Can A Player Actually "Hang" In The Air?

By: Jayden Shemayah


Is there such a thing as "Hang Time"? In one word, "no" - scientific truth will back this up. Many people will not believe this, pointing to their favorite player and at the same time exclaim how he can dangle in the air longer than someone else. The truth is that no matter what it may seem like, no player can hover in the air longer than any other..

Here's the particulars of what is happening when a basketball player jumps (or any other game where jumping is involved).

As he is coming down the court and jumps, scientific laws begin to apply. These laws state that each action has an equivalent and opposite reaction. What this means in layman's terms is that the player pushes against the floor and the floor exerts a force back. This action/reaction makes the player to leave the floor. The more force the player uses when pushing against the floor, the more force the floor exerts back - resulting in the player going higher into the air.

This action is compounded as a player is running as he is jumping. His center of gravity will go along a parabolic route throughout this process. A persons "center of mass" is located near their midsection. This means that, if the person were to continue in precisely the same position for the extent of the whole jumping action, his/her midsection (and therefore, full body) would go along this route. Typically though, a player does not stay in the identical position. He will bend and twist.

By raising his knees, he's raising his center of mass relative to his head. He does that on his way up. As he comes back down then, he puts his legs back down. This makes his center of gravity lower. This in effect raises his head in relation to the center of mass. The head does not follow the parabolic path. It remains in the same place.

If you can envisage it then, the head follows a even course up and down although the person's center of mass does not.

In essence, the player's head is the key to why we believe in hang time.

While we look at each other, we don't usually look at the person's "center of mass". We typically concentrate on a person's head (or at least the upper part of the whole body) . What happens at that instant is a bit of an "illusion", but it really is happening. The person's center of mass is changing and this causes his head to stay in the identical position for a longer period.

If one person can't hang in the air longer than another, what is the solution? The REAL solution is because that person JUMPS HIGHER. If you can't improve your hang time then, you have to learn to jump higher! How can you do this? Like most things it is best to have a "program" to help you.

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