Are you overtraining?

I get it, you enjoy playing basketball. You just want to keep playing ball every minute of the day. But if you are trying out or playing for a team playing basketball every minutes of the day is detrimental to your performance. Playing basketball everyday for hours could leave you tired during a big training session or game. This is commonly referred to as overtraining. This is something I know all too well.

When I was in my early 20’s training with the Melbourne Tigers, I used to hang out at our training court in North Melbourne for most of the hours in the day. I used to shoot for hours trying to improve my jump shot. I would shoot till I was so tired and sit down for 30 minutes and shoot again. I did this for years! Yes, I did improve. My 3 point shot was lethal if you left me open. But, when it came to training sessions and games I was so tired. I struggled, I missed easy shots and my concentration was terrible during training sessions which meant I stuffed up all the plays. 

I thought more (training) was better. Until, a Melbourne Tigers NBL player Eric Wickstrom told me that I trained too much. It wasn’t the quantity of training it was the quality. Instead of shooting for 4 hours come in and train hard for an hour and rest the remainder of the day. He told me this was advice he got from Magic Johnson. I didn’t take this advice! And I suffered for it for years.

One such session that got me my arse kicked was when I was trying out for the Coburg Giants VBL team. Few days prior to my second training session with the team I had a few days of intense training. By the time it came to the Giants team training session I was tired and sore. My speed was at about 50% to what I’d normally be at and I got locked down by a new player. I got waxed on defence and offence all because I was overly tired.

I didn’t realise it until I was in my thirties and my body started to break down. I just had knee surgery and I could no longer train for the durations I used to when I was young. So, I changed my training session to an intense hour to hour and a half. The result was amazing! Not only did I improve as much as I did when I went to college in USA but I started to do very well in games. I made professional basketball teams and I was sharp during training sessions. This huge improvement can only marked by my new found training mentality. Train hard for a short time and then rest the body! This is a tactic that I still employ now.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m telling you to stop training all together. What I am saying is have quality training sessions. It’s better to get on court and go at game pace for an hour or two than it is hooping for 4 hours everyday. Listen to your body, if it’s tired, rest. Get to a pool and do some recovery sessions or just take a day off from basketball and do something relaxing.

Symptoms of overtraining

Here’s how you can check if you are overtraining. Do you have these symptoms?

Physical: Chronic fatigue, always sick (getting colds and flu), decreased strength, headaches, body always sore.

Mental: Confusion, depression, irritability, lack of appetite, decreased motivation to train, reduced ability concentrate.

When your performance on court counts whether it’s a game or a training session, make sure your body is well rested so that you can be at your best every time you step on court.

It could be you that people watch on TV playing basketball

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