Is There Such a Thing as Hang Time?

May 30, 2009

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Is there such a thing as “Hang Time“? The short answer is – it is a matter of science – there is no such thing as “hang time”. Most people may not believe this, pointing to their favorite player and exclaiming how he can stay in the air longer than anyone else. But, in reality, any basketball player (including “Air Jordan” himself) just looks like they are hanging in the air.

Here’s the details of what is happening when a basketball player jumps (but any other sport where jumping is involved applies as well).

As he comes down the court, a player jumps and the laws of physics comes into play. This law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What this means then is that the player exerts a force against the floor and the floor pushes back against the foot. This action/reaction causes 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.

If a player is running during the jumping process, his/her center of mass follows a parabolic path, which basically looks like a rounded off mountain top. A persons “center of mass” is located around their midsection. This means that, if the person were to stay in exactly the same position during the entire jumping action, his/her midsection (and therefore, entire body) would follow this path. But as a player that is running jumps, the center of mass is lifted — and manipulated.

By bringing his knees up, he raises his center of mass relative to his head. He does that on his way up. On the way down, of course, he lowers his legs back down and that brings the center of mass back down. This effectively raises his head in comparison to the center of mass. The head does not follows the parabola. The head stays at one height.

So what you get is during part of the time, the head stays at the same height, but ,during the entire time the center of mass follows this parabola.

In essence, the player’s head is the key to why our eyes believe in hang time.

When we look at each other, we don’t usually look at the person’s “center of mass”. We usually concentrate on a person’s head (or at least the upper part of the whole body) . What happens then is somewhat of an “illusion”, but it really is happening; the head stays in the same place for an unnaturally long time because the person manipulates his center of mass.

Well, if “hang time” is not for real, how is it that one person can stay in the air longer than another person? The REAL answer is because they JUMP HIGHER.

If you can’t increase your hang time then, you have to learn to jump higher! How can you do this? Check out these Vertical Jump Program Reviews for more information.


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