Why Basketball Athleticism Matters

Do you find yourself in complete awe of the athleticism displayed by the top tier collegiate and NBA players? Have you noticed just how many great athletes dominate the highlight reels of Sportscenter? The fact is, basketball coaches on all levels are looking for great athletes. If you are currently in high school or entering high school and have dreams of playing college basketball at the Division 1 or 2 level, then you MUST be athletic to compete for a scholarship. 

Over the past 15 years there have been major advancements in sports science and a deeper understanding of athletic development. As this understanding increased, players began developing and enhancing their athletic abilities at a much younger age allowing them to enter the collegiate ranks far more athletic than any point in history. They are stronger, faster, more explosive, quicker, and more conditioned than players from the past. Sure, genetics play a role, but a sound strength, speed, and conditioning program can help you jump higher, run faster, become stronger and maximize your athletic potential. Parents are now understanding that in order for their child to compete at this elite level, they must hire a good strength and conditioning coach that specializes in basketball performance. 

As a basketball performance specialist, I have seen a tremendous shift over the past decade from college coaches and the type of players they are recruiting. College coaches used to look for the player with the amazing skill set such as shooting, ball handling, and passing and overlooked their athleticism. Now coaches are looking for very athletic players with a decent skill set. I had the opportunity to ask several college coaches why athleticism has become their priority with their potential prospects. They explained, “The very athletic player has more potential because of their athleticism and we can improve their skills set with our basketball skills coaches”. They added, “The players that are more skilled at a younger level tend to get dominated by athletes as they get older.” 

There’s no debate that basketball athleticism is now a pre-requisite if you want to play at the next level. If you look at the current landscape from the top high school players to our favorite NBA players, elite athletes are at a premium. I know that some of you reading this article are asking, “How can I become more athletic”? Good news is that you do not have to have a 38 inch vertical to become more athletic. You must have an off season basketball performance program that improves your athletic ability; including basketball strength as is relates to explosive power, foot speed in order to move efficiently, and basketball specific conditioning to be the last man standing on the court. Your goal should be to improve your athleticism so you can recognize, anticipate, and react to patterns on the court at optimum speed and precision while demonstrating basketball skills during the game.

Understanding the importance of athleticism is extremely crucial for basketball players if they want to play at the college level. Improving your athleticism will catch coach’s eyes because you will be able to beat your man to the spot on defense and force turnovers, have the foot speed to stop dribble penetration to the middle, and guard the opponent full court during the game without getting tired. These are the types of things that will separate you from others. These are the not so subtle things that coaches and scouts look for. Seek out a basketball strength and conditioning coach so that you will improve your athleticism and maximize your basketball potential!