Jumping efficiently is an important skill in soccer! There are some top players who made a full career out of this single skill and were able to score a lot of goals over the years …
… However, there are important related questions that come to mind!
For example, how high can soccer players actually jump? And how to utilize that to make the most out of each opportunity?
… In this Post, I address these questions and much more!
How high does the average Soccer player Jump?
In the book Training for Soccer Players (Check it Here on Amazon) by Marc Briggs (2013), he provided a list of standing vertical test norms for soccer players. Ranges from 28 inches on the excellent end of the spectrum to 8.6 inches on the poor end – these were averages for male athletes. Women athletes range from 24 inches to 4.4 inches.
Height is one of the biggest factors if all else is compared equally. One study found shorter players from Hong Kong were able to jump higher than players from France, but unable to come close to Scandanavian players who were much taller.
How to measure the jump height?
Soccer players utilize short sprints more often in the sport, and jumping ability is a good test of power.
Jump height is measured by the vertical jump test. The goal of the test is to determine how far an athlete can lift themselves off the ground.
It is an excellent indication of an athlete’s true athletic ability. Coaches, recruiters, and the players themselves will get a better understanding of their leg power, which plays a big part in performance for almost all sports.
The test itself is simple. All an athlete has to do is jump up as high as they can from a stationary position and take a measurement of the distance.
A vertical jump test device is typically used to measure the distance. It is a vertical pole with horizontal flags at the top. The higher the athlete jumps, the flags they reach and move in order to take a measurement.
A simple wall jump can also be used to measure distance jumped.
What factors do influence the jump height?
Although soccer players do not spend a lot of time in the air, vertical jumping ability is a demonstration of explosive ability. It’s not to say soccer players do not jump, because anyone familiar with the sport will tell you a player will reach for the skies if it means they can retrieve the ball.
Here is a list of generic factors that could affect jumping capabilities:
- Playing Position
- Training emphasis
Males tend to have higher vertical jump heights when compared to their female counterparts. Height and muscle mass play a role in that large gap.
However, training emphasis can reverse the gap. A female volleyball player may have a higher vertical jump as opposed to an offensive guard football player.
Who has the highest vertical jump in soccer?
It should come as no surprise to hear Cristiano Ronaldo has the highest vertical jump. This is one of his many skills that he continuously showcase, especially in the most decisive matches!
How high can he actually jump?
With a two-step run-up, one less than a basketball player, Ronaldo climbed an impressive 2.8 feet off the ground. With a running start he can reach 3 feet off the ground. As a matter of fact, he can jump higher than the average NBA player.
In 2011, University of Chichester performed a biomechanic test on Ronaldo. What they discovered was he generates 5G of force on take off, five times the power of a cheetah in full flow.
The power allows him to reach 1.5 feet from a standing start.
He was able to display this many times on the field. One particular famous moment of his is when he scored a header against Manchester United back in 2013 …
… The goal was so iconic it prompted Real Madrid to create the “Can you jump as high as Ronaldo” game.
The game had fans try to hit a ball 9.4 feet in the air with their heads.
Do soccer players jump higher than basketball players?
On average, soccer players do not have a higher vertical jump than basketball players!
Keep in mind all the factors that determine an athlete’s jump height. Besides average height of basketball players typically higher than soccer players, also consider they train specifically to jump higher.
Since nothing can be done about height, what can a soccer player learn from a basketball player regarding jumping abilities? For one, to focus on jumping more often.
Basketball players rely on their ability to jump for offensive and defensive purposes. Which is why emphasis is placed on jumping during their training.
On the opposite end, most soccer players on the field are not relying heavily on their jumping abilities. The sport is down on the field, not up in the air. But improving vertical jump height translates to more scoring chances and a better ability to defend in situations like corners kids!
What playing positions require jumping capabilities?
All players on the field should benefit from improving their jumping capabilities!
If the ball is the air, the only way to get it back is to go up there and get it. If not, a player runs the risk of the opposing team getting to it first, or the ball comes down in their favor.
Goalkeepers owe it to themselves to improve their vertical jump, so much so, many epic saves (Iker Casillas comes to mind) were done because of that …
… The higher they can jump, the more likely they will be able to stop the ball from getting past them, especially overhead.
Additionally, in tandem with them would be a midfielder that can jump high enough to retrieve the ball once it’s thrown into play.
Also, strikers (Miroslav Klose comes to mind) with good jumping ability will benefit by having a significant advantage scoring headers quite easily!
Drills to improve your ability to jump higher
Now that you know how important jumping is in soccer, it is time to learn drills on how to improve your jumping height.
These drills can be included into your normal training program.
As with any exercise, it is best to practice the movements first and understand the goal of it along with a proper warm up.
First drill is the Squat Jump. This drill is used quite a bit to measure lower-body power.
Here are the steps.
- Stand in an athletic stance – Feet shoulder width apart with slight bend in the knees. Hands to your sides. Chest up.
- Drop your hips and begin bending the knees forward. Bring your hands back.
- Do not go far in your drop, you want to “load” your legs. A 45 degree angle is ideal.
- Swing your arms forward towards the sky as you jump upwards. Your arms help with exploding upwards.
- Land back down on your feet with your arms swinging back as you make contact.
You can advance the drill by tucking your knees at the top of your jump. Simply bring your knees to your chest at the peak of your jump and then lower them to brace for impact on your way down.
The next drill is the Broad Jump. This drill will test your explosive leg power.
Here are the steps.
- Athletic stance – Chest up, feet shoulder width apart, arms to your sides. Slight bend in knees.
- Swing arms back as you drop into a quarter squat – “Load” the legs.
- Jump forward – Swing arms in tandem with your legs springing forward.
- Land into a squat – When you make impact on the ground, drop your hips into a full squat position using your arms to gain balance.
Sprinting and leg specific weight training exercises will also improve your jumping abilities.
Things to watch out for while jumping in a soccer game!
Accidents and injuries happen out on the field. One of the best ways to avoid these during jumping is to know your surroundings before you jump. When two players go for the ball in the air, head collisions are common occurrences.
Another issue is when one player jumps and their elbow makes contact with another player still one the ground as the airborne player comes down.
Often overlooked injuries that occur during jumping is shin splints and rolled ankles. Shin splints occur when the muscles in the lower legs are stressed beyond their capabilities. Drills and practice are good ways to prevent these injuries.
Ankle injuries from incorrect landings can be avoided the same as shin splints. Practice landing safely and you will avoid injuring your ankle.
But also having the right shoes for the sport is important. Soccer cleats with ankle support (Check it Here on Amazon) will help prevent some injuries. The added protection is worth the investment in high quality soccer cleats.
It will do you no good if they are not tied properly. Always make sure your cleats are tied and fit correctly.
Loose cleats are a surefire way of rolling your ankle, sometimes before you have the opportunity to even make that jump you were going for.
Final Thoughts …
To be honest, I don’t recommend you go too nerdy about this topic! It is not that interesting to continually measure your jump height …
… What I recommend on the other hand, is to improve jump height by only focusing on the drills I’ve explained above and also on the security measures I’ve just breakdown to avoid injuries!