PAB Newsletter#2 : Prolong your basketball career and optimize longevity

Nov 24, 2020 | Home News, News, Performance

The aging curve is becoming a hot topic in modern basketball. During the last decade, several players are performing very well with being over 35 years old and extending their professional careers even until the age of 40. Science has been helping professional athletes prepare for the period that is late in their professional careers.

Age by itself is not a limiting factor of performance. Top performance can be achieved earlier, can be higher, and can last longer by appropriate self-care (lifestyle) and environmental care (sports training, competition management and recovery). In addition, professional career of an elite athlete seems to improve metabolic health in his later life, which is also associated with longer life expectancy. [1]

Players need a personalized mid and long-term planning that incorporates a modern science-based model of aging. Below are some successful tools:

1. TESTING AND MONITORING OF HEALTH AND SPORTS PERFORMANCE
Testing the player’s abilities and capacities enables a personalized approach to training, within which it is especially important to set realistic goals. Likewise, modern high-tech monitoring procedures (medical diagnostics, heart rate monitoring, tracking parameters, accelerometry and dynamometry, wellness questionaries, rate of perceived exertions, blood and urine parameters…) enable immediate (real-time) and precise training interventions, competition and recovery. With such an approach, mistakes in the process of sports preparation are reduced to a minimum. [2]
TIP #1: MONITOR YOUR HEALTH AND PREPAREDNESS.

 

2. SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Basketball skill is expressed by dynamic interactions with the environment. At the higher level with condensed competition calendar, players not only have to be adapted (efficient and economic, saving energy [3]), but also have to be adaptable by refining their technique and tactics according to their changing circumstances.
TIP #2: IMPROVE YOUR BASKETBALL SKILLS WITH COMPLEMENTARY SCIENCE-BASED TRAINING.

 

3. PREVENTION (INJURIES RELATED) TRAINING PROGRAMS
A large body of scientific research in recent decades has confirmed the impact of personalised prevention training programs, which are having a huge impact on reducing the number of sports injuries. Such a program usually includes mobility and stability exercises, stretching, myofascial relaxation, strength, plyometric exercises and agility exercises. [4]
TIP #3: INCLUDE 15’-30’ OF DAILY ROUTINE FOR INJURY PROTECTION.

 

4. STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAMS
Basketball performance relies on athleticism. Neuromuscular abilities (strength, power, speed, agility and change of direction, mobility, flexibility) and bioenergetic abilities (aerobic and anaerobic) allow the player to feel and act powerfully, be safe and feel confident during basketball training and competition. [5]
TIP #4: INVEST IN YOUR ATHLETICS AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE RETURN WITH INTEREST.

 

5. RECOVERY PROCEDURES
Basketball training and competition at the elite level are a major challenge that depletes athlete’s body, resulting in fatigue. Modern recovery is focused on delaying fatigue and accelerating optimal readiness. The recovery industry offers a wide range of methods (nutrition and supplementation, cryotherapy, active recovery, compression garments, hydrotherapy, manual therapy…). With the knowledge of medical doctors, strength and conditioning specialists, nutritionists and psychologists, basketball players have the opportunity to be prepared for every training session and competition. [6]
TIP #5: DEDICATE THE SAME ATTENTION TO RECOVERY AS FOR TRAINING AND COMPETITION.

 

6. NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTATION PROGRAMS
Because of the demands of top-level basketball, basketball player’s diet must be planned in detail. Food quality, food composition, quantity and timing of meals must be precisely matched. The main purposes of food and water intake are rehydration (fluids), refueling (carbohydrates and fats) and rebuilding (proteins). However, sometimes a regular diet is not possible to meet daily needs. In this case, it is important to use dietary supplements (e.g. amino acids, creatine, omega-3 fats, vitamins C, D, zinc, curcumin …). On the basketball court, the athlete’s body will recognise what was put into it. [7]
TIP #6: EVERY SINGLE MEAL IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS EVERY SINGLE PRACTICE.

