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How to Keep Your Basketball Games Injury-Free

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It’s official.  March Madness is over, the Duke Blue Devils are the champions, and we don’t have to endure that agonizing feeling anymore when yet another notch on our bracket busts!  But basketball will remain on the brain for many; especially as the weather continues to warm up and the opportunities to play pick-up games are more frequent.  If you followed the NCAA tournament, you probably noticed before the whistle, the players did a good stretch and warm-up.  This is a crucial part of any game, even an informal pick-up one, that we ‘normal’ players tend to skip altogether.

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So in light of basketball continuing even after this season’s champion was named, here are a few important stretching techniques that will help you improve your game and prevent injuries from happening:

Quadriceps Stretch: Stand up while holding your balance with one hand.  Use the other one to hold your ankle back as you bend your knee. You should feel the stretch on the front of your thigh.  For basketball, this stretch will help you with your sprinting, agility, and jumping.  Perform stretch three times holding for 20 seconds each time.

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Wall Lat Stretch: Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height.  Take a step back, folding at the hips until your arms and torso form a straight line.  You should feel a stretch in your middle to lower back.  For basketball, this stretch helps that jumping motion and will also help them use the correct form in your defensive stance.  Perform stretch three times holding for 20 seconds each time.

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Hamstring Stretch: Stand and bend over, keeping your legs straight and try to touch tour toes. You should feel the stretch on the back of your thighs.  This stretch will help prevent injuries while you are slowing down and changing directions in basketball.  Perform stretch three times holding for 20 seconds each time.

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The next few stretches are dynamic or moving stretches.  These will help warm up your body and get the blood flowing through your muscles.

High Knees: Jog up and down the court as you bring your knees up towards your chest with each step.  Do this 5 times.

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Butt Kicks: Jog up and down the court while you try to kick your feet back and hit your behind.  Do this 5 times.

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Side Steps: Side step up and down the court in a semi-squat stance.  Do this 5 times.

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Back Pedal: Jog backwards up and down court.  Do this 5 times.

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Finally, it’s important to shoot around before starting a game.  Start a short distance from the basket and work your way out towards the free throw line and around the corners. Always follow through and be patient.  Starting any new activity or getting back to playing one after a long break takes some time to finesse.  Don’t rush your moves and be sure to do these easy stretches and warm-ups so you avoid injury.

A little prevention can go a long way to living a healthier lifestyle or just kick starting those health and fitness goals you’ve set for yourself.  Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center today at 703-450-4300 if you are experiencing pain, trying to bounce back from an injury, or just looking for some guidance in developing a fitness plan.  We will give you the tools to help you get back to the activities you love to do, pain-free.

Continue to visit our website at www.loudounsportstherapy.com for the latest health tips and physical therapy research.

We care. We listen. We get RESULTS

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