While working with the great athletes of the New Heights Basketball summer camp, we’ve been stressing a lot about good posture and having a strong athletic base. For the campers, we demonstrated the difference between optimal body position and what looks like a hunched position. They could see the difference in the improvement to guard more efficiently, to take their defender better off the dribble, and to facilitate ball movement because they could see down the court.
But it doesn’t just stop with basketball. Good posture is something that affects everyone in all aspects of life. Take a second to focus on how you’re sitting or standing right now? Are your shoulders hunched forward? Is your chin down towards your chest? Where are your feet? If you’re a desk jockey in an office, you should get into a routine of being cognizant of your posture when sitting and get up to do some posture stretching. Simply find a wall (preferably with nothing on it) and put your heels, lower back, shoulders, and back of your head against that wall. Take your hands at your sides (palms facing your body) and raise your arms – keeping your elbows straight – overhead in a 10 second count until your thumbs touch the wall. Then lower your arms back down to your sides in a 10 second count. You should notice more clarity in your work and sitting a little bit taller than before.
For the athlete ready to go into battle, athletic base is essentially good posture, but with incredibly overall body stability. The stronger your athletic base, the more you resemble a boulder that is nearly impossible to push over. At the basketball camp, we cue the campers to get into “Base” position and then walk around to see who falls over with slight pressure from the side. This hands-on approach allows for quick fixes in the common problem areas (foot position, foot distance, knee bend, straightness of back, shoulder blade position, neck neutrality, etc.) and illustrates to the individual how this slight changes make a huge difference.
Remember, a more efficient body will produce at a higher level, no matter what the task.