Basketball Players – with the regular season right around the corner, what can you do now to help give you an edge come tip off?

While social media would have you believe that you need to get access to the latest drills or work with a celebrity skills trainer, there are some very simple things you can do to have a huge impact on your performance without trying to wait in line to get coached by somebody else.

1. Put More Emphasis On Your Recovery Every Day

Right now, as you are on the cusp of kicking off the season, there is a huge emphasis being placed on getting in game shape and making sure you are physically and mentally ready for the first game.

But remember, the season is long, and if you push too hard now, you can break down on the back end.

Instead, put more emphasis on your recovery every day. Eat cleaner. Get more sleep. Drink more water. Find times to relax and let your body calm down.

Building those habits into your day now not only will help you perform better right now, they will also help keep you performing at a high level all season long.

2. Make Your Strength Training Something That Is A Must

One of the things that gets lost the fastest during the season is your strength if you are not prioritizing your strength training.

Not only will this affect your performance on the court, losing strength will also slow down your day to day recovery as well as put you at higher risk for injury.

Instead of pushing your strength training aside into the list of things you only do during the off season, make it a priority to get your strength training in at least twice per week.

A minimum of two focused strength training sessions a week where you are working your lower body, upper body, and core will make a huge difference in your on-court performance.

Your strength training sessions don’t have to be extremely intense, but they do need to be extremely focused. Get in, get it done, and get out. It should only take you around 30 minutes to do what you need to do.

3. Muscle Activation Techniques®

One of the most powerful ways to keep your body firing on all cylinders the entire season is to get regular Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) sessions.

At a minimum, aim to get in with your local MAT® practitioner every other week during the season, but if you can get in more frequently, do it.

Your MAT® practitioner will make sure your muscles are functioning exactly as they are supposed to, helping you to increase your strength, recover faster, reduce soreness, decrease your chances of injury, and improve your joint mobility.

Over the course of the season, the function of your muscles will start going downhill due to the volume of stress placed on them with practices and games.

Other ways of trying to help you recover, such as massage and stretching, can do a nice job at calming down symptoms, but do little in the way of improving the function of your muscles.

As such, you are left feeling momentarily better but ultimately worse off as your body is still susceptible to an increased risk for injury.

The switch that needs to be made is instead of trying to relax and loosen up your muscles directly, you need to start activating them with MAT®. When that happens, not only will your muscle function improve, but the muscles that are feeling tight and sore will loosen up, too.

If you want to experience MAT® for yourself, you can schedule a time to get your body assessed here.

While you cannot replace the experience and skill of a high-level MAT® practitioner on your own, if you are struggling to find one in your area or are having trouble making it work schedule-wise, you can do light reinforcement exercises to improve your muscle function.

These kinds of exercises are what I send out every week in The PRO Hooper Newsletter, which you can sign up to receive here.

It is completely free, and the information is 100% tailored to help you Prevent Injuries, Recover Faster, and Optimize Your Performance.

Right now, it can feel like whatever level your game is at is where you will be for this upcoming season. But, there are things you can do right now to take your game to the next level and beyond.

Putting more emphasis on your recovery every day, making your strength training a must, and doing MAT® will not only help you prevent injuries and perform better right now, they will keep your body operating at a high level all season long.


Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates is the leading consultant to high-level professional, college, & high school basketball players in the Chicagoland area for injury prevention, recovery, & muscle performance. As a certified Muscle Activation Techniques® MATRx practitioner & former college basketball player, he uses his personal experience & understanding of the game & player demands to create customized exercise options for his clients to recover faster & perform their best. He is certified in the highest levels of MAT®, including MATRx, MATRx Stim, and MAT® Athlete. Follow him on Instagram @CharlieCates!