Reclaiming the Basketball Court After Injury

February 19, 2016

Andrew Walters

So you were injured in the middle of your basketball season, and have to sit out a few games. It sucks-- no one is denying that--but you need to prepare now to be fully recovered and ready to go, you need to do all you can to fully immerse yourself in the sport again--for your team's benefit as well as your own. Here are some pointers to get your head and body back in the game:


Actually recover

When you're on a team and you know your teammates are counting on you, it can be really tempting (extremely tempting) to cut your recovery time short to get back on the court. Don't. You are not a doctor, a physical therapist, or a coach. Those guys know what's best for you--listen to them. Jumping in before you're ready can do serious and permanent damage that will eventually keep you off the court for good. Better to take the extra week now than to lose out on years of playing because you've torn your ACL twice or decided your arm felt "okay." This includes concussions; You need your brain to play sports.


Don't baby yourself

You don't want to stress the injury and cause permanent damage, but at the same time you don't want to remain so sedentary that your muscles atrophy. Start with whatever your P.T. gives you and build back up to where you were. If you can get a teammate to work with you so you have a good idea of the intensity you need to build back up to, that is ideal.


Show up for the games

Show up for the games-- Being benched is no fun, but being on the actual bench is pretty important. When you show up to games, you not only remind your teammates that you're still on their team (pardon the cheesiness), but you can also keep tabs on what's going on--their track record, what they need to improve on, what you can focus on to be the best possible asset when you get back in there. Popping into practices from time to time during your recovery wouldn't hurt either, even if you're just watching.


Visualize your return

No, not the "He shoots, he scores" type of visualization (you can do that too, though.) Your mind is as important as your body in this sport. You can't expect to come back on the court without any mental preparation for what's going to happen out there. You need to be ready for defense and offense to come at you from all sides, for your teammates to give you subtle cues as to where to go and what to do, for what's expected of your position. Thinking it through ahead of time makes returning to the game a lot easier than being constantly surprised when you get out there.


Ask for help if you need it

Ask for help if you need it-- Don't let your pride make you less valuable to your time. If you're having trouble re-adapting to a particular move or strategy, or if you need some pointers during the recovery period, ask! Nobody's going to judge you or think less of you for asking for the help. The most important thing is for you to get back on your feet and on the court.

Injury is always a a possibility on the court and off, but it is usually a temporary situation. How you deal with it at the time, and how you come back from it can determine your entire sports future.

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