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Get Off the Bench, Get in the Game

Let’s be honest: As much as we say we  want to be a team player, we want to be on the court at tip off.

We want to score over whoever dares defend us, make the key defensive play, drop the defender with the killer crossover and sink the game winner.

To do this all and make sure we start the game, we need to optimise our physical talents. Want to get better? Read on!

Get Off the Bench, Get in the Game

Vertical Jump

Every person who bounces a ball and gets on the court wants to dunk at some stage. We have all jumped on youtube and spent hours watching Jordan, Griffin, Lebron and Westbrook dunk on people and throw down ridiculous dunks at the slam dunk contest. We all want to be able to jump that high through the air and effortlessly get above the rim and dominate our opponents.

This also doesn’t apply to dunking. Increasing our vertical jump can improve our jump shot success, lay ups and our ability to pull down rebounds over bigger opponents. This also doesn’t include increased shot blocking ability which can make opponents think twice about going into the lane.

What often happens in this situation is people start to trying to improve this by just jumping more and more. This will lead to overuse injuries and a massive lack of progress. What is often need is more strength and mobility through the hip complex. To do this, we will stretch out our hip flexors and master the barbell back squat. Here is a great guide to squatting correctly.

Set Up and Performance

Place the bar on your back and set up with your elbows tight under the bar. Inhale as much air as you can and tense the abdominals hard. From here, slowly lower down as low as you can go in the squat while keeping the chest up. Pause, and then push your feet into the ground as hard as possible.

Common Mistakes

  • Do not let the back round. Go as low as you can maintaining a straight spine
  • Keep the elbows under the bar. If they drift back they will push your weight forward.

Shooting Technique

Free throws. Jump shots. Three pointers. Every baller works on their shooting consistently and it is well known that there is an ideal checklist for shooting a  successful jump shot:

  • Wide stance, slight bend at waist
  • Fingers spread, ball balanced on fingertips
  • Elbow up, high release
  • Many more!

To get a great arc on your shot having the ability to get your elbow up high. One of the keys to getting a consistent jumper is having the physical pre-requisites to get the elbow into the correct position. This requires optimal mobility in the shoulder complex. Here is our best stretch to help you do this. Make sure you don’t do this immediately before shooting practice, it can change your mechanics.

Twisted Lat Stretch

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Set Up and Performance

Grab a squat rack or another solid object. Lean back to get a stretch in the lats and then with the same leg as the side you are twisting, rotate the leg behind you. Breath into the ribcage to increase the stretch.

Knee Health

There is nothing that strikes more fear into the basketball players heart than a knee injury. More basketball careers have been cut short by damaged knees than any other injury. If you do manage to come back to the game there is always a loss of explosiveness that haunts you. If we just take a look at the careers of Penny Hardaway, Chris Webber, Derrick Rose and more you can see how much broken knees can destroy a career. 

One thing you can do to take care of your knees which is totally counter-intuitive is make sure your ankles move well. Here is a great series that you can do daily to kepp your ankles and knees in tip-top shape.

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With this exercises, you have everything you need to be able to jump higher, shoot better and keep in the game. So what are you waiting for? Get training!

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