Basketball safety key to success on court

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE -- Now that intramural football has come to a close, basketball can be seen on the horizon, and it's important for those planning to participate to get in shape so they can enjoy a full season. 

Before even starting to get physically prepared for the season, it's important to get a good pair of basketball shoes, as basketball produces different strains on your feet and ankles than simple running or walking. 

"Basketball is a game of angles," said John Martin, exercise physiologist at the health and wellness center. "You're not just moving back and forth. You need support on the outside, and the inside, of the shoe. Basketball shoes are more rigid because of the angles (you move at while playing)." 

The next step in helping to ensure a safe-season is to get your body in shape and ready to play. 

"Take the time to prepare now," Martin said. "Do some aerobic and resistance training to get ready, especially work on your legs. Body weight squats, single leg squats and lunges will help to strengthen the upper part of the legs" 

Martin also said that it's important to do some leg exercises in order to help prevent one of the most common types of basketball injuries, those involving the ankle. 

"Double or single calf raises, at various angles, can help strengthen the ankle," Martin said. 

While basketball may be leg-intensive, it's also important to develop the "core" area, which includes the abdominal and chest muscles. 

"It (a strong core) will help stabilize your body and help you when you move," Martin said. 

With all the movement and exertion involved in a game of basketball good, aerobic fitness is key to a productive season. 

"It's vitally important you don't just step out on the court unconditioned," Martin said. "You can go out to the track and do some interval training or train on the treadmills at the gym. Play some pick-up games of basketball, in combination with the other training, it'll help provide a great intramural basketball season. Also, it helps to stay fight-to-fight" 

Martin said it is also important to stretch and warm up, before training and before playing basketball. 

Finally, players should check with there primary care providers to make sure old injuries don't effect them during the season, Martin said.