So, you’ve made the decision to get into basketball? Congratulations on choosing an exciting sport to participate in, and for joining the 450 million + people who are already involved.
Whether you’ve got mates already playing or you’ve been lured in after watching current stars such as Steph Curry or Jason Tatum, it’s important to take a few things on board to help you get off on the right foot.
Get suitable attire
By this, we don’t mean that you need the hottest jersey of your favourite player (but that’s a sweet investment to get you started) but more about having safe and comfortable clothing and accessories. Clothes that aren’t too loose is important and avoid shorts with pockets, as fingers can get caught in them – and they’re actually banned for competitive play. Invest in a good pair of basketball boots that are comfortable and supportive. You’re going to be changing direction and jumping a lot, so you need to look after your feet and ankles. Likewise, a pair of ankle braces can also help you avoid injury – and there’s nothing worse than spending a month on the sidelines after rolling your ankle.
Basketball is an aerobically challenging sport with constant running up and down the court. So getting into shape is crucial. Going for regular runs can help improve your fitness, but also interval training (where you alternate between bursts of fast and slow speeds) is also recommended. Being optimal fitness will also help minimise the risk of injury.
Source a good coach
Whether you’re playing competitive games or just building your skill set, finding a good coach is crucial. A one-on-one private coach is perfect for working with you when you’re just starting out, as they can give you a range of great drills to help, as well as ensuring you do them properly. Mastering the right techniques is a lot easier if you know how to do them the correct way.
Warm up adequately
Before training sessions or games, it is always important to warm up. This not only gets your body loose and ready for physical activity but also minimises the risk of injury. Gentle jogging, stretching and shooting and passing will get your heart rate up and your head focused for the session.
Jump and then jump some more
Basketball players love to focus on shooting, which is obviously a very important element of the game. However, jumping is also a crucial action, necessary for shooting, but also rebounding and blocking shots on defence. NBA legend Charles Barkley was only 6 foot 5, but was one of the leagues best rebounders. As a youngster, he jumped back and forth over a fence, hundreds of times a day. If you practice your jumping from an early age, you will develop strength and timing that will hold you in great stead for your entire basketball career. We also offer a Jump Program for anyone interested in a targeted program to help their leaping ability.
Practice Practice Practice
When it comes down to it, the best way you can get started with basketball, and the best way to improve, is to practice. Even the greatest players in the world are continually working on their craft. Steph Curry is the world’s best shooter (possibly ever) but he still takes a minimum 250 shots a day – at least 2000 shots per week. Likewise, Magic Johnson, one of the games’ best ever point guards, didn’t become brilliant by accident. As a kid, he used to take a basketball wherever he walked, dribbling to school, dribbling to the shops, dribbling to his friend’s house. He mastered the art of dribbling the ball by practicing over and over again.
If you work on the fundamentals, and continually practice them, it will set you on a really good path to becoming a solid basketball player.