While some people may argue otherwise, there is no doubt that basketball in a contact sport, and if you couple that with the amount of jumping an running that goes on, it’s no surprise that ankle and knee injuries are fairly common.
There are several things you can do to help prevent injury, and it’s important to work these into your practice – spending 10 minutes a practice preventing injuries will prevent you from spending week and even months in rehab.
There are a couple basic ways you can help your players prevent injury – stretching to increase flexibility, and performing exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding your critical joints.
While none of these are incredibly new are innovative, they are great stretches that will keep your players loose and flexible.
Stand up on one leg, and pull the leg that is not on the ground up as close to your butt as you can. Hold for 30 seconds.
Cross your feet over, and attempt to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
Put the point of your toe down on the ground, and rotate your ankle around in clockwise and counter clockwise directions. Do around 10 rotations in each direction.
Sit down on the ground, and put your feet together, sole to sole. Pull them in as close as possible, and try to keep your knees low to the ground. You should feel a stretch in your groin area. Hold for 20 seconds, 3 times.
I believe that at the appropriate age, weightlifting can give you a significant advantage and if done correctly, is a great idea for basketball players.
Today however, we are not looking at exercises to increase the strength of the muscles – the quads, the hamstring, the calf – as increase the strength of the stabilizer surrounding the ligaments in the ankle, the knee, and the hip.
Slow Pick Ups
This is a great exercise that is much tougher than it might sound at first. Place a small object, a bean bag or something like that, on the ground in front of the player.
Then have them stand on one leg, and slowly bend their knee until they are close enough to the ground to pick up the object. Have them stand up holding the object, and then descend again to place the object back down on the ground.
This will not only strengthen the knees, ankles, and hips, but also teach players how to come down under control – this will be a recurring theme in every exercise we discuss today.
One Leg Jumps
Have your player stand up on one leg, and try to jump past a certain line on the court.
Remind them to land on the balls of their toes, and come down under control without bucking the knee. Much like the Slow Pick Ups, this exercise will strength all of the joints in your lower body, and teach players proper landing technique.
- Make sure that you stretch and exercise each side of your body equally! The number one cause of injury is imbalance of strength or flexibility in the body!
- Again, these are just for your lower body, but remember to stretch and exercise your stabilizers in the upper body as well!
If you liked these exercises, I also made a post about improving your vertical and quickness, make sure to check it out as well!