Photo By: Håkan Dahlström
Playing basketball is a great way for adults to stay in shape and compete against others. If you haven’t played in a while though, you’ll have to train smart to be injury-free and get the most out of it.
Whether you are looking to join an adult rec league or just play some pickup games, there are a few rules to follow when you are getting back into it. Here are 5 tips for adult basketball training:
- Warm up – A thorough, dynamic warm up can prepare your entire body, even down to the specific tendons and ligaments you’ll be using in your training and during the game. At a minimum, you’ll want to do a 5-10 minute jog followed by dynamic stretching before any physical activity, including basketball. Some dynamic stretches include high knees, butt kicks, lunges, and arm circles. You’ll want to hit all your muscles and pay special attention to those that will be used.
- Train to prepare – If you think you can go from sitting on the couch to playing hours of pick-up basketball like you used to, you are in for a rude awakening. You need to prepare your body for the demands of basketball. This might be done with non-basketball activities, such as lifting weights and running. These can get you fit for basketball. As you get in better shape, you can move your training from general to more basketball-specific. More basketball-specific exercises include explosive lifting, sprints, and jump training. These prepare you better for basketball. You can also work in actual basketball, but as you’ll see below, you’ll want to ease in.
- Start slow – Its easy to hop right in to pickup games your first time back and realize you’ve been going up and down the court for three hours. That is a great way to put your body at risk for injury. You need to ease back in. The longer you have been away from basketball, the longer it’ll take to get back into playing full-time. You can ease in by playing shorter games. You may try playing just a couple half-court games to 11 points the first time back. You can slowly add more volume to your games until you are playing multiple full-court games.
- Be consistent – You probably aren’t playing basketball because you want to adhere to a strict schedule. It’s fine if you miss some days or rearrange your playing schedule. However, you can get into trouble if you go from playing twice a week, then take three weeks off, and then try to hop back in like you didn’t miss any time. I’d say you’ll want to play at least 1-2 times per week consistently. Any less and you won’t be able to build up basketball endurance.
- Have fun – Not to be cheesy or anything, but remember why you started doing this in the first place. Your goal should be to get or stay in shape and play a competitive game that you love. Rec league games aren’t open NBA tryouts where you are trying to impress the scouts. I love competitive games and think they are great, but ultimately your health is more important than winning a Sunday afternoon pickup game. If you are hurt, step out of the game. It’s not a big deal. Also, having a positive attitude can make it a more enjoyable social aspect for you and everyone else there. You’ll look forward to the games more if you get along with the other players and they get along with you.
This is all assuming you are already a healthy individual who is fit for physical activity. If you haven’t exercised in a while, you’ll want to get cleared by your doctor. Basketball can be a seriously demanding sport, particularly when you haven’t played in years. A routine physical is never a bad idea. If you get any injuries along the way, you’ll want to get those checked out too. Even minor injuries can become serious or linger for a long time. It’s worth it to rest until you are at full strength.
I think basketball is a great way for adults to stay in shape and get some competition on a consistent basis. If you follow the adult basketball training rules, you can get in excellent shape and have a lot of fun too.