Subjects performed maximum vertical jumps on a force platform to reveal whether resulting force-time curves could identify characteristics of good performances. Instantaneous power-time curves were also derived from the force-time curves. Eighteen temporal and kinetic variables were calculated from the force- and power-time curves and were compared with the takeoff velocities and maximum heights via correlation and multiple regression. The large variability in the patterns of force application between the subjects made it difficult to identify important characteristics of a good performance. Maximum positive power was found to be an excellent single predictor of height, but the best three-predictor model, not including maximum power, could only explain 66.2% of the height variance. A high maximum force (> 2 body weights) was found to be necessary but not sufficient for a good performance. Some subjects had low jumps in spite of generating high peak forces, which indicated that the pattern of force application was more important than strength.