How to conduct the Vertec Jump test
It is important for any testing procedure that the conditions remain consistent throughout the assessment session. All tests should be conducted in an environment in which the floor surface and weather conditions are consistent as these could directly affect the results, particularly for a Vertec jump test. Without a consistent environment to test the results may not be reliable or valid and would, therefore, have to be disregarded.
To conduct the test, it is important to have the following:
- Consistent and reliable testing facility (e.g. gym)
- Vertec device*
- Performance recording sheet
*The Vertec device is comprised of plastic swivel vanes arranged in half-inch (1.25 cm) increments which are attached to a metal pole that can be adjusted to the athlete’s reach height. It requires the athlete to use their dominant hand to displace the highest possible vane with an overhead arm swing at the peak of their jump.
To standardise the test, the assessor must decide whether the participants will be using a single- or double-arm swing. The Vertec device requires the participant to hit the vanes with the dominant arm, therefore, it is not possible to conduct the test without any arm swing. Jumping with an arm swing has been shown to increase jump height by 10% or more [11, 12, 13]. If it is decided that only a single-arm will be swung, then it must be decided whether the other hand is held up in the air or placed on the hip.
The athlete does not need to keep their ankles, knees and hips extended (straight), as altering this will not change the measurement of the height of the jump as with some other devices. However, it is good practice to standardise the test to keep the protocols consistent, and the results reliable.
If the athlete jumps forwards, backwards or sideways the results can be affected. The athlete should, therefore, be instructed to jump as high as possible and land on the same spot. If the athlete deviates too far from this point (a landing area/ spot can be marked out), then the result should be disregarded and the jump repeated.
Once the test configuration has been set up and the athlete and assessor are ready, then the test may begin:
- The athlete should walk into the take-off/ landing area, and when instructed to by the assessor, jump as high as they can and land on the same spot.
- At the peak of their jump height, they should hit the vanes of the Vertec device to displace as many of them as possible.
- This should be repeated so that the athlete completes 3 jumps in total. This way, an average or best of the three jumps can be calculated.
How is the Vertec jump test performance measured?
Jump height is determined by the difference between the athletes standing reach height and the highest vane displaced. The results of the test are reported in terms of jump height (cm/inch).
To ensure a valid and reliable result, it is good practice to take an average of the three jumps performed by the athlete. The following formula can be used to calculate the average jump height:
Average jump height = (jump 1 + jump 2 + jump 3) / 3
Alternatively, the best score (i.e. highest jump) out of the three jumps can also be used.
The athletes’ jump height can be affected by a multitude of factors which should be considered when reviewing the results:
- Displacement from the take-off point
- Single- or double-arm swing
- Placement of the non-dominant hand if a single-arm swing is used
- Flexing of the hips, knees or ankles (bending)