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Improve Your Game With 5 Basketball Stretches

May 5, 2012

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Elite basketball players are incredibly strong and explosive—which is why they are able to effortlessly drive to the hoop. Another quality that sets them apart is their ability to move in all directions.

Basketball is never played in a straight line. You must be able to move in every direction around the court. This is particularly important when you're playing in traffic around the basket.

The key to developing this important skill is mobility in the spine and hips. It enables you to turn without hindrance so you can move into position for a shot or swiftly change direction to blow by a defender.

Focus on improving your mobility and flexibility with drills that mimic basketball skills. Perform the following basketball stretches so you can move around the court like a pro.

Basketball Stretches

Split-Stance Spine Rotation
Benefits:
Improves spine rotation
Basketball-Specific Benefits: Driving to basket, changing direction, defensive position

  • Assume split stance with right leg forward and hands on back of head
  • Rotate torso to right
  • Return to center and repeat
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform in opposite direction

Sets/Reps: 1x10 each side

Split-Stance Side Lean
Benefits:
Improves spine rotation
Basketball-Specific Benefits:
Driving to basket, changing direction

  • Assume split stance with right leg forward and hands on back of head
  • Bend torso to right
  • Return to center and repeat
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set in opposite direction

Sets/Reps: 1x10 each side

Wall Lat Stretch
Benefits:
Stretches back muscles
Basketball-Specific Benefits:
End of jumping motion, defensive position

  • Stand facing wall, about two to three feet away
  • Lean forward and place hands on wall; keep body in straight line
  • Step back approximately one foot with right foot and drop head between arms
  • Step forward with right foot and raise head to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set with opposite leg

Sets/Reps: 1x10 each leg

Ball Quad Stretch
Benefits:
Stretches hip flexors and quads, improves hip mobility
Basketball-Specific Benefits: Sprinting, changing direction

  • Stand facing wall, about one foot away
  • Place small med mall between knees and squeeze
  • Grab right ankle with right hand and pull foot to butt; place left hand on wall for balance
  • Hold for specified time; perform set with opposite leg

Sets/Duration: 1x25 seconds each leg

Hamstring Rocker
Benefits:
Stretches hamstrings, improves hip mobility
Basketball-Specific Benefits:
Sprinting, changing direction

  • Assume split stance
  • Bend over and place hands on ground on both sides of front foot
  • Straighten front leg to raise hips
  • Bend front leg and drive hips toward ground
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set with opposite leg

Sets/Reps: 1x10 each leg

Photo:  lakers.topbuzz.com

Courtney Campbell is the owner of Train to Ball and the head strength and conditioning coach for boys basketball at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Fla. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida, where he served as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach, working with basketball, golf and tennis athletes. Follow him on Twitter or at Traintoball.com.

Topics: BASKETBALL
Courtney Campbell
- Courtney Campbell is the owner of Train to Ball and the head strength and conditioning coach for boys basketball at Gainesville High School (Gainesville, Fla.)...
Courtney Campbell
- Courtney Campbell is the owner of Train to Ball and the head strength and conditioning coach for boys basketball at Gainesville High School (Gainesville, Fla.)...
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