Basketball Players–there are so many strategies out there about what your training needs to look like throughout the year.

When should you do plyometrics? When should you do strength training? When should you focus more on speed? When should you only be working on your skills?

While many coaches have their opinions, when it comes to the workouts you do in-season, there should only be one purpose to them–to enhance your ability to perform on the court during games.

This might look like:

  • Helping you recover faster from practices or games
  • Helping you decrease your risk for injury
  • Helping to improve your in-game skills
  • Increasing your conditioning
  • Increasing your strength
  • Increasing your vertical jump
  • Increasing your speed, agility, or quickness
  • Helping you improve the mental side of your game
  • Helping you rebalance your autonomic nervous system\

What it should NOT look like is:

  • Something that leaves you more sore, fatigued, or depleted than you normally are after a night of sleep
  • Something that itself becomes performance-focused (“get more reps; lift more weight; run faster; jump higher” than the last time you did the training)
  • Something that increases your risk for injury either while you are doing it or after the fact because of the effects on your body
  • Something that leaves your nervous system more stressed (which can be seen by having an increased resting heart rate, elevated blood pressure, lower heart rate variability, weird tightness throughout your body, an inability to calm down your mind, or and inability to focus)

Too often coaches and trainers get caught up in having players do things for the sake of doing the thing instead of keeping the focus on making sure the player’s performance continues to increase.

Too often coaches and trainers try to make exercises in the weight room look like what a player does on the court, assuming there will be some transfer between what is being performed in the weight room and the player’s performance on the court, but failing to recognize the stress that is being placed on the player’s body in the process.

Too often coaches and trainers try to get more out of a player’s body and mind in the moment but fail to consider if it actually improved their in-game performance.

Too often players are required by coaches and trainers to sacrifice the function of their body during practices and workouts to satisfy the ego of the person leading the practice or workout.

All of that has to stop if you want your in-game performance to continue to improve throughout the season and throughout your career.

There is a time to push your body to take your strength and conditioning to new levels, but more times than not that time is not during the season. During the season, all of your training should be designed to help you perform at your highest level, and if your training is ever in sacrifice of that, it is no longer helping you perform your best.

There are a lot of ways to go about achieving the top list above without dipping into the bottom list.

In my experience, two of the most powerful ways are using Muscle Activation Techniques® and strategic, muscle-focused strength training.

At Muscle Activation Schaumburg, we have the most highly-certified MAT® practitioners in the Chicago area. We are fully certified in the MATRx process, in addition to the MATRx Stim process as well as the MAT® Athlete process.

We work with many high-level basketball players for MAT®, including players in the NBA, G-League, and multiple international professional leagues.

If you have never tried MAT® before, give it a shot. It can completely change how your body feels and functions throughout your season, allowing you to feel and perform your best, and it will quickly become that secret weapon all of your teammates will be asking you about.

Ready to get started with MAT®? Send me a DM on Instagram (@CharlieCates) and we will make it happen!

And, if you are looking for things you can implement on your own to help you prevent injuries, recover faster, and optimize your performance, you will love my weekly PRO Hooper Newsletter.

You can get signed up for free by clicking here. You will also get my top three exercises to help prevent sprained ankles when you do!

You can get stronger, more mobile, and feel better during the season than you did at the beginning of the season. While your opponents’ bodies will be breaking down over the course of the season and they will be entering playoffs depleted and hanging on by a thread, you can continue to improve week after week. But it takes a shift in how you approach your in-season workouts.

Using Muscle Activation Techniques® and strategic, muscle-focused strength training can make all the difference for your body and your season.


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!