Playing hoops is one of the best sports around. It is a fun activity to do with your friends and family. If you are a member of your school or community basketball team, your day won’t be complete without spending an hour or two on the court.
But aside from being a fun sport that supports teamwork, playing basketball offers a variety of health benefits. When you engage in this activity regularly, you:
- Strengthen your bones and whole body
- Boost your cardiovascular health
- Improve your motor skills
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Support your mental wellness
But like other fast-paced contact sports, playing basketball can put you at risk for various injuries. And when you get hurt during a game, you won’t experience any of the mentioned benefits. Your regular activities will be hampered, too.
Avoiding Injury on the Court
To stay healthy and safe whenever you play basketball, follow these tips:
1 – Know the common injuries that you can get when playing basketball
When you are aware of the different ways you can get hurt while playing on-court, you will know which measures to take to avoid these injuries and accidents.
At varying levels of severity, injuries to the ankles, hands, fingers, head, face, and teeth are the usual ones you can get when playing on the court. ACL tears and muscle strains are common as well.
Additionally, female players are often at higher risk for knee injuries.
2 – Follow a workout routine
Being physically fit is a must in avoiding injuries on the court. As such, you need to work out regularly to have a healthy body.
Focus on building your core and upper body strength. Also, include strength training, aerobic conditioning, and cross-training in your regular workout routine. A well-rounded routine can speed up recovery time if you do get injured.
Always warm up properly before any game. Stretching exercises, jogging and skipping, and doing push-ups will help you minimize strains on your joints and ligaments and, at the same time, build strength in the supporting muscles around the knees.
Do not forget to cool down properly after a game. This is because the right stretching exercises can help reduce lactic acid build-up in muscles, which often leads to faster recovery times.
3 – Wear the right attire
What you wear on the court can also help you avoid getting hurt.
Start by choosing properly fitted, breathable clothing. Always choose footwear that provides sufficient support, particularly around your ankles. Make sure your shoes also fit snugly and it should be non-skid.
You can add another layer of protection to your ankles by wrapping them with athletic tape.
Wearing leg sleeves to prevent muscle fatigue and protect your calves and shin is often seen in elite level basketball. This accessory will also help you move normally if you are recovering from a leg injury, since it helps stabilize the leg and alleviates pain. If you have already suffered from an ankle sprain, you will do well to wear an ankle brace before putting on your shoe to help prevent repeat injury.
Wearing elbow and knee pads can protect these areas from bruising and floor burns, which you can get when you take a big fall or slip.
Make sure you use a mouth guard, preferably a customized one at games and practice. Lastly, remove any jewelry such as neck chains, bracelets, and wristwatches before playing. If you wear glasses, ensure your eyewear is made of shatterproof lenses or glass, and that it fits you well and won’t fall off easily.
4 – Let Technique Keep You Safe
Using the right techniques for passing, jumping, landing, and shooting will go a long way in helping you avoid injuries while playing hoops.
Adopting a proper method of landing will aid you in avoiding knee injuries, sprains, strains, and pulled muscles.
It will also help if you think of your legs as springs as opposed to them being rigid whenever you jump and land. By doing so, you will have the right mindset that will allow you to feel more confident and enable your body to absorb the impact much better when you land.
Being aware of the movements and positions of the other players is another important tactic. You will avoid getting hit by another person as you avoid hitting them.
5 – Stay hydrated
Keeping your body properly hydrated should start minutes before you begin playing. If you drink only when you’re thirsty, your body and athletic performance will suffer.
Drink at least eight ounces of water or sports drink before the game. Make sure you rehydrate with eight ounces of water every 20 minutes as well.
Keep in mind that when you play hard, you will sweat a lot, causing your body to lose essential electrolytes and fluids, which, if left unreplaced, can lead to dehydration. Not only is this dangerous to your health, it impairs performance too. Knowing the signs of dehydration, which include dry mouth, headache or confusion, and fatigue, will help you understand when it is time to rehydrate
6 – Stay hydrated
Staying safe and healthy on and off the court also means knowing to stop playing if you’re feeling tired or in pain.
Keep in mind that ignoring injuries can cause you to suffer longer. You can aggravate them further or create poor technique, which leads to damage. This is because overuse injuries can compromise your body’s ability to recuperate and rebuild muscle tissue worn down from playing.
Most basketball injuries can heal quickly if they are treated correctly from the start and before they get too severe. As such, listen to your body and stop playing if you are feeling some soreness and fatigue. Additionally, see a doctor immediately if your pain does not improve with rest, icing, elevation, and compression.
7 – Play at a good basketball court
Like ice skating, your choice of venue can affect your performance, safety, and enjoyment of the game. Because of this, you have to ensure you’ll be playing in the right venue.
Before playing, inspect the court and make sure it is free of debris, cracks, holes, and other irregularities that can cause players to trip which can lead to sprains or twisted ankles.
If you are playing in an indoor court, ensure there is plenty of distance between the edges of the court and the walls, bleachers, and other obstacles. The basket stands and walls near them should be properly padded and secured as well.
Whether you are new to playing basketball or already a pro, you will do well to follow these tips so you can continue enjoying this game.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.