Can You Dunk in High School Basketball? Find Out Here!

Dunking is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of basketball. Not only does it provide basketball players to earn more points, but at the same time, it also displays awe-inspiring athleticism.

In simple words, a dunk is a practice of slamming the ball through the basketball hoop by jumping in the air. It has become a routine in NBA games to please the fans by displaying different types of creative dunks. But can you dunk in high school basketball? Find out here!

A Brief History of Dunking in Basketball!

Before getting into the details of the legality of dunking in high school basketball games, let’s first discuss a brief history of this exciting move. According to Interbasket, the Olympic gold medalist, Robert Albert Kurland, who is also known as Bob Kurland invented the dunk move back in 1945-1946.

He was 7 feet tall and used to play for Oklahoma State (Oklahoma A&M back then) and used the slam dunk routinely. At that time, it was known as dunk shot and Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain are also two big names who used to perform dunk shots routinely because of their size and height.

Can You Dunk in High School Basketball?

Can You Dunk in High School Basketball? Find Out Here!

The High school sports as well as NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) banned the dunk shot or slam dunk back in 1967. The dunk move remained illegal till 1976.

Now all the Rules codes including FIBA, NBA, WNBA, NCAA both men’s and women’s, and NFHS allow live ball dunking. However, there are still some important points about the dunking rules that you must know as a high school basketball player.

For example, NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) doesn’t allow dead ball dunking.

Is it Legal to Take 3 Steps to Dunk?

If you take more than two steps while holding the ball then it’ll be considered a “travel”. Most of the time, you’ll need to catch the ball by taking one step but you’ll have no control over it and you might need to take 2 more steps in order to perform a slam dunk.

So, it’s considered legal in the game. But you’ll need to make sure that you don’t take the third step after catching the ball to avoid the “travel”.

NFHS Dunking Rules During the Game

If you’re playing high school basketball, the rules allow you to dunk during the game. However, dunking is completely prohibited while there is a break in the action or the clock is stopped. The referee has the authority to call a technical foul if a player dunks, while the game has been stopped due to any reason.

It’s also critically important to grab the ball outside the cylinder and basket during the game if you want to dunk legally. It means that you can’t perform a slam dunk by jumping and reaching the ball if it’s right above the cylinder or touching the top of the rim.

Your team will be awarded 2 points if you successfully perform a slam dunk by avoiding all the illegal actions.

Dunking Dead Ball and in Pregame Warmups

The dead-ball dunking is considered a technical foul for both men and women. Dunking is also prohibited by NFHS during pregame warmups and it’ll also be considered a technical foul. Both players and coaches can be ejected if they acquire 2 technical fouls.

If you attempt a slam dunk and hang on the rim or slap the backboard, you’ll be assessed a technical foul. It’s legal to hang on the rim to maintain yourself in order to avoid falling, but you’re not allowed to pull up.

Dunking Rules While in the Air

Another important rule that NFHS outlines is that if two players are in the air, where one is trying to dunk over the other, then neither of them are allowed to initiate the contact.

NCAA Dunking Rule

There’s no penalty for dead-ball or pregame dunking for both men and women.

What are the Different Types of Dunks?

There are many types of dunks that you can use to earn points for your team. We’ve compiled a list of some most common types.

Two Hands Dunk

Generally, you must be able to hold the ball by using just one hand if you want to dunk. In basketball terms, this grip is called palming. However, you can use both of your hands for dunking and some popular players even prefer this style.

Not only does it allow you to prevent losing your grip but it also makes it less likely that the defender will knock away the ball. Not to mention, it can also improve your IT factor.

Alley-Oop Dunk

You’ll need another player for assistance In order to execute the alley-oop dunk successfully. In simple words, a player sends the ball in the direction of the hoop under game conditions. You’ll need to throw the ball down through the basket by catching it in flight.

The best way to coordinate with other players to execute the alley-oop successfully is to make eye contact before the play.

Windmill Dunk

It’s one of the most exciting types of basketball dunks where you jump with the ball up to your waist and move your arm in a circular motion straight back and up before dunking. It got its unique name because the whole action resembles the windmill rotation.

Behind the Head Dunk

It’s done directly from underneath the basket. It happens when you’re facing away from the hoop, jump with the ball by holding it in both hands, and then extend your arms to dunk the ball from behind your head.

Foul Line Dunk

The foul line dunk is now commonly seen at various dunk competitions and it started back in 1976 in the NBA All-Star Game. You’re given a running start to execute this dunk from behind the foul line and you’ll need to jump towards the basket after reaching the foul line. The ball should be extended in front of your body and it should also be held high before you throw it through the basket.

How to Train Yourself to Dunk?

There are multiple ways to train yourself to dunk. It can be a challenging task and it’s important to train your body properly to display your athleticism.

Strength Training

Physical strength is one of the major limiting factors for many athletes. Not only does it include your jumping ability but it is also true for your agility, quickness, and speed. You’ll need to be strong enough to move your weight efficiently through the court.

Some people naturally have lean muscle mass and athletic bodies and if you’re one of those then consider yourself a winner of the genetic lottery. That’s because people who are not natural athletes need to put a lot of effort and hard work to improve their muscles and increase strength.

The best way to improve your athletic performance is to opt for Olympic-style lifting and strength training.

Improve Your Vertical Leap

Strength training also allows you to condition your body to jump higher with more power. However, there are some other exercises and training that can help you to improve your vertical leap.

For most athletes, including basketball players, skipping rope is one of the best exercises. Not only does it allow you to develop agility and quick feet but it also helps you to jump higher. You can also mix the skipping rope exercise with one-legged or double-skip jumps.

You can also consult with your high school basketball coach to undergo a plyometric program. However, it’s a very advanced exercise that you should only consider based on professional advice.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Strength training and other exercises that we have discussed so far will allow you to observe that you’re getting closer to your goal. You must keep in mind that dunking isn’t only about jumping higher. You must also be able to handle the ball without traveling.

It can only be done through practice. You can start with a mini basketball, a volleyball, or even a women’s basketball to improve your grip. Be patient, keep yourself under control, and practice as much as possible until you reach your goal.

Cautions and Tips

You’ll be feeling your oats, once you learn to slam dunk a basketball but there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind to keep yourself from embarrassment and injury.

Be Careful

The first and by far the most important thing to keep in mind is to be careful while dunking. Your way down to the floor won’t be easy and you’ll need to stay under control. Carelessness can ruin your season and even your whole career if you bust up your knee or ankle.

Avoid Portable Goals

Unless you want to go viral on the internet in a bad way or end up in the hospital, avoid practicing slam dunks if the goals are portable. They tend to tip over and can lead to serious injuries.

Don’t Make the Habit of Grabbing the Rim

As mentioned, grabbing or hanging on the rim without any good reason is not legal in basketball games. You’ll end up getting a technical foul and you can also fall by losing your balance.