch up with you-and it might be too late for you make the corrections needed to excel at the highest level!

One of the skills you need master is the jump for the tap as the referee tosses the ball into the air; otherwise known as a jump ball. Control of the tap in a tight situation can very often mean victory or defeat.  Still, few players spend much time learning how to jump and tap the ball.

The Jump.

As the right-handed player lines up for the jump, he should stand with his left side facing the offensive basket. The lefty should have his right side facing the basket.

The jumper’s feet are to be about shoulder-width apart with heels off the floor. To prepare for the spring upward, the jumper should bend forward slightly, then, by dipping the knees, lower the body as much as he can without losing balance.

The head is turned toward the ball, the hands hang free…This, then, is the jumper’s basic position.

As the jumper, however, you do not leap straight into the air from this position. It has been found that a player can get more height to his jump if he takes a little hop before the major takeoff.

The practice jump…

Try this: take the basic position already described. Hop so that the feet go no more than an inch above the floor and come down in the same spot. Hop again. Hop again, but this time, as the feet strike the floor, let the knees dip and THEN make the jump for the ball. The principle is the same as that used when springing into a pool from a diving board; the diver goes up, comes clown to hit the board, then springs up and over into the water.

When jumping for the tap, you go up an inch, hit the floor and, with a great surge of power shoots upward.

The hop-and-jump, however, isn’t all that’s involved. As you go up for the ball, you should turn your body toward your opponent.

At the very top of the jump, your body is facing the offensive basket….

During this corkscrew turn, your hand nearest to your opponent is brought up so that the forearm crosses the stomach protectively.

The hand opposite the opponent before the jump is the hand used to tap the ball.

Use of the Hand.

Out jumping your opponent becomes meaningless if you cannot get the ball to the right spot. The tap must be just as accurate as a pass. It can be, if a player follows these suggestions:

Raise one arm straight toward the ceiling. Lay the wrist back as far as it will go. Spread the fingers loosely. Notice how the fingers form a cup.

Place a basketball on the tips of the fingers. Balance it there. Snap the wrist forward. Do this a few times and you will find that you can easily hit any target within a reasonable distance.

By turning the palm left, right or to the rear, you’ll be able to get the ball to any spot around you.

The arm and hand should be in the position described at the very top of the jump.

By following the guidelines above and practicing regularly, your ability to gain an “edge” over your opponent whenever you are involved in a jump ball should improve.  Visit to find more information on this topic, and to
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