Basketball is a popular vertical sport that’s synonymous with a host of jumping as well as landing activities for each player. This multi-directional sport involves twice to quadrupled jumping compared to volleyball and soccer. Also, the players have to change their activity and direction within seconds, which demands consistent acceleration and deceleration of movements. Therefore, basketball players’ flexibility, as well as stiffness, are both required to ensure success in the game.
Solid and well-defined warming up and stretching routine is an important part of a professional basketball player. It helps in loosening up the muscles and aids in enduring heavy impact and rigorous wearing off that’s a part and parcel of a basketball game. Almost all basketball players are flexible to boost their performance and flexibility in the game.
Is stiffness important for basketball players?
According to physiologists, muscles in human bodies function as biomechanical springs. Muscles are needed to generate forces aiding to stretch and move for a wide array of movements. The springing of muses not only allows for stretching but also recoiling while contracting muscles. This helps in various movements from walking to running, walking, and jumping – all that are required for playing basketball.
The force needed for deforming or stretching any muscle is linked to springing or stiffness and to the degree to which the muscle needs to be stretched. While physical strength and flexibility are quite important factors, stiffness is essential for an athlete for generating strength.
Stiffness in the lower body parts is critical since optimal performance in basketball demands the players to use improved stiffness for making use of the energy generated. A muscle has some limitations in stretching as its length gets restricted by the level of stiffness. Just like the mechanism of spring, when a player stretches the muscles, the added stiffness aids in generating elastic energy which can be used along with muscle contraction for a variety of movements.
But excessive muscle stiffness can pave the way for minimal joint motion along with the ability to take in shocks at the joints. This may prove to be detrimental for osteoarthritis and stress fractures, the wear and tear can lead to joint pain. A number of pieces of evidence suggest that excessive stiffness can cause injury.
Here is a great video about what exercises basketball players should do to stretch.
Why flexibility is important for basketball players?
It’s important for basketball players flexible to reduce the chances of injuries. Most players are equipped with an appropriate combination of stamina, skillfulness, and stamina. Simple stretching plays a huge role in improving the flexibility of the joints and muscles. Flexibility training is crucial training for basketball players since it helps in benefitting their speed, mobility, agility, athleticism, and explosiveness from improved flexibility. Basketball players indulge in static, dynamic, and ballistic stretching for becoming more competitive on the court.
You can read about if they are flexible or not in this article.
- Static flexibility training allows stretching of the muscle for allowing the limb to be at the greatest extent of their range of motion. Static flexibility training doesn’t call for any voluntary muscular contraction. Basketball players indulge in static flexibility training for improving their jumping abilities by stretching their hamstring muscles before and after a workout.
- Dynamic flexibility training is similar to functional-based exercises where muscle stretching takes place during activity. It is performed before exercising and follows different movement patterns used while playing.
- Ballistic stretching training forces the muscle to stretch beyond the accepted range of motion. This type of training incorporates very smooth jerky movements in which the muscles are bounced at the end of muscles present at the age of movement. This kind of stretching can be only performed by experts and seasoned players under the supervision of the trainer. In basketball training, ballistic stretching is very commonly practiced by basketball players to strengthen their calf muscles.
The Bottom Line
Everyone has a different body structure and mechanisms, but some specific muscles tend to become stiff over time. Stretching helps in increasing a wide range of movement while boosting the ability to perform physical skills. Also, basketball players’ flexibility helps in the prevention of injury to tendons, muscles, and tendons. This aids in faster recovery along with reduced soreness. The flexibility of basketball players allows their muscles to endure more exhaustion and rigorous movements while ruling out the chances of being injured.