Rest and Recovery for Basketball Players

By Adam Barnes

As many of you already know, getting rest and allowing proper recovery time is a critical component to keeping an athlete performing at an elite level. However, one thing many often overlook is the difference between rest and recovery and how to effectively implement both of them.

First, let’s define both terms.

Rest: Combination of sleep and time spent NOT training. Rest is the easiest to understand and implement.

Recovery: Techniques and actions taken to maximize your body’s repair. These include hydration, nutrition, posture, eat, ice, stretching, foam rolling, stress management, compression, and time spent standing versus sitting or lying down. Recovery is multifaceted and involves much more than just muscle repair, such as chemical and hormonal balance, nervous repair, mental state, and more.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the elements of rest and recovery.

  1. Sleep
    • Average of 7-10 hours per night
    • Sleep in the most natural setting possible
    • The hours slept BEFORE midnight are more effective than those after
    • Fresh air and cooler temps will improve the quality of sleep
  2. Hydration
    • Drinking adequate amounts of water improve health, energy, recovery, and performance
    • Water is the best way to hydrate
    • Check color of urine: Clear to Pale Yellow = Hydrated
    • Try to avoid flavorings and any additional additives
  3. Nutrition
    • Create a meal plan each week
    • Have healthy snack available for you to enjoy throughout the day
    • Avoid alcohol and processed foods as they contain toxins harmful to the body
  4. Heat, Ice, and Compression
  5. Quiet Time / Mental Relaxation
    • Dedicate 15-30 minutes per day to have personal reflection time.
    • Goal setting, reading, etc.
  6. Posture
    • Students, pay attention. In class or at home, focus on using proper posture while sitting.
  7. Stretching
    • Stretching not only helps performance, but it can help athletes remain pain-free
    • Include dynamic stretching in your warm-ups
    • Include static stretching following your workout
    • Avoid doing the exact same stretches every single time
    • Focus on areas that need extra attention but do not overstretch
  8. Foam Rolling / Self-Myofascial Release

Focusing on these eight elements will pay dividends for your athletes. Keep in mind, we live in a world where over-training is extremely prevalent, the last thing we need to do is add any additional stress to our athletes by not giving them the proper tools to take care of their own body.

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Player Development Specialist (High School, College, & NBA) & Recruiting Analyst/National Camp Director
June 24, 2013 – Colorado Springs, NM, U.S. – UNM’s Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams get a chance to talk as the stretch out after the first practice for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team Training Camp in Colorado Springs on the grounds of the United States Olympic University. Monday, June. 24, 2013. (Credit Image: � Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal/


  1. Angel Macedon said:

    Great stuff here Adam and I implement all of the above at Oakland high. Unfortunately, most still don’t understand the importance of rest and active recovery.

  2. Angel Macedon said:

    Great stuff here Adam and I implement all of the above at Oakland high. Unfortunately, most still don’t understand the importance of rest and active recovery.When I had Damian Lillard we fought constantly over these issues!