How do Footballers Jump so High? | Full Guide

You may have seen images of Cristiano Ronaldo powering a header into the net, all the while his knees being level with the opposing defender’s head. This ability to leap to a height of 8 and a half foot is pretty unique in the modern game, but the ability is responsible for many of the great man’s goals.

Incredibly, his jump is higher than the average NBA player, a sport that is definitely more associated with jumping high than football is. But he’s not the only footballer who can jump high.

increasing athleticism in football(Soccer):

As footballers have become more athletic, it is common to see them leaping over players for headers, and it has become a vital skill for both defenders and attackers. However, footballers have so many other skills that they need to perfect; ball control, skills, tactics, pace and balance.

Not many players focus so much on jumping high, however Cristiano Ronaldo is definitely an exception, and has an entire training regime dedicated to jumping high.  

How can Players like Cristiano Ronaldo Jump so High? 

Firstly, DNA plays a big part. Of course, training is required, but the first step is having certain genetics which allow superior athletic ability. The DNA aspect comes from having ‘fast-twitch muscles’. Most people who can jump so high are born with a high percentage of fast-twitch muscles, which gives them explosive speed and power. Most footballers are gifted in this respect, however being able to jump high also requires consistent training.  

footballers jump high

Plyometric Training

The training regime starts from a young age. Youth players start plyometric training in their early teens, which is jumping while carrying a weight bar. They also do lunges and squats to develop their leg muscles. Other gym exercises like box jumps are used and combined with hurdle exercises. Key muscles need to be strong to allow footballers to jump so high and stay in the air.

Footballers also need to train and maintain important muscles regularly throughout their career too. This includes the calf muscles, hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Footballers train these regularly in the gym, usually using heavy weights for short sets to strengthen the muscles.

The type of exercises that footballers would do for this are single-leg squats, step-ups with dumbbells, and weighted sled drags, which is where players sprint while attached to a heavyweight behind them.  

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Core Training 

As well as this, core muscles must be developed. Strong stomach muscles allow footballers to move their back, shoulder, and neck muscles to jump and head a ball higher. One of Ronaldo’s favorite exercises is the pull-up burpee, which is burpees that incorporate a pull-up as part of the exercise.

Ronaldo also has the extraordinary ability to hang in the air. If you have seen some of his goals, especially in slow motion, it looks as if Ronaldo can not only jump over the defender but stay airborne for so long to power his header into the net.

He does this by, at the peak of the jump, tucking in his legs giving him a boost that slows down his descent. That is why it looks like he is hanging in the air. 

Diet & Lifestyle

However, it is not just genetics and a training regime that is required to be a truly elite athlete. Ronaldo is the perfect example of a footballer who dedicates his whole lifestyle to football, and it has allowed him to become an incredible player who uses his athleticism to jump higher than anyone else in the game. Ronaldo revealed the sacrifices he makes to perfect his ability.

Firstly, his diet. Ronaldo doesn’t drink alcohol at all, and he sticks to a high protein diet consisting of wholegrain carbs, fruit and vegetables. He revealed that it is actually his mother who makes making many of his healthy dishes.

Ronaldo avoids sugary foods and drinks, but perhaps most unusually, he doesn’t eat any large meals. Ronaldo has 6 smaller dishes a day so he can refuel and feel reenergized for each training session that he has throughout the day.

footballers jump high

Recovery  

After games, instead of relaxing as many footballers would, he goes straight to the swimming pool to work on his leg and arm muscles, which works out the muscles as well as provides gentle recovery for the muscles which have been under high strain during a match.

These include muscles around joints and in the legs. Ronaldo, among many other players in the modern game, has his own £50,000 Cryotherapy chamber at home.

This allows his body to be exposed to temperatures between minus 160-200°C, which reduces pain and inflammation. The feeling of aching after hard sessions and matches must be a very unfamiliar feeling in the modern game.

sleep:

Importantly, Ronaldo also ensures he gets plenty of sleep, at least 8 hours per night. As its scientifically proven that sleep is the natural healing process for the worn-out muscles. A well-kept sleep schedule is a must for a footballer for the recovery after match nights and intense training sessions.

Football has grown to be a physically demanding sport, where the physical limitations are constantly being pushed and stretched on the field. Among other modern recovery methods, the primitive and natural way of recovery through sleep still stands first. And top notch players like Cristiano Ronaldo don’t neglect it!

Where is Jumping Important in Football? 

Footballers jump high no matter their position and role on the pitch. Below is a breakdown of how players can benefit from jumping high.

footballers jump high

Goalkeeper

It’s essential for goalkeepers to be able to jump high when claiming balls in the air from corners, free-kicks and crosses. It’s valuable for a team to have a goalkeeper who can take the pressure off the defence by jumping higher than the attackers and catching the ball from aerial balls into the box.

Even though keepers are generally the tallest players on the pitch, its essential they can outjump even the tallest strikers. 

Full-Backs

Fullbacks are often not the tallest players on the pitch. However, as defenders, they are in and around the box when aerial balls come into the box. You often see strikers lurk at the back post to exploit the full-back in the air as they are traditionally shorter than center-backs. This is why it’s essential to full backs can jump high to be able to defend against strikers and win headers 

Centre-Backs

The Centre back is possibly the most important position for jumping ability. Centre backs head the ball significantly more than any other players on the pitch, and have to deal with the most aerial duals. It is expected that center-backs win headers defensively, but also provide a threat in the opposition box for corners.

The ability to jump high gives center-backs an advantage over strikers and also means they can score a few goals a season from set-piece situations 

Central Midfielders & Wingers

In terms of the importance of jumping high, these positions are probably the least. Central midfielders would have to deal with a few aerial duals from goal kicks, but overall, they won’t need to win headers often. Wingers are usually smaller than most players, and focus more on pace and supplying balls into the box.

However, there are examples of wingers with brilliant jumping ability who score plenty of headed goals. Sadio Mane is an example of a winger with a great leap and almost 10% of his premier league goals have been headers.

As mentioned, Cristiano Ronaldo has an unbelievable ability to jump high and often plays on the wing. This can be a valuable asset for a team to have wingers with pace, and ability to score great goals from the floor as well as being a huge threat in the air 

Strikers

Jumping high is a valuable asset for a striker. Of course, out-jumping defenders and scoring headers is a huge advantage, but also, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have shown, they can use this skill for bicycle kicks and scissor kicks.

Being able to jump high and have agility has allowed Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo to score some fantastic goals over the years. Also, an honorable mention must go to Robin van Persie, who’s volley against Charlton in 2006 wouldn’t have been possible without his ability to leap high off the ground. 

how high an average footballer can jump?

At last, we have to admit that the human body has its own limitations. Regardless of how athletic a footballer (soccer player) is, there are a few standard constraints that do apply to him/her also. Football invlolves a lot of jumping during certain situations like aerial tackling, heading the goal, and many more instances on the pitch.

It has calculated that an average footballer can jump around 2-3 feet above their natural height. This number varies according to the physical stature and fitness of the player in question. Tall players like Cristiano Ronaldo, who also happen to be a fitness addict, are no doubt one of the highest jumpers in the world. Now you know why!

Conclusion

Overall, footballers benefit from jumping high, but also there are added benefits of improved athleticism and power in general. Football is becoming a sport that is focused around pace, power and pure athleticism, highlighted by today’s greatest players, Ronaldo, De Bruyne, Mane, van Djik, Pogba, Adama Traore and Salah.

Of course, there are still fantastic players that excel in technical ability and tactical awareness without the athletic ability of those players mentioned, but there are far less of these players at the top level than in previous decades.

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