The game of basketball involves two teams, each made up of five players. The object is to throw a ball through a 10 foot high hoop or basket, according to established rules of the game. Throwing the basketball upward and through the basket accrues points to the player's team, with the highest score at game's end deciding the winning team. Basketball games consist of four quarters of 10 minutes each in the case of international competition or 12 minutes for NBA (National Basketball Association) games.
If you're looking to improve your basketball game or just seeking to prevent basketball injuries it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that's just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.
The basketball court contains a basket at either end, with teams advancing in turns toward opposite ends in order to attempt to score baskets. Advancing toward the opposing team's basket is done by means of bouncing or dribbling the ball, or by passing it to a fellow team member. Players are not allowed to interfere with opposing team-members through aggressive physical contact, but may intercept passes and block attempts to score baskets.
Professionally, basketball is most commonly played indoors, though it is a highly popular amateur sport, played in standard form and variations (including one-on-one) for recreation in many countries. The game appears to have been invented in December 1891, by Dr Naismith, a physical education instructor from Canada, as a form of gymnasium recreation for his students in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith used a suspended peach basket in this earliest form of the game, though modern baskets are constructed from metal, with fiber netting that the ball passes through after a successful basket. As a standard basketball had yet to be developed, Naismith's version made use of a soccer ball instead.
The original game seems to have borrowed elements from a poplar children's game of the time, known as Duck on a Rock, though Naismith dubbed his new sport "basket ball." The first official basketball game took place in the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA gymnasium on January 20, 1892. Nine players competed on a basketball court roughly half the size of today's National Basketball Association (NBA) court.
Basketball involves muscles throughout the body. Running, pivoting and jumping employ a full range of muscles in the feet, legs and trunk, with particular concentration in the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. The vertical jump in basketball is critical and involves a range of muscles, particularly:
As a strong vertical jump gives the athlete considerable advantage in scoring, all five of these muscle groups should be equally targeted in basketball training.
During the free throw in basketball, numerous upper body muscles are employed, including rotator cuff muscles, deltiods, coracobrachialis, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, triceps brachii, anconeus, pronator teres, and pronator quadratus.
A multitude of muscles in the hands and fingers come into play, including the flexor capri radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi radialis longus, flexor digitorium superficialis, flexor digitorum profoundus, flexor pollicus longus, extensor digitorum, extensor indicis, extensor digiti minimi, extensor pollicus longus, extensor pollicus brevis, and the abductor pollicus longus.
Overuse injuries occur when a particular area is put under continual stress and becomes damaged in the process, causing pain, loss of movement, in many cases, swelling. One such injury common to the sport is patellar tendonitis, also known as "jumper's knee," which is characterized by pain in the tendon just below the kneecap.
Another typical overuse injury is Achilles tendonitis, involving the tendon connecting the muscles in the back of the calf to the heel bone. The result of this injury is pain in the back of the leg, slightly above the heel. In more severe cases, the Achilles tendon can tear, requiring medical treatment and immobilization of the injury to allow healing.
Shoulder injuries involving overuse are not uncommon and may involve the tendons in their shoulders. The rotator cuff of the shoulder is made up of four muscles, attached by tendons to the shoulder bones. Inflammation and pain can result from overhead activities, including throwing the basketball.
Unlike repetitive or overuse injuries, traumatic injuries result from a sudden forceful event. Among the most common traumatic injuries in basketball are jammed fingers, which can range in severity from minor injury of the ligaments, to a fractured bone. Such injuries require adequate care and may need to be splinted to ensure proper healing. Muscle pulls or tears are common basketball injuries, often occurring in the large muscles of the legs.
Tears to ligaments supporting the knee may also be serious. A tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the more common ligament injuries. Tears in the ACL require prompt medical attention and may require surgery.
Further, players should be knowledgeable about first aid methods and familiar with first aid options for minor injuries including strains or sprains, facial cuts, bruises, or minor tendonitis.
The Top 3 Basketball Stretches
Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective. Below are 3 very beneficial stretches for basketball; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions beside each stretch.
|Standing Reach-up Quad Stretch: Stand upright and take one small step forwards. Reach up with both hands, push your hips forwards, lean back and then lean away from your back leg.|
|Rotating Stomach Stretch: Lie face down and bring your hands close to your shoulders. Keep your hips on the ground, look forward and rise up by straightening your arms. The slowly bend one arm and rotate that shoulder towards the ground.|
|Single Heel-drop Achilles Stretch: Stand on a raised object or step and place the ball of one foot on the edge of the step. Bend your knee slightly and let your heel drop towards the ground.|
While the recommendations on this page are a good starting point, you'll get a lot more benefit when you include a wider variety of exercises. So to improve your athletic ability, reduce injuries and really take advantage of all the stretching exercises on offer, grab a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility (Handbook, DVD & CD-ROM).
In total, they include 135 clear photographs and 44 video demonstrations of unique stretching exercises for every major muscle group in your body. Plus, over 80 printable stretching routines for 22 sports and 19 different muscle groups.
The DVD also includes 3 customized stretching routines (8 minutes each) for the Upper Body; the Lower Body; and the Neck, Back & Core, plus a bonus CD-ROM that allows you to print out over 80 stretching routines that you can take with you where ever you go.
The Handbook and DVD will show you, step-by-step, how to perform each stretch correctly. Plus, you'll also learn the 7 critical rules for safe stretching; the benefits of flexibility; and how to stretch properly. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility for yourself.