Dunking, also known as slam dunk, is a basketball trick in which the player jumps in the air and dunks the ball in the basket with one or both the hands over the rim of the basketball hoop. It is a popular shot among the audience and provides an entertaining experience to the viewers. Slam dunk contests are also held separately due to the popularity of this shot.
Phases of the movement
There are four distinct phases involved in dunking. In the first phase, the player or MJ in this case, extends his body by bending his right knee and extending his left leg so that it propels him off the ground. In the second phase, he is jumping in the air and his right knee is more bent than his left knee. He also raises his right elbow and extends his left arm to the side to get into a neutral position while he is airborne. In the third phase, he extends his right arm even higher so that it goes over the rim and flexes his right wrist to throw the ball inside the hoop. His left hand is slightly behind his body to propel him to push higher towards the rim and both his legs are in the air and this position makes him airborne. In the fourth and last phase, he makes a downward rotation of the wrist and gains his balance while coming back to the ground. These are the four distinct phases involved in the dunking movement.
Major Joints Involved
There are numerous joints involved in this action and kinesiology studies the actions of each and every muscle that is a part of this action. The discussion of joints and muscles used in dunking is divided into the four phases as mentioned above.
The first joint is the left and right scapula joint that connects the upper body to the collar bone. These joints are activated when the player throws the ball over the rim. The muscles involved during this action are the middle and lower trapezius that support the arm and make the upward rotation possible and the serratus anterior that is present in the upper part of the rib region.
The second joint that is involved is the Glenohumeral (GH) joint or the shoulder joint that makes many movements possible in the human body. The primary muscle that is used in the left and right GH is the carocobrachialis. It is one of the smallest muscles of the body and is located in the upper part of the right and left arm. The next joint that is involved is the elbow joint that connects the forearm and the arm. The muscles of this joint that are used in dunking are Biceps brachii, brachialis and the brachioradialis. The biceps brachii or the commonly known biceps muscle is located in the upper arm and the brachialis is also present in the arm and it helps the elbow joint to make its movements. The brachioradialis is a muscle in the forearm that makes it possible for the elbow to perform flexion movements (Clare, 2008).
The radioulnar (RU) joint is another joint used in the dunking action. The left RU uses pronator teres, pronator quadratus and brachioradialus while the right RU uses biceps brachii, supinator muscle and brachioradialis. The pronator teres is a muscle that is located in the forearm and it works with another muscle called pronator quadratus to rotate the palm in the posterior direction. The right RU uses the biceps and the brachioradialis for elbow movements and another muscle called supinator that is located in the posterior side of the forearm. The primary job of this muscle is to supinate the forearm and make it possible to flex and extend the elbow.
The right wrist is a complex joint of eight bones that is located between the forearm and the palm. This movement uses only the right wrist to put the ball inside the hoop and the left wrist is in neutral position. The only muscle that is used in this joint is the extensor carpi radialis longus brevis. This muscle is a long one and it makes it possible for the hand to move towards the thumb. This is one of the main muscle of the wrist joint and it makes it possible to hold the ball.
In the second phase, the right and left scapula joints are used. While the right scapula uses the middle and lower trapezius and the serratus anterior, the left scapula uses pectoralis minor and rhomboid. The pectoralis minor is a thin muscle that is located in the upper region of the chest and the rhomboid muscles are shaped like a rhomboid and they connect the upper body to the vertebra in the back. The second joint that is used is the GH. While the right GH uses the carocobrachialis, the left GH uses teres major, lower pectoralis major and the latissmus dorsi. Teres major and the latissmus dorsi are located at the back and they help in the movements of the shoulder joint. The lower pectoralis major is a major chest muscle that helps the shoulder joint to rotate.
The next joint that is used is the elbow and the left elbow uses the triceps brachii and the anconeus muscles. The tricep is the largest muscle in the upper arm and along with the anconeus muscle in the posterior of the elbow, it helps to extend the elbow. The right elbow uses the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialus muscles explained in the first phase. The RU and the wrist muscles are the same as phase one.
In the third phase, the left scapula uses the middle trapezius and rhomboids while the right scapula uses the mid and lower trapezius and the serratus anterior. The GH joint is the same as phase two and the both the elbows use triceps brachii and anconeus muscles. The left RU uses biceps brachii, supinator muscle and brachioradialis while the right RU uses pronator teres, pronator quadratus and brachioradialus. Both the wrists use the flexor carpi radialis ulnaris and palmaris longus. The flexor muscle is on the anterior side of the forearm and along with palmaris longus, it helps to flex the hand. This is the movement that is required to dunk the ball.
In the fourth phase, the right and left scapula uses the mid trapezius and rhomboids while the left and right GH use the teres major, lower pectoralis major and latissmus dorsi muscles. The left elbow uses triceps brachii and anconeus while the right elbow uses biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialus. Both the wrists are in neutral position and the left and right RU use the pronator teres, pronator quadratus and brachioradialis muscles.
Important Mechanical Principles
Some of the important mechanical principles involved in dunking are upward rotation, flexion, pronation, supination, extension, downward rotation and adduction. Flexion is a movement that decreases the angle of the joints while extension increases it. In flexion, the muscles are brought towards each other and in extension, muscles are taken away from each other. A good example of flexion is the knee joints that are bent to help the player to remain air-borne while an example of extension is when the player extends his hand to reach for the rim. Pronation is the rotation of the forearm without the use of the shoulder and supination is the opposite of pronation.
The three important movements in dunking are flexion, pronation and extension. A good number of muscles in the upper body flex to make it possible for the player to have balance in the air and to help him to hold the ball while being air-borne and throw it into the rim. On the other hand pronation and extension help the player to perform the most important action and that is to throw the ball in the basketball hoop. This makes these three movements vital for dunking.
This model will require one basketball for each player and a basketball hoop of standard size. A basketball court should be the location for this model though other indoor and outdoor locations can also be used. The aim of this model is to teach students to dunk the ball using kinesiological principles. Each player gets to dunk the ball once and they can take turns with other students. (TES Connect, 2011).
The dunking can be a single step or double step take-off. The steps in a single step take off model are:
Dribble the ball towards the rim and then take two steps while firmly holding the ball with one hand.
At the end of the second step, jump as high as you can.
Extend your arms as much as you can towards the rim. Push the ball inside the rim with one hand.