Most professional basketball players start their journey at a young age. They spend a considerable amount of time balancing basketball, education, and other areas of their lives. After many hours of rigorous training, practice, and commitment to perfecting their craft, it would be a shame if athletic injuries like a torn ACL threatened to derail their careers.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a major ligament in the knee. It controls the forward and backward movement of the knee. When a person's ACL is torn, walking, running, or any body movement that involves the knees becomes difficult. There are almost 200,000 recorded cases of ACL in the US every year, with a majority of the victims being athletes in sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball. Sports that require jumping and frequent movement of the knees and legs.
In basketball, a torn ACL can significantly affect a player's career, and even after complete recovery, which can last years, the basketballer will struggle to regain their former selves. If you usually bet on the NBA, you should watch out for teams with players with a history of a torn ACL; it can drastically affect their performance.
Staying fit is one of the most underrated aspects of being a successful athlete. This article will look at helpful tips that can help basketball players prevent ACL injuries.
Proven Tips For Preventing ACL Injuries As A Basketball Player
The mention of ACL strikes fears into the mind of any athlete. The repercussions of ACL injuries are so vast that most basketballers never fully recover from them. Here are some tips to prevent ACL-related injuries as a basketball player.
1. Forward-Backward Lunge
It's a common exercising routine used to strengthen the legs. To start:
Take a huge step forward using your left leg.
Lower your upper body until your left thigh parallels the ground, and your right knee is over your ankle.
Bend your right knee and ensure that it's facing the floor. It would help if you also lift your right hand.
Stand up by pressing your left heel to the floor and bringing your right leg forward.
Do this for both legs. For the backward lunge, take a huge step backward and repeat the process for the forward lunge.
2. Jump Squats
Stand with your feet and shoulder wide apart and bend your knees slightly. Then bend your knees fully and descend to a full squat position.
Using your core, propel your body off the ground. Your legs should be a few inches above the floor after the jump if done correctly.
Land with your foot (ball, heel, toes, arches) and return to a full squat position. Repeat immediately after landing.
3. Calf Raises
Stand straight up with your feet slightly apart and your toes facing forward. Raise your heels slowly and gently squeeze your calves. Take your heels down and repeat the process 30 times.
4. Glute Bridge
Start by laying flat on your back with your knees bent and your hands beside you. Then proceed to lift your hips by pressing your heels into the ground.
Go up until the body between your shoulder and your knees becomes straight. Stay that way for a few seconds before returning to your starting position. You can also try the glute bridge using a single leg.
Deadlift and its variations are effective in preventing ACL injuries. Deadlifts like the sumo, hex, or trap and the kettlebell help strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Try to choose the best variation for your body and practice it more often.
6. Jumping Exercises
Most of the basketballers who suffer from ACL injuries were said to have landed improperly after a jump. As a basketballer, you'll spend considerable playing time jumping. The NCBI reported that an average basketball player makes up to 60 jumps per game.
This stat is in addition to the numerous jumps they make in training sessions. That's why every basketball player needs to practice good jumping routines.
Prioritize exercises that teach you how to land properly. It would help if you learned how to land on both feet evenly, bend your knees when landing, and align your body with the feet.
The Bottom Line
An ACL injury can ruin all the efforts you have dedicated to building a career in basketball for many years. Many people have described it as a career wrecker, and that's why you need to do everything within your means as an athlete to avoid this type of injury.
Although there have been success stories of players who recovered from a torn ACL, most of them never fully attain their pre-ACL form and usually become prone to injuries. Apart from the huge blow it can cause to a career, it's also an excruciatingly painful injury.
The good news is that you can avoid an ACL injury by following the tips provided above. These tips don't cost you money, but they could prevent you from pain and help you avoid a career-ending injury.