The Importance of Strength Training for Female Basketball Players

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Basketball is a highly demanding sport, and with specific positions come different body types, with different skill sets required. The sport itself is built around speed, agility, and power, meaning strength training for female basketball players comes with huge advantages.

In terms of Females in Basketball, we know they are 3.6% more likely to be injured in their lower limbs for example ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), Hamstrings, and Ankle Injuries if they do not have a consistent strength training program.

There have been many studies showing significant decrease in lower limb (non contact) injuries from participating in continued strength training, but there are also big performance gains to be had.

Strength Training Female Basketball

With a high participation rate of females in basketball, the need to focus on athletic development and training age is important, and will dictate the level of performance from the athlete, and ultimately the pathways they are able to reach.

Why Will Strength Training Help Your Game

There are many ways in which strength training will benefit female basketball players, here are a few:

1 – Improve Lower Limb Alignment

Compared to Males, Females have different physiological structures. A big example is the angle in which our hip is placed in relation to our ankle. In a male it is relatively a straight line, however in females with a wider pelvis (to support pregnancy) our angle is more of a diagonal line. Which can impact the way our body reacts to landing, our balance control and postural alignment.

Especially in basketball, being able to repetitively jump and absorb force is a crucial component in both offensive and defensive structures. Such as rebounding, layups and jump shots.

2 -Maintaining a Strength Base

Looking at Elite Females and their physical attributes, they are training to be at their best during the season.

When we compare Elite to sub-Elite the biggest difference is generally that full time athletes are training more than 20 hours per week, in comparison to lower level athletes who are typically doing less than 10 hours with work and school on top of that.

If we increase strength, then we will also increase our speed and power, which in most sporting codes is beneficial.

Starting out movement patterns can be challenging, and society has taught us women are not as strong as men. We have different hormones, and different physiological factors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be strong.

3 – Strength Endurance

In a game of basketball athletes will generally have an average of between 40-60 maximal jumps, and between 40-60 changes of direction at top end speed.

The ability to be able to repetitively compete and perform these movements at max capacity over 4 quarters can be challenging and aerobic fitness isn’t the only factor.

Strength Endurance in relation to basketball is being able move well over 4 quarters and not lose form, or begin mental fatigue. If our body is strong and powerful we have a better chance our legs aren’t going to fatigue during a 3 point shot in the last few seconds of the game.

Every movement pattern is engaging specific muscle groups to recruit and act in a matter of seconds.

Basketball is highly competitive and having an advantage of not fatiguing as quick as others on the court will help your team and you as an individual on the court (Spiteri, 2004).

4 -Aerobic Conditioning

Being ‘Game Fit’ is a term that you will hear from a lot of coaches and strength and conditioning staff. Being aerobically fit is crucial to performance, when we fatigue both aerobically and physically (strength) we head into mental fatigue and our decisions on defensive and offensive movements become off, we don’t make the best pass, miss 2 shots in a row and things that were once easy now become extremely difficult to perform well.

Conditioning for basketball needs to include a base aerobic portion, but also training at high intensity speed efforts and reaching game speed in our external training is a must in order to assist in replicating what you are going to do on the court.

Every time we cut it is with intent, every time there is a fast break we have to reach our max speed to succeed.

5 – Vertical Jump (Rebounding/Jump Shots)

The more we practice jumping the better we are going to be at it. For Female Athletes there has always been a percentage that struggle to absorb force and use it effectively. With many factors coming into play such as training age, not having opportunities to properly train and plyometric training not being a part of the annual yearly training plan.

Plyometric training combined with a mixture of strength training, power and explosive work, assists us to be able to jump higher but also at a quicker rate. In basketball whatever we are doing, it is always to be better than our opponent.

So if we are 1 second slower in getting that rebound, or tap in a jump ball we are going to always come second. Every Female Athlete in basketball, should have a basic understanding of how to jump and be effective with their movement patterns.

6 – Mental Health

Most females that are committed to strength training, will feel empowered, strong and confident. They will walk away knowing that they can achieve anything if their mind is set to it.

Sleep health and anxiety common in both sexes can be affected in a positive way. During our menstrual cycle when a female athlete may be feeling down and out, training at a lower volume and intensity is beneficial in increasing endorphins and helping relieve any PMS symptoms.

Encouraging our athletes to still train is an important message that we can give, instead of just sitting out and not participating.

Want To Know More

If you would like to know more or you’re a female athlete looking for a performance coach and environment to train in, please contact our Strength & Conditioning Coach Shona O’Connell-Shea to book in a session.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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