 

7. PROCEDURES TO ENHANCE IMMUNITY
Immunity is not important only because of the current presence of the COVID-19 virus. Under normal circumstances, immunity is the body’s first line of defense. The most effective ways to strengthen immunity are sufficient sleep, quality nutrition, stress management, good social life and avoidance of harmful substances (smoking, alcohol, drugs). If a basketball player has less compromised immunity during his career, he is more likely to achieve more and have a longer career. [8]
TIP #7: IMMUNITY IS NOT GIVEN, IMMUNITY IS BUILT.

 

8. TIPS FOR A BETTER SLEEP
One-third of the career a player spends sleeping. Sleep should take place in an appropriate environment (appropriate temperature, humidity, darkness, noise, the position of the bed, quality of the mattress, absence of electronic devices). Sleep also requires preparation (appropriate feeding before sleep, avoiding disturbing movies or music, mental techniques…). Sleep is a great development resource of every athlete and should be nurtured persistently throughout the career, especially in the extended career phase. [9]
TIP #8: HAVE A GOOD SLEEP – DREAM DURING YOUR CAREER.

 

9. IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL TRAINING
Mindset largely determines athlete’s behavior, which directs towards their achievements. Behavior can be changed by systematic mental training. Each phase of a career has its challenges and requirements, so each phase of a career can be considered as the most important. [10] As athletes become older, they develop an expert knowledge of their discipline. They should use this powerful tool to help them extend their careers and compete with requirements such as well-defined specific goals, focus on the relevant stimulus, valuable feedback and realistic expectations.
TIP #9: YOUR MINDSET IS YOUR DESTINY.

 

10. APPROPRIATE LIFESTYLE
On average the player spends 3 to 5 hours in his club’s arena or practice facility per day. During the road trip for away games, little more time is spent on the club’s activities (team meetings, team meals, practices, games …). The remaining time away from the club’s activities (home or away), the player spends in his organization, which includes sleep, meals, education, free time, family, friends, intimate relationships, personal hygiene, etc. Proper lifestyle management greatly influences and determines the outcomes of athlete’s sporting achievements.
TIP #10: YOUR LIFESTYLE GETS RECOGNISED DURING THE GAME.

 

Things for players to consider: a lot of important people are involved in taking care of your careers. Among others, these are your basketball coaches, strength and conditioning specialists, medical doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, whether that is in your club, or in your private arrangement. Trust them, and use their knowledge and experience. With them on your side you will be more successful, and your career will last longer. Good luck!

REFERENCES

1. Merja K Laine , et al., Effect of intensive exercise in early adult life on telomere length in later life in men, J Sports Sci Med, May 8;14(2):239-45.
2. Bird Sp, Markwick Wj, Musculoskeletal screening and functional testing: considerations for basketball athletes. Int j sports Phys Ther. 2016 oct;11(5):784-802.
3. Santos S et al. Do previous sports experiences influence the effect of an enrichment programme in basketball skills? J Sports Sci. 2017 Sep;35(17):1759-1767.
4.Riva D, Proprioceptive Training and Injury Prevention in a Professional Men's Basketball Team: A Six-Year Prospective Study. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Feb;30(2):461-75.
5.Suchomel TJ, Nimphius S, Stone MH. The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance Sports Med. 2016 Oct;46(10):1419-49. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0486-0.
6. Julio Calleja-González 1, Brief ideas about evidence-based recovery in team sports, J Exerc Rehabil, 2018 Aug 24;14(4):545-550.
7. Escribano Ott I, Ibáñez Santos J. Nutr Hosp. 2020 Feb 17;37(1):160-168. doi: 10.20960/nh.02577
8. Azarbayjani M et al. The effect of preseason training on mucosal immunity in male basketball players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Dec;51(4):701-7.
9. SL, Juliff LE. Sleep, sport, and the brain. Prog Brain Res. 2017;234:13-31. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Jul 17.
10. Egan KP. Supporting Mental Health and Well-being Among Student-Athletes. Clin Sports Med. 2019 Oct;38(4):537-544. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2019.05.003. Epub 2019 Jul 29.

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