One of the most common questions we get from players and coaches is how do I keep from losing my explosiveness over the course of a long season? The every-day pounding of practice and games takes a toll on your body and most players don't take adequate time to recuperate, let alone the necessary steps to make the most of the time they do have to recover.
First and foremost, you MUST take time to recover. Too many athletes get injured because of the repetitive grind their body is subjected to, on top of poor movement patterns and unstable joints. Not only do overly tight muscles create poor movement patterns, but they also limit that amount of force that muscles can generate. The reduction in force is caused by muscle adhesions that prevent areas of the muscle from generating force because they are stuck in contraction. When muscle fibers are stuck in a contraction, it puts more of a burden on the rest of the muscle to compensate, which contributes to fatigue and overtraining. As the body fatigues, the neuromuscular coordination is reduced, which creates an increased risk of injury and a reduction in the body's ability to recover as the season progresses.
With that information in mind, there are three things you must do to reduce the impact of the long basketball season:
1. Make sure to rehydrate and rest
When you are dehydrated, your muscles will not be as pliable (flexible or elastic), which increases the risk of minor, nagging injury to soft tissues (muscle, tendon, ligament strains) as well more catastrophic injury from poor alignment and mechanics. The same is true for not getting proper rest. If you don't take a day off, or get enough sleep, your body will revert to stress mode; releasing higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and causing more muscle tension.
2. Perform dynamic flexibility exercises to reduce muscle tightness.
Dynamic flexibility exercises are a great way to loosen up before you begin to practice or play. These exercises are better than static stretches, because they stimulate blood flow to the muscles which help to warm and loosen them up. Conversely, static stretches (stretching the muscles without movement) can lead to strains and is much less efficient and beneficial as a warm-up.
Get access to all of our dynamic flexibility exercises with a Shot Science All-Access subscription.
3. FOAM ROLL!
Foam rolling during the season is arguably the most important thing you can do to maintain your explosiveness during the season. Foam rolling releases muscle adhesions and increases the amount of muscle fibers actively participating in power generation. It also increases blood flow to the muscle, which aids in muscle recovery. If you don't have a foam roll, GET ONE NOW! It will reduce your injury risk and keep you fresh throughout the season!
Our Shot Science foam rollers are the perfect travel size to throw in your bag and take with you to the gym at home or on the road!
- Coach Chase