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Parent's Guide: Section 5 Health, Safety, and Fitness

  • Date:
    Apr 19, 2021


By Tamara Pool, Athletic Trainer

For the vast majority of bumps, scrapes and so on, ice is always the best approach. Ice the injury immediately for 15 minutes, and if necessary, keep using the ice sporadically over the next day or two. The RICE approach is best -- R is for Rest; I is for Ice; C is for Compression -- that is, wrap the injury with an Ace bandage overnight (snug but not too tight); and E is for Elevation. That means you want to lift the injured limb higher than your heart. For example, you want to prop up your ankle so that it's higher than your heart.

For most of the common basketball injuries, such as jammed fingers or turned ankles, you'll find that 24 hours after the injury usually will tell the truth as to whether they are getting better. If the player is still in pain a day after the injury, then call the doctor.

Of course, with any head or neck injury check with a physician immediately.

Fitness Tips for Your Players

By Greg Brittenham, Assistant Coach/Player Development, New York Knicks

In basketball more than any other team sport, a number of injuries, short and long-term, can be traced back to the sneakers players wear. The demands of the sport -- extreme linear and lateral movements -- put particular pressure on the feet that affect ankles, knees and the lower back. If a young player experiences foot pain, multiple ankle turns or sprains, pain or pressure in and around the knee, or complains of lower back pain, it's possible his or her sneakers are responsible. Blisters on the feet are also an indication the player's shoes are either too big, too small or have insufficient support around the foot and ankle.

Take some time to explain to your young player that taking care of their body away from the court will help them a great deal when they are on the court. Plyometrics exercises are one way that can help. When performed correctly they are safe, fun to do and go a long way in helping basketball players develop their quickness, speed, agility and jumping ability.

The purpose of performing plyometric exercises is to increase a player's explosive power. The best part of these drills is that they're easy to do and require very little equipment. When performing the drills concentrate on speed and quickness rather than on how high you are jumping. Here's a few drills to help get your child get started. The entire plyometric session shouldn't last more than 15-20 minutes.

Jump Rope -- Skipping rope is actually a low impact plyometric and a great way to introduce your muscles to the quickness required when performing the drills correctly. Jump rope for about 5-7 minutes to get loose. Remember to stay on your toes.

Box Run -- Use a small sturdy wooden box or a stair step, no more than 10 inches high. Start with your right foot on the box or step and the left foot on the floor. Jump and simultaneously switch your feet so that the left foot is now on the box and the right is on the floor. Immediately repeat (without stopping). Perform 10-20 ‘switches then rest for 1-2 minutes. Do this drill 3-5 times. This is a good drill to develop sprint speed and jumping ability.

Box Jump -- Stand with both feet on the same box or step. Your toes are on the edge of the step (your heels are hanging over the edge). Jump off backward and land on the floor simultaneously with both feet. Immediately jump back to the top of the box. Concentrate on how quickly you can jump off the floor and back up onto the box. Rest for a second or two and then repeat 10-15 times to complete the set. Rest for 1-2 minutes between sets. Perform this drill 3-5 times. This drill will help your vertical leaping ability.

Towel Hop -- Spread a towel out on the floor. It will form a rectangle. Start at one corner of the towel and perform a double leg jump around the towel’s edges touching all four corners of the rectangle. Perform 3-8 complete ‘roundtrips’ (a roundtrip is one complete revolution touching all four corners), then repeat in the opposite direction for 3-8 roundtrips. Rest 1-2 minutes. Do this drill 3-5 times. This drill will help improve you agility.

Lateral Jumps -- Now take that same towel and roll it up to form a tube shape. Put a piece of tape around it to hold it in place. Lay the rolled up towel on the floor and stand sideways to the towel. Jump ‘laterally’ (sideways) over the towel. The instant your feet touch the ground on the other side of the towel immediately jump back to the starting position. Repeat back and forth jumping until you have performed 6-10 ‘roundtrips’ (a roundtrip is over and back).

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