700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Basketball: Training, Recovery, and Injury Prevention

Feb 23, 2023
kids playing basketball

Basketball is a fast paced and exciting sport, with physical skills and moves that are jaw dropping. To play this sport at their best, athletes have to prepare their bodies by properly warming up, eating well, giving themselves a chance to recover, and doing what they can to prevent injuries.

As with all sports, research shows that an active warm up (moving stretches) is preferred over a static (reach and hold) warm up. Research shows that “moving stretches” help increase muscular strength, power, and flexibility pre-workout as opposed to “reach and hold” stretches. It is important to note that prior to stretching, athletes should get the blood flowing to their muscles by doing something active like a light jog or bike for 5 minutes.

Nutrition also plays an important role in sports performance. Carbohydrates fuel our muscles with energy especially during high intensity exercise that involves powerful and explosive movements. Foods such as rice, bread, pasta, fruits, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes are great sources of carbohydrates.

During low and moderate exercise intensity, fats are the primary source of energy for the body. Healthy fats found in foods like nuts, avocado, and fish also helps with vitamin absorption and hormone production. Protein is an important nutrient to help repair and build muscles. They can help you better recover after a game or practice. Protein is found in foods like beef, chicken, fish, eggs, as well as dairy, nuts, and beans. Fuel your body with a well-balanced meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and fats to optimize your performance.

The most common injuries that are seen in basketball are ankle sprains (from rolling the ankle as the foot turns inward) and knee injuries (including overuse injuries caused by jumping and the more severe ACL or MCL injuries). In order to prevent these injuries, in addition to strength training, athletes should reach out to their athletic trainers for some general ankle and knee strengthening exercises that they can mix into their warmup drills, along with hip strengthening exercises that stabilize and keep the knee from buckling in and putting unwanted stress on the ACL and MCL.

Recovery is a necessary part of sports and icing injured areas to reduce inflammation and pain is important. But don’t forget that the time after sports are complete IS an appropriate time for static or “reach and hold” stretching. This will help decrease soreness the day after exercise and keep flexibility and boost athletic performance. If all of these tips are followed, your athlete should experience a season of health and growth both on and off the court.
Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children's
For more information, or to request an appointment for your athlete

Featured Expert

Anthony Bartko, Athletic Trainer

He received his undergrad degree at Heidelberg University in 2016. He has spent time working as the Athletic Trainer for the Otterbein University while obtaining his Master’s in Healthcare Administration. During his time at Otterbein he was an Athletic Trainer for their Football, Cheer, Wrestling, and Women’s Lacrosse teams from 2016-2018. He has had the opportunity to work with athletes invited to the Olympic trails and world championships and he cherishes his time spent in Ashland as it helped mold him into the clinician he is today. He now resides in Columbus with his wife and is one of the Athletic Trainers at Canal Winchester High School.

All Topics

Browse by Author

About this Blog

Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.