Fast-paced and agility-focused, basketball is a great team sport for kids. But, owing to the athleticism involved, it can increase the risk of injury to their ankles, feet and knees.
Luckily, And1 has the kids’ basketball shoes Australia needs to keep our young players shooting for the stars. Here are some tips on how they, combined with skill-specific exercises, can help prevent injury.
There’s no doubt that court surface plays a role in the likelihood of a basketballer injuring their feet. While wooden, indoor courts provide the most shock absorption, in reality, games will sometimes be played on more punishing surfaces, like concrete.
Jumping, running and making sharp rapid turns can put basketballers at risk of plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, achilles heel, and, sesamoiditis, a painful injury where the tendons of the foot become inflamed.
To minimise risk, look for footwear with features such as moulded side panels for increased lateral support, outriggers for swift cuts, and fixed internal footbeds for cushioning – and encourage lots of stretching.
Junior basketball means at least 30 minutes of jumping, block-outs and cuts, during which a young player can roll their foot, land badly, or even stand on a fellow player, all of which can damage the ankle.
Studies have shown that high top or high cut shoes can limit ankle motion during planting and cutting because they provide valuable stability.
Look for junior kicks like the Spin Move which have low profile EVA cushioning to ensure a soft and connected landing.
Very few players are unfamiliar with the pain of an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury. This crucial ligament, one of four that stabilises the knee, gets a real workout on the basketball court, where rapid direction changes, jumping and pivoting are key.
Serious ACL injuries require surgery, so it pays to prevent them at all costs, though a combination of targeted strength training, stretching and, of course, well-fitting shoes that provide traction, stability, cushioning and grip.
The Pulse Mid 2.0 feature a radial herringbone sole pattern and thin-ribbed treads increase court contact to limit bad landings.
These injuries, which range from soreness right through to fractures, are specific to children and happen where tendons and bones meet, such as in the heel and shin.
The underdeveloped nature of kid’s bodies make these injuries more likely but is also what gives junior players their impressive flexibility.
To support this hypermobility, and ensure they have the confidence to shoot or steal without worrying about sitting out the season, look for a shoe with a cushioned and fixed internal footbed.
START WITH A SAFE FOUNDATION
Of course, injury prevention always beats treatment. Targeted stretching, balance training and stability exercises – such as standing on one leg on a balance dome – and exercises that improve core strength, like planks and skipping, are vital.
With the right conditioning and well-fitted, purpose-designed shoes, you can ensure your junior basketballer spends more time on layups – and less time being laid up.