Basketball plyometrics are a form of lower-body training exercises that can help basketball players to improve their jumping ability as well as their ability to move explosively. Basketball players can benefit from various leg-strengthening drills, but basketball plyometrics are an especially crucial part of basketball training because the benefits that they provide correlate directly to crucial skills that a basketball player needs. As important as they are, though, it is important that an athlete perform them in moderation, because overworking the muscles can be harmful to the joints and can cause injury.
The reason that basketball plyometrics can be so beneficial to basketball players is that, unlike standard weightlifting, they improve the explosion of the leg muscles rather than simply building strength and muscle mass. Plyometrics improve muscle performance by improving the neuromuscular system's ability to recruit the muscles. So, instead of building the muscles, plyometrics enable the body to make better use of the muscles that already are there. This, in turn, allows the muscles to exert more force and thus to create a faster, more explosive movement.
This increase in explosion is valuable to basketball players because it improves jumping ability and quickness. Players who perform basketball plyometrics will be able to accelerate faster, which will improve their ability to have a quick first step when making various basketball moves. Similarly, the athlete's ability to change direction while running will improve as well. Perhaps most importantly, though, basketball plyometrics will result in an increase in vertical leap — an ability that is crucial to basketball players.
When creating a lower-body training routine that includes basketball plyometrics, it is important to tailor the workout to the needs and abilities of the particular athlete. Plyometrics place a substantial strain the body, so attempting exercises that are beyond the abilities of the athlete can result in serious injury. Athletes should incorporate basketball plyometrics into their workouts gradually and should be sure to include plenty of rest intervals in the workout so that the body can recover sufficiently between sets and between exercises.
When performing basketball plyometrics, there are several exercises that can be beneficial to the athlete, almost all of which involve some form of jumping exercise. Box jumps and rim jumps, for instance are both very helpful for improving an athlete's vertical jump. Cone hops specifically target an athlete's lateral movement, which can improve the athlete's ability to effectively move around the basketball floor. There are even upper body basketball plyometrics, such as medicine ball drills, that can help improve the velocity of an athlete's passes.