Coach Gem: How Often Do You Work On Your Core?

Gemma Salmon is the head coach of our under 11s. In this article Coach Gem will discuss the importance of working on your core and share with you some of her workouts to help develop her core and ease lower back pain.

Picture this…. Walking into a gym full of young basketball players, age 15 and under.

What do you see? 1-on-1, a player drives to the basket and instead of making the easy layup, they go under the basket, in mid-air, the ball ends up hitting under the rim and comes back at them at a force. So they end up losing their balance and fall.

Why did this happen? Two things Mobility and Stability. Mobility relates to movement and Stability relates to control. Basketball is not just about being able to put the ball through the hoop. There are various movements we as players will need to pull off when attacking the basket. Can you take that contact and get that and 1?

You can improve your mobility and ability which will intern will help you improve as a basketball player. We can improve these two areas by working on our core. A strong core has many benefits in basketball and in life such as:

Decrease Risk of Injury – as athletes, injuries will occur. The most common injuries in Basketball are the ankles and knees. This is then followed by your lower back, wrist and hand. Once you have an injury, depending on what it was, it probably won’t feel the same again. But you have to do everything in order to make it feel as close to 100%. As amateur basketball players, we don’t take our injuries as serious and we make our own judgements for ourselves to come back when we feel it’s just “OK”. That does not necessarily mean the ankle is ready. I feel at times we skip corners and miss out the stability and mobility exercises. This is exactly when re-injury will occur. Take your time, don’t feel pressured into coming back early (especially if you’re a star player), seek professional advice and don’t cut corners.

Better Posture – we do a lot of sitting in our lives, whether it’s at school, home or work. When you improve your core strength, you’ll be more likely to have a better posture and no lower back pain.

Improves Stability – we will all age which will result in fading balance and stability. With increased core strength, you’ll improve your balance and make it easier to complete your everyday activities.

Improves Sports Performance – at times we take for granted the ability to perform bending, twisting and lifting movements. Strengthening your core will improve your balance, jumping and running movements also. Take your favourite guard and watch their ability to attack the basket, take contact while hitting a very tough shot. A great example of this is Kyrie Irving. If you don’t believe me, watch his videos. Do you think he would be able to do specific moves without a great core? He can finish anywhere around the basket because of his ability to jump, his movement in the air and then to finish.

Coach Gem’s Basic Core Workout:

  1. Before you perform any exercises, Warm Up. Anything to raise your heart rate and loosen your muscles.
  2. There are many muscles throughout your stomach. Your core is not just about your abs.
  3. When performing these exercises, in order to build your core, you need to put your body in unstable positions.
  4. In order to see progress and get the results you want, core exercises need to be done daily, especially if you are suffering with lower back pain.
  5. We will get old one day. These exercises will help you in the long run not just for basketball or sports.
  6. If you have an injury, take the time to work on your mobility first and then stability. Don’t rush back to playing as there is a greater risk of re-injury and it being worse than the previous injury.

Suffering with Sciatica these exercises help to ease my lower back pain. But I recommend these exercises as they help with my core also. If you are unsure there are videos on YouTube.

Planks – (various types) 30 sec hold (select a time suitable for you but remember to push yourself) 3
Side Planks 30 sec hold (select a time suitable for you but remember to push yourself) 3
Bird Dog 20 reps (kneeling) 3
Standing Bird Dog 20 reps 3
Glute Bridge 10 reps 3
Reverse Crunch 10 reps 3
Boat 30 sec hold 3

Not every day pick up a ball… Work on your core.