Stretching is a very important part of training, yet many athletes often skip it, or confuse warming up with stretching. Warming up and stretching are different things, and the two are essential to perform better and prevent injuries during a basketball game, or any other physical activity.
Before your basketball training or game, the first thing to do is to warm up for a period no longer than 5 – 10 minutes. This consists of moving all of your body joints and light jogging. I always like to go from top to bottom. I would start by rotating my neck, alternating sides and directions. Then, I’ll continue with my shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers; followed by my hips, groins, knees, ankles and toes. During this warm-up movements, I focus on deep breathing to enhance the flow of oxygen and blood through the body. Once I am done with the joints warm up, I would run 3 – 5 loops around the court before doing the stretching exercises.
Stretching, like the word implies, consists of stretching the muscles and tendons until they offer bearable resistance and holding the extension for about 10 seconds. Do not bounce, just pull or extend and hold. I like to start the stretching exercises with the Tai Chi Chuan breathing technique, focusing on delivering blood and oxygen with the required nutrients to every muscle in my body. Also, as I stretch and breathe, I continue to focus and visualize how my whole body becomes aware and prepared for the intense training and physical activity that it’s about to endure.
Again, I will begin and go from top to bottom stretching the muscles and tendons of my neck and jaw. Then, I’ll stretch the muscles of my shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms and fingers. I will continue with my chest, back and abdomen. And last, but not least, all the muscle groups in my legs, which are the Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Calves and Achilles tendons.
After the basketball practice is over, stretching is also recommended to avoid stiffness of the muscles, and faster recovery.
In conclusion, these are some of the benefits of stretching:
- Increased muscle flexibility and range of motion.
- Reduce muscle tension relieving pain and stress.
- Enhance stamina and performance.
- Great Injury Prevention System.
Basketball is my Passion is a proud affiliate member of the Injury Fix Stretching Institute by Brad Walker. Brad is a Health Science graduate from the University of New England and has been involved in the field of stretching, flexibility and sports injury management since the early 1990’s.
You can learn more about Brad and his Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility by visiting his website: InjuryFix.com