menu close twitter facebook snapchat instagram youtube article basketball gallery graph left-arrow right-arrow search star trophy video net clipboard shield-check shield-star stopwatch filter reset Share




Shop Now USA Basketball

In-Season Mobility Training Should Not Be Overlooked

  • Author:
    By Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS
  • Date:
    Jan 2, 2015

For those of you that follow my work, you know how strongly I believe in the following conviction:

Basketball players should participate in a year-round strength and conditioning program to reduce the occurrence and severity of injury and to maximize performance on the court.

The program should be purposeful, progressive, and comprehensive and should address every aspect of basketball athleticism:

  • Balance
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Agility
  • Reaction
  • Quickness
  • Conditioning
  • Nutrition
  • Recovery

One of the most overlooked and underrated of these characteristics is mobility.

Mobility, particularly in the ankles and hips, is vital for staying injury-free and moving efficiently during the season. Every time a player runs or jumps (which happens occasionally in basketball), they perform "triple extension" — they extend at the ankles, they extend at the knees, and they extend at the hips. If any one of those three joints can't go through a full range of motion, then the player won't be able to run as fast or jump as high as they are capable of.

Conversely, every time a player lands from running and jumping, they want the impact to dissipate through those same three joints. If any one of those three joints can't flex properly to absorb the impact, it adds tremendous pressure to the next closest joint. For example, a player with tight, immobile ankles or hips is not only limiting their potential to run and jump, they are also causing additional, and unnecessary, impact on their knees!

While I address mobility (and flexibility) on a year-round basis, I place even more emphasis on it during the season.

Many of the exercises we do were derived from yoga. If you think Yoga is for stay at home soccer moms... think again muchacho. Yoga has been around for centuries and helps develop strength, balance, flexibility, mobility, body awareness, and concentration—qualities that can drastically improve performance on the court.

You don't have to take a 90-minute Yoga class at your local health club to derive the benefits. I have tweaked many conventional Yoga poses and adopted a series of mobility exercises for my players to perform before and after every strength workout, practice and game during the season.

You will see a few of these Yoga-ish exercises this video from the warm-up we did prior to our first game of the 2011-2012 season:

The above warm-up can be done anywhere! You can perform this in a hallway, locker room, or in an alternate gym. Don't let a lack of facilities or space serve as an excuse.

Basketball players tend to get tighter as the season progresses, especially in the hips, groin, and lower back. This is an effect of the cumulative fatigue caused from intense daily practices and games over the course of several months. The only way they can maintain a maximum level of mobility (and flexibility) is if they make a commitment to do these type of exercises consistently.

And similar to in-season strength training, you will never find the time to address mobility, you have to make the time for it! If you do, trust me, it will pay dividends on the court.

Related Videos

USA Basketball's Jay Demings (Youth and Sport Development Director) and Don Showalter (10-time gold medal winning junior national team coach) discuss the four stages of progressive player development.

USA Basketball's Jay Demings (Youth and Sport Development Director) and Don Showalter (10-time gold medal winning junior national team coach) break down the Philosophy for Player Development in this podcast.

Related Content

USA Basketball Virtual Skills Camps bring young basketball players together from around the world for intense, competitive and fun skills work.

  • Author:
  • Date:
    Nov 4, 2020

Have you ever considered the possibility that the behaviors you find most aggravating within your team might be undercover superpowers?

As young athletes navigate through adolescence, they may run into situations that challenge their moral compass. Whether your athlete is faced with an ethical dilemma in school, in sport, or in the community, doing the right thing is important – no matter who is watching.

USA Basketball Associate and Gold Coach Licenses for the 2020-21 season are now available.

Featuring on-screen skills instruction and drill work, USA Basketball will host two USA Basketball Virtual Skills Camps in October 2020.

Coach Licensing & Organization Accreditation Login

Forgot Password?