Prevent Basketball Injuries

How to Prevent Basketball Injuries with Yoga like David Robinson

Do you want to be more durable and prevent basketball injuries? Try doing yoga –an activity that helped David Robinson play well into his 30s.

June 15, 2003. This marks the day David Robinson, 37 years old, played his final NBA game.

The most impressive thing about this game, other than Robinson attaining his second championship title, was his performance and contribution to the victory.

Robinson was quick, mobile, and active. He fought for rebounds, attacked the basket a couple of times, and stepped over to help contest shots.

He left the game with a stat line of 13 points, 17 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 31 minutes of playing time.

Remember, this was a man in his late thirties doing all that damage.

How Did David Robinson Perform Well During the Later Years of his Career?

So, how was he able to be so productive on the court at that age?

Well, it was because of yoga (not entirely, obviously, but a big part of it was).

Throughout his career, Robinson practiced yoga. I’m not sure exactly when he started or who introduced him to it, but it played a big part in keeping him healthy in the 14 years he played pro basketball (he was drafted in 1987 but didn’t start competing until 1989 because of military service; he played until 2003).

Here’s “The Admiral” talking about it with Furthermore:

“I do a lot of yoga, which was so big for me during my career. It helped me with my breathing, sleeping, and injury prevention. Yoga is a great workout in itself. I like that I have total control over how deeply I want to go into each stretch and how patient I am throughout a routine. No matter where I am, I can do some moves without relying on anyone else to get it done.”

Robinson was durable and was rarely injured seriously. He missed pretty much the entire 1996-97 season due to an injury, but other than that, he always played the majority of the season.

Even in his final NBA season, he played and started 64 games and averaged 26 minutes per game. That may not seem like a lot.

But when you compare these numbers to some of the other players who played until they were in their late-30s, it’s pretty impressive.

How Yoga Increased Robinson’s Mobility

Additionally, I think yoga also helped Robinson with his mobility on the court.

In his early days as a 20-something-year-old NBA player, Robinson was a pest on the defensive end.

He constantly swiped incoming passes and took the ball down the length of the court like a guard. He had these long strides that took him from one end to the other in a matter of seconds. Then, he would throw down an acrobatic dunk.

That requires a lot of mobility to do. And had he not done yoga consistently, I don’t think he would have been able to attack the basket that way on a regular basis.

How Yoga Can Help You as a Basketball Player

So, you’ve been reading about how yoga helped this one pro player. “But how can it benefit me?” you’re probably now thinking.

First off, how selfish of you. It’s not always about you. Sometimes, it’s about me.

Second, just relax… breathe. I’m going to let you know now.

Mmkay? K.

Yoga can help you with the same things that it helped Robinson with:

  • It’ll help you be more mobile because the stretching will make your body more flexible.
  • It’ll prevent injuries because it’ll help you loosen tight muscles and strengthen smaller muscles (such as core and stabilizer muscles).
  • And it’ll help you be a better basketball player because it’ll improve your patience and focus (which is great for decision making and something you apparently need to improve on).

How to do Yoga for Beginners

When it comes to yoga, there are a bunch of different schools and techniques. And any of them will be beneficial to you. But I personally think you should start with a yoga flow (or routine) called the “Sun Salutation.”

This is, in my opinion, the most basic and beginner-friendly routine. It is short (about 10-15 minutes) and the movements are essentially basic stretches.

So check it out in the video below and give this flow a try:

By starting off with this routine, you’ll get the opportunity to introduce yourself to yoga. You can get firsthand experience to see what it’s all about and feel the benefits of it.

Then once you’re comfortable with doing yoga, you can, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says, go on a “yoga tour,” where you try out a bunch of different styles to see which one you like best.

Final Thoughts

Yoga may seem like a non-practical activity that won’t do much for your basketball development. But throughout NBA history, there have been numerous players who have benefitted from yoga.

So, why not be open-minded and give it a try? What’s the worst that can really happen –you become more flexible and relaxed?