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.
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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.

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