Movement Preparation And Recovery

The science of sport training and athlete development are two areas that most coaches definitely lag behind the rest of the world in basketball. is a website dedicated to delivering in-depth sports instruction and coaching for a wide range of sports and athletic activities. I can’t say that I was overwhelmed with the basketball technical content… HOWEVER, these two segments (below) are very good.

They’re headlined by Mark Verstegen from Athletes Performance who’s regarded as one of the best in his field. Check out these videos below as they give a good starting point for movement prep (i.e. active, non-static warm-up that prepares the body for play … decreases injury potential and increase performance) and recovery (post performance).

It’s good stuff and delivered in ‘athlete speak’ … you could easily forward this to your athletes as a starting point as he does a great job of explaining how each movement will benefit them on-court.

Prepare Your Body For Basketball

This first video is aimed at “Movement Preparation.” Through a few key exercises you can optimize your warm-up, enhance your speed, minimize the potential for injury, and eventually take your game to new heights.

Recover & Regenerate After Playing Basketball

Recovery and regeneration are very important to any athlete but most of the time they are overlooked. This final video shows how an athlete can sustain the athleticism acquired with a series of stretches and massaging techniques to nurse your muscles and ensure further play. Techniques to recover and regenerate getting muscles back to where an athlete can perform optimally – practice to practice, game to game.

Thanks for the reco, Coach Desjardins! For more info, check out

Some of the best development lessons one can learn for basketball can be picked up by watching a myriad of other sports. In fact, I’d argue that some of the marginalized, or perhaps better said, less-profiled sports do a great job in areas of movement prep, recovery and regeneration. These are key pillars in the science of optimal performance.

Not sure if you caught it but, if you watched any of the 2008 Olympic pool events (and diving for that matter), the commentators and continually referred to how the athletes were hustling to get into the “warm down” pool to recover and regenerate for their next race (or dive). Michael Phelps and Dara Torres could be seen briskly moving out of the pool to get their recovery work in.

If you saw the cut-aways to China’s “Hurdle Hero”, Liu Xiang, as he was prepping for his race, you’d see the various track and field athletes clamouring around doing their movement prep or cool down.

Same… same in Europe at the basketball world/Euro championships last summer.

Basketball Is Still Lagging Behind In This Area

I’m going to suggest that this occurs for two reasons: (1) lack of awareness, exposure, familiarity, comfort level, etc. Most of us, including myself, fall into this area. And (2), because the athletes don’t particularly “like it.”

Allow me to address the latter… Inclusion or exclusion of a drill/activity cannot be justified simply because ‘it has always been that way in the past’ and because the kids enjoy – or don’t enjoy – it.

We now know better. So, whether selfishly (as in you want to win more games) or unselfishly (you want to educate your athletes for lifelong enjoyment of sport and exercise), I encourage you to devote time in your daily training sessions to get your movement prep and recovery work it.

Let Your Players Plan A Practice

One way to keep your players involved and committed, while also assessing their understanding, is to let them plan a practice from time to time. Former Arizona women’s tennis coach, Becky Bell, would assign one or two of her players the task of planning a practice. Initially you might be a little hesitant, but you might be surprised at what they come up with.

Afterwards, debrief the session to get an understanding why they included certain elements. That debrief is a great point to educate them on what other elements can be included and how come they’re important.

You want buy in? You’ll get it this way. It’ll be an intensely fun practice for them and I think you’ll find them working hard because they designed the practice.

Oh ya… This is also a great way to assess leadership (i.e. who leads, how do they lead, who follows, etc.). It also puts others who may not typically have a voice, in a position where they must lead.

Fun. Fun… Coach creatively!


“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” —Ovid