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Keeping Fit For Basketball

Photo by Onvisa Thewphaingarm

Basketball is one of the most popular team sports that is enjoyed by many around the world. The popularity of the sport can be seen from the hype surrounding the National Basketball Association (NBA), a North American professional basketball league. In Malaysia, there are a lot of youth who partake in the sport, no matter if they are a beginner, amateur or professional. Anyone can pick up a ball and join a streetball game, as the magic of basketball can bring all sorts of people together. Not just that, sports have many health benefits, such as building a muscular physique, improving body endurance and strengthening the immune system.

Aron Baynes, a player from Australia currently playing for the Toronto Raptors. Photo by Onvisa Thewphaingarm

As a team sport, basketball requires a high degree of teamwork, but improving your personal skills are also important to win a game. There are many ways to improve your individual skills; not just training your body, but working on your mentality and discipline is also key to becoming a better player.

Youth having contact training on a basketball court. Photo by Vincent Tan

The fitness level required in professional basketball competitions is different from normal pickup games, so working on your physical health could help bring your game to the next level. You need to have an effective workout plan and training schedule, but make sure not to push yourself too hard, as you could hurt yourself by using the wrong technique or overloading your body. According to Andrew Gregory, a sudden increase in training frequency or volume can put athletes from any sport at risk of an overuse injury.

Lebron James, a current player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry are arguably the three most iconic basketball players. But behind all their victories, one important aspect of their successful careers is discipline. Players should strictly follow the plans and instructions given by their trainer, which includes workout and training schedules as well as nutrition guides. A famous routine that the youth can follow is Kobe Bryant's 6 hours, 6 days, 6 months workout. According to Pop Workouts, this routine features a heavy mix of track work, basketball skills, and weightlifting. Players will have to spend two hours running, practising basketball and weightlifting respectively for a total of six hours a day, six days a week, and for six months straight.

Good lifestyle habits can also directly affect a player's fitness, form and health. According to Sleep Foundation, sleep is absolutely necessary for both athletes and non-athletes' overall health and well-being. Sleep allows a person's heart to rest as well as cells and tissue to repair, which will help to restore the body after physical exertion. The restorative effects of sleep are crucial to an athlete’s improvement and performance.

In order for a player to improve their skills, they must be resourceful and adapt to different surroundings during their training. It can sometimes be difficult to stay on track with the training schedule because the player might be busy, but adaptability is key and proceeding with everything that is available to you will ensure you do not lose progress.

Different positions on the court come with different responsibilities, so knowing your role in the team can help you plan your training accordingly. For example, if you play as a centre on court, you should train your under basket scoring and rebounding abilities. If you play as a point guard on court, you should train your court vision and dribbling skills.

Besides physical care, your manners and character are also key to becoming a well-rounded player. Remember to stay humble on court at all times, and always keep calm to avoid any altercations. For example, if your opponent plays dirty against your team, do not stoop to their level and cause a fight on the court, it will end badly for both teams.

Players helping each other to get up despite being from different teams. Photo by Onvisa Thewphaingarm

The right mindset can also boost a player's performance on the court. According to Sport Psychology Today, mental toughness is just as important as physical conditioning. There are two crucial parts of basketball psychology that you need to understand. Firstly, during a basketball game, you need to stay focused even when under pressure to maintain peak performance. Secondly, being mentally tough can help a player face difficult situations during training, practice and competitions. Additionally, staying committed and having the right attitude can help a player stay motivated and channel their anger, sorrow and frustration into a positive driving force in a game.

There are many other activities apart from regular training that a player can try such as boxing and dance class to improve their basketball skills. Boxing can help a player train their explosiveness, reaction speed and concentration whereas dance class can help a player with coordination, flexibility and movement. By partaking in other sports, a player can gain benefits that can help improve their performance in the main sport they specialise in.

You can have all the good coaches, workout and training plans in the world, but if you do not train consistently, these resources could just go to waste and you might never reach your full potential. To start improving your basketball games, you need to assess your current skill level in order to make the right plans and decisions for yourself.

By Caleb Wong


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