Playing basketball or any similar sport is great exercise, but it can also take a toll on our body. This is why we’re supposed to have the correct gear and clothing while playing certain games. With basketball, we usually see the pros wear loose clothes that leave the arms and legs mostly uncovered. However, for a few years now, several NBA players have taking to wear compression shorts.
What Exactly Are Compression Shorts?
Compression shorts are similar to long but tight shorts, and are mostly worn underneath a looser pair. Basketball players have also been known to don full-length leggings under their uniform shorts.
These shorts or leggings (also sometimes known as compression tights) are meant to absorb the body’s sweat, provide some warmth, reduce muscle strain, and enhance healthy blood flow during play and afterward.
The material for compression shorts is an elasticized one; while the sizes and colors vary, this material will stay the same. The quality compression shorts will be tiger yet stretchable enough to provide support to the thighs and lower legs. The elasticized material will cling to the skin and won’t get sweaty or wet.
Compression garments aren’t really a new deal. They have been around for several years and usually studied for their benefits to athletes. Many athletes and pro players even wear them because they look good, providing a sleep appearance. The shorts also come in all color varieties, so one can match them up with the uniform of their team.
On the other hand, many athletes also assert that the shorts help to improve their performance and also make them more comfortable while on the field or court. Today, compression shorts have become quite popular, especially where basketball is concerned. Even AAU players have started wearing these shorts after observing them on their role models in the NBA.
On the other hand, compression shorts just might among the gear you need to have for playing basketball. Let’s now look at the various benefits that might convince us to start this practise as well.
1. Might Prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS is a sort of muscle fever that doesn’t make itself known immediately after heavy exercise, a basketball game, or practise. The soreness makes an appearance a couple of days after the fact, and is mainly caused by activities that are similar to gym workout. Basketball players suffer from this issue quite often, as they have to run, maneuver, dribble, jump, and contract their bodies in several different ways.
There are other factors that contribute to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Genetics is one of the most substantial ones, while poor sleep and biological stress are also in the mix.
For now, even modern science hasn’t been able to explain just why DOMS even happens. An official cure is also not found yet, though several players take ibuprofen and get massages to deal with the pain. If someone is facing an intense case of DOMS, it might be due to a lack of Vitamin D or REM sleep (that’s the kind that helps in healing our body).
Here is where those compression tights or shorts come in. While training, wearing these shorts can really help in reducing the muscle oscillation. As a result, the microscopic tears in the muscles don’t occur so easily or so often, thus preventing DOMS as well.
Along with wearing such shorts, it’s believed that basketball players should also manage the glycogen and electrolytes through proper nutrition. These practices help to ease the soreness after an intensive practise session or workout.
2. Helps to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when there are blood clots formed in the veins. This could be a painful and dangerous situation, occurring mostly in the lower legs or thighs. The clots can even form in a young person’s body, so it doesn’t have much to do with age.
With Deep Vein Thrombosis, one experiences pain and swelling, while the affected area might feel warmer to the touch than is usual. Basketball players or exercise enthusiasts who have undergone surgery or some sort of trauma are in more danger than others. The same goes for anyone who smokes or is overweight.
Blood clots in the veins can possibly move to the lungs or cause blockages in the arteries. This is why doctors recommend the use of compression pants if someone is a basketball player or has just undergone surgery. These pants help in reducing swelling and improve the blood flow in our body, possibly saving lives in certain cases.
3. Enhances Stretching Benefits
Before a workout, game or practice, basketball players have to stretch properly. This goes for any person who has to undergo an exercise or play a game, as stretching helps to loosen muscles and can prevent injuries during physical activity. With players stretching before a game starts, their muscles can start tightening up if the playing goes on for a long time.
One of the interesting benefits of compression shorts is that they help the stretching advantages last for longer than usual. This is because they help in keeping the muscles warm and hence flexible. Plus, if the game has several time-outs, the added warmth keeps the muscles from seizing up. So, while compression shorts aren’t usually included in the list of protective gear for basketball, it should be among one of the top priorities.
4. Provides Comfort with Stability
Even if compression shorts didn’t contribute to better performance on the basketball court, many players would probably prefer to wear them for the stability they provide. We say this in terms of keeping the genitals in place while the player is running about.
If it weren’t for compression shorts, basketball players would feel quite uncomfortable running about in loose boxers. Some of these compression garments even have padded directions to keep everything safe and steady even during the most intense game. Even if someone is playing basketball alone, compression shorts will keep them more comfortable and enable them to focus on the game.
5. Help to Ease Injuries
Whenever you play a sport, injuries are inevitable. Basketball might not be as risky as other games, but the players there are definitely at risk of several injuries. Again, compression shorts are great for both preventing certain injuries and helping to ease others.
When you’re knocked down while playing basketball, or have to dive for the ball, the compression shorts will ease the fall. If you’re not wearing them, such dives or falls could result in awful burns. The basketball court floor is usually made of hardwood, which is coated with a grip that can really burn your skin if you slide against it with enough force.
6. Helps to Stay Warm
Whenever you’re playing or exercising, your body is making use of sweat in order to cool itself down. With compression shorts on, basketball players can maintain their body temperature no matter what they’re doing on the court.
When a basketball game is in session, the activity level doesn’t stay the same throughout. There are bursts of activity, with a few minutes of relative slowness in between. This means that your muscles are suddenly being called into action several times within a few hours, which increases the chances of injury. The compression shorts keep these muscles loose and ready for action. As a result, players won’t be pulling or straining their muscles quite so easily.
7. Feel and Look Good
If you ask some pro basketball players why they wear compression tights or shorts, the answers might not even include any of the above benefits. They will probably say that this decision is based on how they feel when they wear the shorts. Simply put, most players feel better and hence play better when they’re donning these shorts under their regular uniforms. If the garment helps them remain free of injury as well, it’s a win for everyone.
If you are looking for more information about basketball gear, you may also read our article about Basketball Protective Gear.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that every person is different. Basketball players might each have the same passion and career, but their bodies also differ from each other. Hence, compression shorts might be a great idea for one player but not for all of them. It all boils down to a matter of personal choice; in fact, some players might find compression shorts too redirecting and not worth the trouble.
Also, we have to keep in mind that all the compression garments in the world won’t be upping your basketball skills. They might help you focus on the game and stay more comfortable, but the running, shooting, jumping, and other skills are all up to talent and practise. While there are no guarantees for complete safety, compression shorts are still a good idea for any basketball player.
Also, aside from compression shorts, basketball players may also find leg sleeves beneficial. If you are interested, you can learn more about it on our Guide to Basketball Leg Sleeves.