How to Avoid the Madness During March Madness

How to Avoid the Madness During March Madness

March Madness has arrived and the match ups will be announced on Sunday. While some may just be filling out brackets, others will be on the court proving their skills. For those of you on the court here are a few tips on how to prevent injuries while playing basketball:

  • Proper warm up. Make sure you loosen up and stretch even if it is only a 5-10 minute jog around the court. I know you are anxious to start playing but you need to get your muscles warm. Cold and tight muscles don’t react quickly and can easily get strained or injured. After your jog, run some lines, from the free throw line to the half court line etc. Run at approximately 75% of your total speed, to get your heart pumping and muscles really moving.
  • Check out the court. During your warm up, check out to see if there are any items such as rocks, holes, glass, etc. on the court that could present as dangerous and remove them. As silly as this seems, there are many injuries that happen due to tripping over and falling over court debris. Inside courts should be clean, clear of water spills and the flooring should have good traction.
  • Wear proper shoes. Most people have one pair of athletic tennis shoes that they wear for every sport, running, tennis, basketball etc. You should wear specific basketball shoes and even find out which types of basketball shoes are for you.
  • Drink plenty of water. While playing ball, it is important to stay hydrated for optimal performance. 2 hours prior to playing, you should drink 20 oz of water and then continue to drink water during the game. Even after you’re done playing, you should replenish with fluids and even a sports drink up to a few hours after playing. Always keep water with you in your gym bag.
  • Stretch. How often do we jump straight into playing ball with only minimal (if any) stretching. Spend about 5 to 10 minutes stretching from the bottom of your body to the top. Start with thea. Ankles: while seated roll your ankles in a circular motion.

    b. Calves: standing with your hands against a wall, bend your right leg and keep your left leg back with heels on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds

    c. Knees: while standing, bend your knee and grab the ankle. Hold for 20 seconds

    d. Low back: while standing upright, bend at the waist and try to touch your toes.

    e. Mid back: while standing upright, side bend to the right and then to the left. Also, twist to the left and to the right.

    f. Neck: slowly turn your head to the left and to the right. Bend your neck forwards and then backwards. Slowly move your neck into a circular motion.

    g. Shoulders: while standing upright, grab your right arm with your left hand and pull across your chest. Repeat with the other side. Remember that basketball is not only a lower body workout. It requires you to move all parts of your body and therefore every muscle and joint should be stretched to avoid injury.

  • Strengthen your muscles. This will take time but as you are aware, the stronger the muscles, the more that they will be able to support you and propel you throughout your game. Just 20 minutes a day for strengthening your muscles and 10 minutes for cardio, is key to preventing injuries and improving your game.
  • Support braces. Let’s be honest, no matter what you do, you may not be able to avoid an injury. You roll your ankle on someone’s foot, run into a screen that knocks you on the floor. You’re not crippled, but then you’re not 100%. Invest in some support braces.
  • Mouth pieces. An important part of preventing injuries, the mouth piece is invaluable. Although it does’t seem like basketball is a rough sport, it actually is. Remember what a hard foul is?! Many times as you are driving to the basket, you can get hit in the mouth. A mouth guard can help protect from the loss or fracture of your teeth. They are sold at sporting good stores and should be worn at all times.
  • If you’re injured see a doctor. Some injuries although minimal can actually lead to something bigger. By seeing your doctor sooner than later, you can avoid it from being a bigger problem. Don?t be a tough guy and continue to play. See a doctor who specializes in sports injuries and who will be able to give you guidance on how to fix it.
  • Have fun. By having fun, you avoid getting into trouble. You avoid playing dirty and deliberately hurting the other team. No one likes to play with someone who constantly fouls and plays out of control. Remember to have fun and you will enjoy playing the game.

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