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Injury Prevention in Youth Basketball

Kids and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly—it’s hard to have one without the other. Most kids want to play sports at some point during their childhood, and basketball is one of the most popular choices. However, the child’s interest in playing basketball is usually accompanied by the parents’ fear of their child getting injured. There are several steps that can be taken to prevent injuries in youth basketball so that you can worry less while your child is playing the game.


Prevent Injuries with Safety Equipment

The first step to prevent injury in youth basketball is providing your child with the correct equipment. The right basketball equipment can drastically minimize risk of injury if used correctly.

  • Shoes: Some of the most common basketball injuries are ankle sprains and strains. To lower the risk of these injuries, your child should wear basketball shoes that provide good ankle support and that are not too loose or too tight. The shoes should also have nonskid treads so that your child will not slip on the court.
  • Mouthguards: Your child should always wear a mouthguard on the court to protect their teeth. A stray ball or elbow can easily cause tooth damage if a mouthguard is not worn. You can buy your child a standard mouthguard or a custom-fit one to provide more protection and comfort.
  • Sport Goggles: If your child wears glasses, he or she should wear prescription sport glasses or glass guards to protect their eyes and glasses from damage. Players can also wear nonprescription sport goggles to protect their eyes if they do not require glasses. Fingers, elbows, and balls can cause eye injuries while playing basketball, but wearing safety goggles can prevent these injuries.
  • Knee and Elbow Pads: Basketball is a fast-paced contact sport that has a high potential for falls. Knee and elbow pads can protect your child from abrasions, bruises, and other impact injuries when they fall on the court.


Stretch and Warm Up

Stretches and warm-up exercises prepare the body for strenuous activity. Make sure your child does warm-ups that target the area affected by the sport. A basketball trainer can teach your child the necessary stretches and warm-ups to do before practices and games. Proper warm-ups reduce the risk of injury by decreasing internal tissue resistance and improving muscle tissue extensibility. Cool-down exercises should also be done after playing basketball. During a game or practice, your child’s muscles tighten, and cool-down exercises loosen the muscles so that they can properly recover.


Take Time Off and Mix Up Activities

If your child prioritizes basketball and loves to practice and play, you need to make sure they also take days off from the sport so that their body can adequately rest. Players should take at least one day off from sports each week. If your child needs to be constantly active, it is a good idea to have them play different sports on the side so that the same muscles are not constantly engaged or overused. If your child is very athletic and active, encourage them to play pickup soccer or tennis on days they are not playing basketball. Players should also take small breaks during practices and games to reduce the risk of injuries and heat exhaustion. Constant activity for an extended period of time can put a strain on muscles and make them more susceptible to injury.


Stay Hydrated and Sleep

As with any physical activity, hydration is the key to injury prevention in youth basketball. When your child exercises, fluid is lost through sweat. If this fluid is not replaced, then your child will become dehydrated. Dehydration can affect players’ physical and mental states. It can cause problems that can hinder the player’s performance, such as muscle spasms, cramps, dizziness, and exhaustion, all of which increase the risk of injury if experienced on the court. Staying hydrated also helps keep your child from experiencing heat-related illness. Make sure you provide your child with plenty of water or sports drinks before, during, and after practices and games.

Getting enough sleep is another important step in preventing injuries. Sleep provides your child with energy, which is necessary to be able to remain alert and perform well while on the court. If your child does not get enough sleep the night before practicing or playing a game, then they will be more likely to do exercises incorrectly and make poor judgments, which can lead to injury. Sleep also gives the body time to heal and recover. After playing basketball, your child’s muscles need to be able to repair themselves, which they do during sleep. If they do not get the chance to repair themselves, the muscles will be more prone to injury.


Seek Expertise from an Elite Basketball Trainer in Knoxville, TN

An experienced basketball trainer can teach your child how to properly and safely play the game. At Priority 1 Athletics, we provide elite basketball training to players of all ages. Our goal is to help players become the best they can be while maintaining safety to prevent injuries. Our basketball trainers have years of experience both playing the game and training young athletes. We offer both group and private training sessions, so your child can receive the type of help he or she needs. Give us a call at 865-963-7382 or visit our website to find out more about our basketball trainers and the services we offer.