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Coming off the high of NBA finals you may be inspired to up your basketball game or maybe just to get into shape. Here are some ways to improve your fitness levels while becoming a better basketball player. One of our athletic trainers who works with the Lakeland Magic, Jenn Scallin Perez, gives you the tips you'll need to make next year's roster.
Lose the Tummy and Build Your Core
Lower body and core strength are the most important muscle groups to be a great basketball player, says Jennifer R. Scallin Perez, MS, LAT, ATC. And just as important if you're trying to look like one. But it doesn't stop there. Pro level players have to have total body recruitment. Olympic style movements and lifts for training are key to that total body recruitment, Jenn continued.
Total body recruitment means using all of your muscles together to achieve muscle synchronization, coordination, balance, and flexibility as well as speed, strength, and power. And the best way to do that is through Olympic style lift training. Exercises like the clean, clean and jerk, hang clean, jump shrug, high pulls, split jerk, push press, Romanian deadlift, front squat, snatch, hang snatch, overhead squat and press under are Olympic lifts that will get your core in control.
Therere many modern exercise and training regimens that utilize a lot of these style lifts and for good reason. Not only do you shed pounds by doing them but you're building or rebuilding the framework necessary for long term strength and wellness.
Basketball is a lot more than just looking good while putting a ball in a hoop. A pro level player also has to be able to maintain an athletic stance with full control for at least 30 seconds and come out of it with an explosive movement, Jenn says. By developing this ability you'll be further strengthening your core and be chiseling your way to perfect set of six-pack abs. Monster walks and other resistance training are great for developing these, and are low impact, as well.
A common mistake that I see is people trying to go from zero to 60 with a new training regimen. Take your time. Work up to it. You could end up hurting yourself or least get discouraged, Jenn says. A balanced load is also super important. I see a lot of kids trying to take on too much. Between school and maybe being in multiple sports at once, they're just not getting the amount of rest and recovery time needed for long term viability. Getting scholarships is important to a lot of young players but they have to stop and consider what will happen if they push themselves too hard, Jenn warns. Proper nutrition is just as important as getting proper sleep, too. You can't just eat and drink whatever and expect to be in top form. You really need balance in all things to reach pro level, Jenn explains.
The downtime between training is just as important as the training itself, Jenn says. Take time, rest, eat well, and have fun. It is a game after all. And speaking of games, I can't recommend playing your sport in video game form highly enough. Playing a basketball video game gives players a chance to try out strategies and tactics that they might not on the court in real life. It also teaches the fundamentals of the game while providing another form of hand-eye coordination training. I'm not saying eSports will make you a pro level basketball player but it's certainly something fun and potentially valuable that you can do in your recovery time that can still count as training.