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Volleyball/What's a typical vertical reach for a teenage vball player


QUESTION: My high school sophomore daughter has received a letter from a small university coach. They are looking at her as a setter. We researched how to measure vertical, standing, block, and approach. She is 5.4 and we measured her vertical reach according to our research and came up with 13.5" but that seems short.  She is still growing, but is that any where close to average for her age and height? Thank you.

ANSWER: Good morning Brenda and welcome to!  
It's great to hear from you.

Yes, 13.5 is a lower # than normal. But it may be accurate.  Some girls are "big girls," and getting off the floor is challenging.  Also, there are many athletes who just aren't good jumpers. That's the way it is. (And even thought you will see ads claiming to improve your daughter's vertical by 5-10 inches, that's about as likely as increasing her SAT score by 200-300 points.....possible, but not likely....but these claims take a lot of money from a lot of people!)

Question:  Are you using a Vertec device?  You may have google that to see what I'm talking about.  I just googled "Vertec jumping" then touched "images" and that's it.  I ask b/c in my experience, that will actually OVER measure a girl's vertical.

The old fashioned way of measuring vertical:
* Find a tall wall.  It needs to be about 9' high.  
* Give a girl a piece of chalk.  Really.  Like teachers used to use.  Have her go up to a wall, extend completely, then make a mark on the wall.
* Then, the girl takes 2 steps back.  She can then do "left-right-jump" or "right-left-jump" and make another mark on the wall.  
* Measure the difference in the marks in inches.  That's her vertical leap.  

** Warning:  If you're using the chalk method, I recommend an athlete do her steps parallel to the wall; otherwise, she could ram her knees or elbows into the wall.  Ouch!

Instead of chalk, I've seen people use a piece of pencil lead.  I've also seen girls dip their fingers into anything like the chalk that gymnasts use.  Whatever works!  

What else can I do for you today?  Please let me know here, or at  

If your team would like a fun, inexpensive, yet intense professional site camp next summer, please check us out at  We've directed 50 the past 5 summers, and our goal is 15 this summer.  Please let us know what we can do to help your daughter and her team.  

Coach Houser

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your quick response. We used a piece of tape on the tip of her finger because we were using my kitchen wall.  Upon further research this morning, I am not sure we were measuring correctly.  We'll measure again and try coming from the side,  plus I've asked her coach to measure it herself today. She is usually Libero, but was the Setter in a tourney so this is not her usual position.

Good morning!
If possible, send me a video of what you've done.  
You can attach to an email, or you can post it on YouTube.
In this manner, I can see if what you're doing is accurate.  

Now, if you do it again, and she's at 20, that's a remarkable difference. Let me see the video.  

If you do it again, and she's at 25, then that's now at the top 5% of h.s. jumpers.  30 is getting into the stratosphere.  You probably already have a good idea how your daughter's leeping ability compares to her see them every night.  13 is below average.  I'd say 16 is average for a high school athlete.

Please keep in touch, and let me know what i can do for you anytime!
Coach Houser


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Tom Houser


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