Besides the games themselves, another thing basketball fans often hear about on the blogs at Barry’s Tickets is player injuries. Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo, for instance, is still recuperating from an ACL tear he suffered in January of this year. The sheer physicality of basketball can result in significant strain and injury for even the hardiest of athletes, which is why intensive training is essential to prevent serious injuries like Rondo’s. Here are some exercise routines that can help to prevent injury on the court.
It’s important to dedicate at least two or three days out of the week to low-intensity cardiovascular exercises, but running is not recommended. Swimming, bicycling, walking, and certain gym equipment, like the elliptical or rowing machine, are ideal for this purpose.
Strength training should begin with low-intensity exercise that helps to build muscle strength in the trunk and lower back where all movements of the arms and legs originate. Instead of adding heavier weights or more reps, players should focus on shorter reps with lighter weights to help condition joints, muscles and ligaments, and then follow up with plyometric training to build on the power they’ve developed in those muscles.
Paired with a thorough warm-up, daily stretching exercises can help to keep the body limber and help prevent any loss of existing flexibility. For those who can’t fit daily stretching exercises into their routine, they should aim for at least three sessions of stretching exercises each week. Yoga and Tai Chi are also popular options that offer a bit of variety for those who wish to improve their flexibility.
Plyometric exercises make use of the body’s natural reflex to prevent strain or injury to the muscles. For the legs, bounding and hopping exercises help to improve the player’s performance, while push-ups and working with a medicine ball can help increase upper body power. Due to the rigorous nature of plyometric training, however, it’s important to have a strength training regimen in place before beginning this type of conditioning.
Agility drills are helpful because they improve a player’s ability to change direction without sacrificing their momentum. The Box drill involves sectioning off a box on the court and placing a cone at the center. When the player’s name is called, they race to the center of the square, touch it, and then race back to their starting position.