Assessing the Basketball Player

Assessments and corrective exercise are extremely important factor in designing a strength and conditioning program. It doesn’t matter the sport you play or the goals you have. The coach needs to have an idea on how you well you move and the easiest way to do that is with a few exercises. Before we get started, I highly recommend Assess and Correct from Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Bill Hartman. A&C is great as it will improve your ability to assess clients and athletes. There are also corrective exercises with progressions to improve movement issues and you can add them into your dynamic warmup.

Regarding basketball athletes there are a few things we look at that  basketball players usually have some restrictions with

1.Ankle Mobility

2.Hip Mobility and stability

3.Previous injury history

Keep in mind that I am generalizing and that not everyone who plays basketball will have  these issues which is why it is preferable to thoroughly assess the athlete prior to training them.

Ankle restrictions and lack of dorsiflexion is very common amongst basketball players and this can occur for many reasons such as type of footwear  worn, using ankle braces while practicing, and/or  due to sprained ankles.

Eric Cressey also has a great article on the importance of ankle mobility you should also check out.

We also take a look to see if there are soft tissue restrictions in the calf and soleus that may be inhibiting ankle movement and if there are we address that by using some SMR techniques with a lacrosse ball or stick. If that doesn’t work we will refer out for soft tissue work.

Here are a couple of ankle mobility drills we use for the ankle. Keep in mind that there are endless variations of mobility drills out there.

I learned this from KStarr  and have been using this for a while now and have been seeing a lot improvement with our athletes. Check out Mobility wod for some innovative mobility drills.

I like this set up with the band just above the malleolus as it allows the ankle to glide from the band distraction.

Calf stretch using the pro stretch.

I highly recommend this if you don’t have one as it the best way to stretch out your gastroc. The prostretch also works well for plantar fascitis and other foot issues too.  

Hip Mobility can be an issue for basketball players. Generally speaking from the players we have assessed hip flexors both the Psoas and Rectus Femoris will be short and stiff. The Thomas test is a good way to test hip flexor shortness.

Below is a detailed explanation of the Thomas test and what to  look for.

We also check hip strength/stability using the overhead squat and single leg squat test.

You can also use the step down test to see if the knee caves in. Hip stability is extremely important regarding knee health and is a key component in our program design to prevent ACL injuries.

And lastly we take down the athletes injury history because the strongest indicator of an injury is a previous injury to the same spot. By assessing the athlete and addressing the needs of the athlete and improving movement patterns our goal is to reduce the likelihood of a serious injury so the athlete can reach their performance goals on the court.

Tran Hard.

Shyam

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