How to avoid injuries? Basketball coaches Connor Jean and Reid Ouse recommendations.
Basketball as a sport through the years has evolved. Today it's high-scoring, fast paced and more intensive than ever. As the game has become professionalized, with eight-figure salaries on offer, athletes are doing everything they can to live up to the expectations. With ever-improving training regimens and state-of-the-art facilities, injuries are still very common: occurring at a rate of 6-14 injuries per 1,000 hours played.
Due to the nature of the fast-paced game, it is estimated that 1.6 million injuries occur each year while playing basketball. You may wonder, what is the most common injury in basketball? Most often, injuries involve the joints, elbows, particularly ankles and knees. Before allowing these basketball injury statistics to alarm you, though, be assured that these injuries can often be avoided by taking preventative measures. Besides being fun and competitive, basketball is great exercise and can have many health benefits.
You might be wondering - what can you do to avoid getting injured while playing the game you love? Well, we have put together this article with basketball coaches Connor Jean and Reid Ouse to help you understand what you can do to minimise the chances of getting injured.
Getting enough rest is crucial
“I find vital to a player’s success is their ability to rest. While I do hold more of an “old-school” mentality when it comes to hard work and fighting through adversity, it is also very important to understand when you need a break, not only physically but mentally.
As a former college coach, we mandated that players were not allowed to touch a basketball for 10-14 days after the season. We understood the importance of taking a break to let your body physically recover, but we also stressed the importance of being mentally rested. We wanted to get the most out of our players, and we knew that if we told them they couldn’t play basketball for two weeks they would be hungry to get in the gym when it was time. That led to healthier players and better workouts”, Reid Ouse.
While this may sound more relevant to professional athletes, it is indeed relevant to younger ballers as well. Kids have a tight schedule from waking up early to go to school, doing their homework afterward and attending the basketball practice in the evening. It is crucial to not be overload with multiple tasks and a short nap before the practice can be a game-changer.
Furthermore, proper sleep boosts overall health and thus the performance on the court. To explain the importance of sleep we need to look at some scientific facts like the growth hormone.
The human growth hormone is an important part of the body’s endocrine system. Thanks to the growth hormone, sleep and exercise are inextricably linked to each other. This hormone is especially active during the growing child’s maturation. HGH is released by the brain into the bloodstream during sleep, and its release is part of the repair and restoration function of sleep. It is one of the most important physiological factors that make kids get taller and grow. In addition, the human growth hormone promotes a healthy metabolism, it enhances your physical performance, and may even help you live longer.
Experts claim that approximately 75 percent of HGH is released during sleep. The fact speaks for itself so do make sure that you go to bed early.
Maintain a good level of fitness
In addition to following a consistent sleep schedule, you should also exercise regularly in order to increase HGH release. Pulses of HGH are also released during the day and any exercise promotes quality sleep by expending your energy.
We suggest you to stay in shape during the offseason because basketball injury prevention begins in the off-season!
For most athletes, this preseason training may be hard because of time constraints. But, even minor conditioning is better than none at all. Getting ready in advance is a key prevention factor.
“The weight room is so crucial for any sport to help you strengthen weak parts in your body. Over the years you put so much stress on the body and the joints that you want to do low impact things to train. A cycling class, water aerobics, yoga, swimming..etc. don’t always just be Attacking the weights and putting more strain on those joints!”, Reid Ouse.
Forget about junk food
The human growth hormone is also linked to what we eat. As for diet, you should think of HGH and sugar as the opposite. The higher the intake of high-sugar food and beverages, the lower the HGH levels. Avoid foods high in sugar generally, especially before bed, if you want to avoid interrupting the natural production of HGH during sleep.
A healthy diet will also give them more energy throughout the day and decrease the likelihood of getting injured when playing basketball. For parents, what you can do to help your kids stay healthy is to limit sweets and junk food. Make sure your kid’s lunch box doesn’t have any high sugar foods.
If you have not had enough fluids, your body will not be able to effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation. A general recommendation is to drink 24 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid 2 hours before exercise. While you are exercising, break for an 8 oz. cup of water every 20 minutes.
“EVERY PLAYER should carry around a 1 gallon jug of water. Does it look awkward? Possibly. But you need to stay hydrated and most players do not drink even close to enough water. Carrying around a 20 oz bottle of water is fine, but are you really going to fill that thing up 6 times per day? Only you know the answer to that. Personally, I use a gallon jug of water and take 10 large gulps every time I take a drink. You would be surprised how much water you could drink every day and how much better your body will feel when you are truly hydrated.”
Warm-up and stretch
Spend time warming up appropriately and stretch muscles. Warming up allows the body the time it needs to be able to respond to nerve signals for quick and efficient actions. This is imperative for basketball, as it involves quick, high-intensity actions.
“The first major mistake that I see players make is not warming up properly. To be honest, I see a ton of players not even warm up at all. We are asking our body to be able to do a bunch of difficult and explosive movements, and you’re going to repay your body by not warming up? Yikes!
The first thing you should do is learn how to warm up appropriately. Personally, I am not a certified sports performance coach so I try to stay away from advising players on exactly what to do for their warm ups. With that being said, I have sought out various professionals in the industry that have helped me develop a plan.
Basketball involves playing at a variety of different levels. Sometimes I am straight up and down and sometimes I have to play low. All of these involve your hips. That is why I spend around 5-10 minutes getting my hips and glutes ready to go. There are several ways that you can do this, but I would encourage every basketball player to have a foam roller to lacrosse ball with them all the time. Those are two great tools to help you get loosened up and ready for competition”, Reid Ouse.
Wear appropriate attire
Appropriate attire will drastically increase the likelihood of preventing the most common basketball injuries to the hip and thighs, and the knees. Properly fitted, breathable clothing and good shoes can make a big difference in injury prevention.
“Acute injuries are inevitable, but you want to try to reduce your risk for these injuries which is why always wear protective pads while playing”, Connor Jean.
Basketball injuries to the hip and thigh
Deep thigh bruising (contusion) is another common basketball injury, typically caused by an opponent's elbow or knee inadvertently striking a player's thigh muscles. However, having a comprehensive yoga or stretching program along with weight training can lessen the impact of the injury. Also, compression sleeves and/or girdles with thigh pads can be worn for additional protection.
Furthermore, the pain felt behind the kneecap is one of the most common knee injuries among basketball players which is caused by excessive joint pressure due to the poor kneecap alignment. Trips and falls during basketball games and practices are also a common cause for knee injuries, especially among younger players. Wearing padded compression tights or knee pads will minimise the chances of getting injured.
A rib fracture may occur when a rib(s) sustains a direct impact from a ball, punch, kick or fall. They may also occur with constant repetitive movements in sports. By wearing protective gear such as Padded compression shirt you will minimalize your chance being injured in many ways.
Gamepatch offers both padded compression gear and performance compression wear that is suitable for both indoors and outdoors activities. The padded gear can save you from unnecessary injuries on the court, while the compression wear supports your muscles, improves blood flow and helps to recover much quicker.