An athlete’s wingspan is a very important factor in determing their athletic potential. If you want proof, all you have to do is look at NBA pre-draft camps. All the athletes that get a huge ‘buzz’ at these events are usually those with ridiculously large wingspans. For some reason, scouts and general managers love athletes with long arms.
Why is this?
Well, in basketball, the longer your arms are, the bigger the advantage you have. This also applies to other sports that require you to use your arms, like volleyball and American football. On the other hand, your wingspan doesn’t matter at all in a sport like soccer, where you’re not allowed to use your arms.
A longer wingspan means more usable ‘length’. In basketball, your height is really not that important. In fact, your standing reach and wingspan are better metrics to use. With everything else being equal, the longer your arms are, the more rebounds, blocks, steals, and pass deflections you can get.
An average wingspan is one that matches your height. So, if you stand 5’10” tall and your wingspan is also 5’10”, you have an average wingspan. On the other hand, if you are 5’10” and have a 6’8″ wingspan, you have an extremely large wingspan, and NBA scouts will LOVE you:-)
Of course, other things matter in determining your athletic potential. Your skill level, work ethic, determination, speed, and vertical jump all come into play.
Unfortunately, your wingspan is completely genetic. There is nothing you can do to increase it. With that being said, your skills, work ethic, determination, speed, and vertical jump are all things that you CAN improve.
If you have a large wingspan, GREAT! You have a big edge over your fellow athletes. If you have an average or below-average wingspan, do not despair. Simply train to improve vertical jump and to improve other areas of your game.
In conclusion, both wingspan and vertical leap are important in sports. You cannot really do anything about your wingspan, so focus on training to jump higher if you want to give yourself an edge over your competition.