There has been much debate on the best ways to “stretch” prior to a game or practice. The old theory of static or stationary stretches prior to gameplay has been stopped due to studies showing little to no gain in range of motion of the joint and the muscles actually having less strength after prolonged static stretches. Dynamic or moving stretches have become more popular as they stimulate blood flow which increases heat to the region and thus makes the tissue easier to stretch. Also dynamic stretches can be more functional or can place an athlete in positions they will encounter on the court. Regardless of the stretching strategy, no athlete is ready to go from their daily activity (typically sitting for 8 hours at school) and onto the court without preparation. You have to prepare to play on the court to deserve to be on the court.
Basketball is a high intensity, multi-directional sport placing the body under extreme stress. The purpose of a movement preparation or dynamic warm up is to address specific mobility limitations of an athlete which they will encounter on the court. A generalized stretching protocol for an entire team will likely not address your individual needs and place your body at risk for injury.
A Pregame Movement Prep Accomplishes 3 Goals (should be done in less than 10min)
With prolong poor posture during school or work we set our body’s nervous system up to be at rest. Meaning the core will be turned off and the nervous system will be on a low tone or alert. A properly performed movement prep will get the core, gluteus muscles, and stabilizing muscles to wake up. The central nervous will improve in its ability to fire muscles and thus be more prepared for the speed of on the court action.
Our body is made up of both stability joints (knee, low back, shoulder blade) and mobility joints (ankle, hip, mid back, shoulder). The purpose of movement prep is to get the mobility joints moving better and the stability joint muscles firing to have full body control on the court. For the basketball athlete that usually entails improved core (low back), gluteus maximus and hamstring (knee), and balance strength. Likewise, the movement prep will typically address motion limits in of ankle dorsiflexion (ankle bend up), and hip extension and rotation (hip backwards). The entire movement prep should be completed in less than 10 minutes, done before every practice or game, and have a clear relationship to what is performed on the court.
You have to prepare to play on the court to deserve to play on the court. Trust me, you do not want to learn the hard way. Not only will a proper movement prep prevent injuries it will improve your performance on the court. Shoot 360 is ahead of the game on preparing athletes to play in all facets. If you have any movement prep questions or want to be provided a movement prep catered to your needs please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Restore. Educate. Succeed.
Nick Hagen, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS (The KOR Physical Therapy)