Basketball can be a rough sport. With all of the stretching, leaping, and even crouching, the muscles are put through just as much stress as the player himself. Over the course of a game the body of a player can see enough stress that it can cause a wide variety of sprains, bruises, and other problems that a player can feel for days afterwards. It can express itself most painfully through back problems, some of which only show up after years of playing. As such, there is a system of stretching exercises needed by basketball players.
Why It Is Needed
Stretching exercises do more than just avoid back pain. Stretching helps to warm up muscles; muscles forced to go straight into exercise are more likely to tear and not in a good way. After all, muscles tear a little during any exercise, but that is to be expected; in fact, those looking to build up muscles know that some tearing is needed. At the same time, you want to keep that tearing to a minimum; too much tearing and you are looking at some potentially serious injuries. You also need to stretch ligaments; cold ligaments are not as flexible and so may not stretch as far as needed during exercise.
This also applies somewhat to cartilage; if you do not stretch then you increase the friction felt by cartilage. That increased friction helps wear down the cartilage faster; as cartilage protects the bones, the less cartilage between bones increases the odds of debilitating injury. This is why so many athletes have back issues: The decreased amount of cartilage between vertebrae can encourage back pains. Of course, stretching also gets you into the right mind frame for exercising, and that can help protect you as well.
Which Exercises Are Right For You
Stretching exercises help a player avoid a number of problems, such as sprains, bruises, and can even help avoid back pain. Different groups advocate different stretching exercises based on different approaches to sports medicine; American doctors suggest simple stretching exercises while physiotherapists in Singapore suggest exercises rooted in meditative exercises. However, which school of thought an athlete follows seems to have little effect as long as the athlete does some form of stretching exercise.
The best exercises are those that literally warm you up; your muscles should be a little warmer when you are done stretching. They also need to be thorough; as many muscle groups as possible need to stretch. You never know which muscles are going to be used in a game, and so basketball players avoiding back pain should look at any exercises that may help. Eventually, every player is going to find the exercises that work best for them, and those exercises are likely to come from a wide variety of different fields.
Nonetheless, the best exercises needed by basketball players are those that do actually stretch the muscles. This can be anything from making sure that all of the various muscles are stretched one by one to exercises that stretch entire muscle groups at the same time; all that ultimately matters is that the muscles are stretched and made ready for the abuse coming up. This should not be seen as a simple exercise that takes a few minutes; time needs to be taken to do it right or there is no reason to do it in the first place.
Differences In School
For basketball players avoiding back pain any school of stretching is welcome. The two most different schools are American and Asian schools of thought. Most Americans see the body as a machine that needs to be taken care of, and by properly maintaining the body injury can be avoided. This means that they eat foods that help build and maintain the body, hydrate so that the body has the fluids it needs, and exercise as part of a maintenance cycle. This means that stretches are used to prepare the body for whatever struggles are coming up, and are seen as a way to prevent injury.
The Asian school of thought, however, sees the body as part of the person as a whole, and therefore are more likely to see stretching as an organic part of the exercise, and it is thus part of the exercise as mostly ritual. The exercises recommended by physiotherapists in Singapore, for example, are almost ritualistic in their technique, and resemble exercises that monks have been doing for centuries. The stretching exercises used by Asian athletes emphasize exercise as part of life itself, and therefore everything is seen as part of an overall lifestyle.
It should be noted that there are a number of areas where the different schools overlap; they are not necessarily exclusive by any stretch. Just because the thought process may be different does not mean that the results will be different; a lot of athletes share information and approaches and so there has been a lot of sharing of information. There have even been areas that they find their thought processes have overlapped; the Asian perspective that the body is holy has found traction among those Americans that see the body as a temple.
When it comes down to it, it is easy to avoid back pain. A basketball player just needs to find the stretches that work best for them and makes sure that they are done. There are a lot of exercises needed by basketball players; there are some for better shooting, some for better control, and some for better teamwork. However, as they require muscles, stretching those muscles before exercise is probably the most important to avoid injury and get the most out of practice.
Of the exercises needed by basketball players the one needed the most is patience; a player needs to remember to take time and do the stretches right. While there is no guarantee that stretches will avoid injury, it is virtually guaranteed that not stretching will result in injury. With that in mind, find exercises that work for you and make sure that you do them before exercise.