Return to Sport – Basketball

With Tasmania doing such a wonderful job in reducing the numbers of cases of Coronavirus, this means that to everyone’s delight, that gyms are reopening, the trails are accessible to campers and hikers and… BASKETBALL IS BACK!

Obviously, not in its full capacity yet, however, it will be exciting for athletes of all ages to be able to access their facilities and to begin working on their game once again. 

During the time away from structured team and individual training sessions and games, athletes around the state tried to maintain some level of fitness and skill using whatever equipment they had around home. Some of the home gyms were impressive and others more ‘practical’. Some had a lot of room for their skills work and some were confined to small spaces which made precision important. 

The ability for athletes to maintain some level of training is important as it has been shown that in periods of off-season, illness and social isolation as we have seen recently, that the return to sport is a time that injury risk is high.

However, it would be wrong to think that any of this home training is enough to replicate the demands that full court training, scrimmaging against teammates and playing games against opponents. 

The AIS released a white paper in 2015 and the table below gives an indication of the injury risk associated with time off activity, training at reduced rates and how long it can take in order to reduce that risk: 

In the current situation, if athletes have had 8 weeks of training at a reduced load (likely 40-60% with home workouts), then the recommendation to return to full training in order to reduce injury risk is between 4-6 weeks. 

For this reason, it’s important for Basketball clubs, coaches, parents and athletes to ensure that a gradual return to full basketball activity is followed.

The gradual return to ‘normality’ as outlined by the government and the progressive return to basketball in line with this, will actually provide the perfect chance to use this time as another ‘mini pre-season’.    

As of today (June 19th), restrictions have been lifted and Basketball Tasmania’s Return to Sport guidelines dictate that we are in the: 


This restricts activities or gatherings to a maximum of 20 people on court and 80 people per venue*
This level should allow for a controlled return to non-contact training

*(depending on dimensions of facility)

This period provides a great platform to build training up in readiness for the hopeful progression to the next Stage which will allow contact training, scrimmages and competition to resume.  

For full details of Basketball Tasmania’s return to sport guidelines click here.

An example over the next 4 weeks to build training loads up could be: 

Week 1:  

  • Half Court 
  • ~75% intensity 
  • Ball handling 
  • Stationary: 1 ball, 2 balls 
  • On the move walking/running: 1 ball, 2 balls 
  • Technical work: footwork, positioning, Basketball IQ 
  • Catch and shoot, one dribble pull up 
  • Team plays: walk through, run through (with or without ball) 
  • Conditioning work: again don’t go too hard too soon! Majority at 75-80% with smaller bursts of increased intensities 
  • Running and change of direction work 
  • Strength work especially focussing on trunk and lower limb strength 

Week 2:

As above plus: 

  • Half Court: increased intensity of above to 85-90% 
  • Full Court: 70-80% 
  • More shooting on the move and out of plays 
  • Higher intensity running through team plays in the half court 
  • Moderate intensity of full court drills: 1 and 2 way 
  • Increased intensity of conditioning work 

Week 3:

As above plus: 

  • Half Court and Full Court 85-90% 
  • Full court team plays 1, 2, 3 way (up, back, up again) 
  • Shorter rest breaks 
  • Continue focus on skills and shooting at higher levels of intensity 

Week 4:

As above plus: 

  • Full non-contact training in preparation for adding in competitive work from July 13th


Be sure to use the time at the start of training to include some warm up drills aimed at preparing you for the session ahead. A specific warm up has been shown to lower the risk of lower limb injuries by up 60% in some populations. 

These should include activities to: 

  • Get you moving and the heart rate up: Running, sidestepping, grapevine 
  • Mobilise: leg swings, trunk rotations, Hip mobility (open/close gate; Rockclimbers) 
  • Activate/strength: planks, squats, heel raises, Arabesques 
  • Bounce (Plyometrics): small jumps, broad jumps, hops, bounds, footwork 
  • Balance and Landings: single leg stance (pass ball around waist/body/legs/to a partner); Hop and land in different directions 


Most importantly, should you feel any niggles what-so-ever, do not ignore them. A recent study showed that reporting a niggle can be useful in identifying players at risk of developing a more significant injury that will result in time off. 

For this reason, make sure you consult with us here at Physiotas so we can help you to remain on the basketball court for longer.  

The last thing anyone wants after a period of time away from basketball is more time away from basketball!!!! 

Ryan Carroll is a Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist and Director at Physiotas. He has worked with Devonport Warriors in the NWBU, the NW Thunder in SEABL/NBL1, Australian Junior Basketball teams and is now part of the medical team working with the Australian Men’s Basketball team, The Boomers. If you’ve got any questions around gradually building up training loads, niggles or injuries, screenings to identify areas to work on for performance or reducing injury risk or appropriate warm-up ideas to prepare for activity, reach out to Ryan and our team at Physiotas. We are here to help you move better and feel better.

You can book appointments online by heading to our website or by phoning your local practice.

LAUNCESTON – 6334 0622
SHEARWATER – 6428 7500
ULVERSTONE – 6425 5997