Basketball is a highly technical game involving excellent hand/eye coordination. The game also involves tremendous amounts of conditioning.
It is extremely essential for a player to be thoroughly warmed up and ready to play before any game.
A good warm-up should increase body temperature and heart rate. It should also reduce muscle stiffness and prepare athletes for competition. Warm-ups also help the blood vessels dilate and thus reduces the resistance to blood flow. It improves efficient cooling and range of motion. It is essential for mental preparation for the players. Here are a few exercises that make up a good warm-up for a basketball player:
Individual Warm Up(10-20 minutes)
Allow players to both physically and mentally prepare themselves.
Example: Self-massage, ankle and foot exercises, skipping and shooting.
Cardio Warm-up(5-10 minutes)
Raise the heart rate
Include fun and engaging exercises
Dynamic Stretching(5 minutes)
- Single leg balancing: You should stand to look forward with your right arm in front of your torso with your right leg slightly raised from the ground. Initiate the exercise by flexing the hip, hinging your torso down and keeping your legs slightly bent. Extend your free leg backward for balance while you reach for your left foot with your right hand. Return to starting position after a pause and repeat after switching sides.
- Knee hugs: Sit down with your knees bent while hugging it. Lift your feet off the floor. Continue by opening your arms and extend your legs to a 45-degree angle and lean back. Lift your torso, bend your knees and return to starting position.
- Can openers: First lay on one side of your body and hold your head up while supporting it with your hand to maintain balance. Take a deep breath and raise your heel up while your knee should be positioned at 45-degree angle to the rest of your body. Then start to move your hand from one side to another while the rest of your body should be stiff.
- Side Lunges: Start by standing straight with your feet apart (shoulder width) and step out to the side and transfer your body weight to that leg. Use your feet to push you back to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
- Sumo Squats: Start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each of your hand in front of your hips. Bend down in a squat position while pushing your hips back and keeping your knees facing outwards. Simultaneously bring the dumbbells down to the floor and hold them in between your legs. Then stand up and repeat the exercise.
Speed (2-5 minutes)
Move in multiple directions and combinations
After the warm-up, the player can proceed with playing the game. The cooldown is as essential and important as the warm-up. The cooldown acts as a reset for the next practice or game. It also reduces the chances of causing the player damage. It allows the heart rate to return to normal and gradually slows breathing. Helps to prevent muscle soreness and improves relaxation. Most cooldowns last 3-10 minutes and include shower, gentle movements and stretching exercises.
Here are the exercises that can be performed after a game as a cool down:
- Brisk walking
- Standing stretches
- Deep breathing or yoga style Shavasana
- Ankle rotations: Point your toes towards the ceiling and then slowly start rotating the foot in a full circle. Do not move the leg, so that the rotation happens only at the joint of the ankle. Repeat with your other leg.
- Double hip rotation: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Then proceed to gently lower both knees to one side as far as possible. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds. Then bring them back to the centre and repeat.
- Static exercises are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles relax, the realignment of the muscle fibres and the re-establishment of their normal range of movement.
When you play basketball, you use both your upper body and lower body. Thus proper warm-up and cool down for your entire body is essential. Proper preparation for workouts and games is important for success. Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up and cool down exercises are needed to reduce injury to the athletes. There are many good exercise books and videos that are available to help you through the process. Remember to never forget to warm up or cool down as it is critical to prevent the chances of injury.
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