Life happens, and sometimes we can’t find the time to be active due to our daily lives, which forces us to take some time away from the game of basketball. It’s never too late to return to the game no matter what age you are. If you are thinking about lacing up your old basketball kicks do it, but you are wondering how to get back into the game, I got you covered. Young or old…
What is the best way to get back into basketball after a long layoff? The best way is to get back on the court and remind the body of the skill it has forgotten by progressing slowly into activities related to basketball so we do not injure ourselves in the process. Prior to playing basketball, it would be wise to get active by running, jumping rope, or doing basketball drills to get ready to play. Slow and steady is key…
If you think you can get on the court and run up and down as hard as you can with no warm-up, I will tell you right now it will be a bad idea for you in the long run. You may not get injured today doing it, but you may be adding unneeded stress to the body which can create nagging injuries in the process that can become a bigger issue down the road.
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How can I get my basketball skills back?
How can you get your skills back….It’s a simple word that Allen Iverson is known for PRACTICE!!! WE TALKING ABOUT PRACTICE! NOT A GAME….
You are going to have to get out to a basketball court and starting practicing your shooting and basketball moves. If it has been a while you can always step into a pickup game but make sure you are sweating and warmed up before playing especially if you haven’t done any physical activity.
I am a moderator on a Reddit forum called r/basketballtips and a lot of the time players chime in with a question of how they can’t shoot anymore because they have taken some time off. I always before answering the question ask a question to try to get the aspiring basketball player to think for themselves. My question to them is how long have you been practicing for since you have returned to the game? and have you given yourself enough time to get back in the swing of things?
Usually, it’s less than a week they respond. Basketball is a lot like golf in skill development, I have mentioned this many times in some of my blog posts and feel it is true in many ways. You constantly have to practice repetition after repetition till your absolutely sick of it and then keep practicing some more, in fact, practicing doesn’t guarantee you success….wait what?
Basketball is a very unforgiving sport and like many sports, practicing makes you better but it’s only a path to get better, it doesn’t guarantee success. There are so many variables that come into play when you are trying to improve as a basketball player. If you make poor choices on the court what good is your hard work in practice. If you’re not exposing yourself to top-level competition how will you know what to work on or how you match up.
Getting back to the subject at hand basketball is that sport where you need to put up a lot of reps and practice hours. To think you can just come back and dominate picking up where you left off, it’s not going to happen. Maybe if your playing pick up and your competition is weak, then it’s possible.
Preparing to play basketball after some time off
Two weeks leading up to the day you are going to play some basketball I would try to get back into shape to be able to keep up with the pace. Your goal is to be able to withstand the games of basketball you are going to play. Some options are listed below that will transition well on the court.
I would try to aim for 30 minutes of jump rope, this probably won’t happen on your first attempt so work your way up with progression. Start off with 5 minutes, and gradually ad a minute each day. Stop if you need to rest, but make sure at the same time you are pushing yourself. This is really going to work the feet and the lower legs and give you the stamina and footwork that you need on the court. You should stretch before and after and make sure you wear comfortable shoes. If you really want to progress at a slower rate start with one minute and add a minute a day until you reach 30 minutes. Or add 30 seconds each day, it’s all about progression.
Jogging is a great way to get back into shape. Start off with 10 minutes, stop if you need to rest. Running is a great way to get the body ready for a basketball game and is ideal as you do a lot of running when you play. This will prepare the muscles for what to expect in a game in a linear fashion. You will notice that running outside is much harder than indoors or on a treadmill. I can run much longer on a treadmill after a long layoff than running outdoors. Whichever you choose listen to your body and if it hurts stop.
Play One on One
After you have done a little bit of training you can work on getting back your skills with some one on one with a friend. This is great because you get the ball a lot and are able to practice your basketball skills and see where your at. You may even realize that you feel better than you thought, or gasping for air. Whichever the case, one on one is a great way to get back in the grove of things from missing out on the game.
Shooting Hoops By Yourself
Another option is you can play basketball by yourself and simulate game-like shooting and moves. Keeping the intensity high as you play may be a challenge depending on what your level of fitness is like. I have done this many times and I must admit it is difficult to keep up the pace that simulates game speed. The easiest way is to start with sets of one minute. I would start out with 10 sets of one minute and keep adding sets the following days. You can shoot as many shots as you need at your own pace to work on trying to get back that skill that you lost. If you think 10 sets of one minute is going to be easy I got news for you, you may cut it down to 30 seconds after your first minute.
The difficult part of a long layoff in basketball?
The most difficult part in a long layoff is the body not responding the way you want it to when you step on the court to play. The mind says yes body the body nope. This can lead to injury. The majority of injuries that happen on the basketball court are due to improper warm-up. A proper warm-up will prevent injuries such as muscle pulls, sprains, and severe pain and soreness. even cramping.
We take long layoffs for whatever reason, we gain a little weight in the process, and you are not as flexible or agile as you once were. When you do in fact play you will feel like your lungs are about to explode, you cramp up and your muscles weaken to the point your walking most of the game.
Your mind says go but your body says no. The best way to get back into the game and be effective during a long layoff is to make sure your body is ready to actually play. This will be the most important part, more so than being able to shoot the basketball, because if you can’t get the body to respond and perform the way you want it to during the game good luck on making baskets or plays.
A long layoff from basketball because of injury
Build your basketball I.Q
What can you do if you suffered a break from the game due to injury? There are a few things that you can do to stay in the game. If you are playing on a team but are injured, you should still participate and sit on the bench to try and learn as much as you can to build your basketball I.Q. In fact, I would even sit next to the coaches on the bench and stat track like the managers do. You can ask your coach to do this. This way you get a look at what goes on in the game with turnovers rebounds etc. This is very helpful in seeing the game outside the box.
Add in basketball videos you can watch on Youtube that are tailored to your game such as moving without the ball, basketball situations, and scenarios that are important if you come across them in a game you will know what to do and anything else that could be helpful to you.
Visualizing Basketball the Mental Game
How long does it take to get back into basketball shape?
This is going to depend on how long of a layoff you have taken, past injuries, and how much extra body weight did you put on. if your in fairly good shape and standing order, after the first pickup game you able to get back into it with no issues.
If your someone that has let themself go a little bit like myself it can take a lot longer to feel like you once did back on the court. The most important thing is to keep your body healthy and set small goals that allow you to progress slowly but forward.
If none of what I have mentioned so far doesn’t work for you and you want to just jump into a pickup game then you can do so, just make sure to warm up to the point you are sweating to reduce the likely hood of injury.