Best Types of Massage for a Basketball Player

By rule, basketball isn’t a contact sport. It revolves around the finesse, athleticism, speed, and skill of the players, displaying them through running, passing, dribbling, rebounding, and shooting. Yet, a great deal of tolerable contact is still present in basketball with players vying for positions. As such, there’s the soreness, fatigue, and injuries from the overused and tired muscles, which can immensely affect the athlete’s performance and recovery.

That’s why it’s important to incorporate massage sessions into a basketball player’s routine as it can help get him through the tough stretches of the actual game and training. Apart from eating well, stretching, and body conditioning, massage therapy helps manage muscle conditions while also increasing endurance and flexibility, and reducing the risk of injury.

If you’re planning to get a massage, read on below as we’ve listed the best types of massage that will benefit you the most.

1. Deep Tissue Massage

A deep tissue massage is among the most common massage types applied not only on basketball players but to all athletes. It’s a therapeutic treatment, which targets both superficial and deep muscle layers and connections that works great in relieving severe tension in the said structures.

Unlike other massage types that focus on relaxation, deep tissue massage is more intense with therapists focusing and applying slow, deeper strokes on the affected areas.

Such technique promotes blood flow that in turn relaxes trigger points and loosens tight muscles, making it perfect for recovery or rehabilitation from stress and strain due to hard training or a grueling match-up.

2. Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is different from deep tissue massage as it doesn’t tackle deeper musculature. Instead, it involves long, comfortable kneading strokes, combined with other actions like tapping, rolling, vibration, percussion, and movement of the joints. Massage lotion or oil is utilized for protecting the skin from friction.

Many athletes prefer this massage as it’s very gentle and serves more as a pampering or relaxing massage. Yet, it’s effective in alleviating tension, stimulating blood circulation, and strengthening the muscles without further damaging them. With that, basketball players can quickly recover be it from hard workouts or tough competitions.

3. Active Release Technique (ART)

Active release technique (ART) is a type of massage that treats the body’s soft tissues through the combination of manipulation and movement of varying pressure intensities. It involves identifying and evaluating the mobility, texture, and tightness of soft tissue. Then, isolating and working on the affected area accordingly to break up the buildup of scar tissues and muscle adhesions. ART is used to treat problems in the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves, and to promote faster healing of injuries.

4. Trigger Point Massage

If you’re rubbing a sore muscle and feel a sharp pain like a shot after hitting a tiny spot, you’ve most likely developed a trigger point. It’s a tight spot in muscle fibers and fascia that restrains blood flow and causes intense, debilitating pain. Some cases don’t involve pain, but the muscle may feel stiff and have a reduced range of motion.

A trigger point massage easily solves this by massaging these tender points in the right way. Therapists use their fingertips for conducting a targeted kneading process, reducing the vulnerability and sensitivity of the muscle tissues. It’s also utilized for treating muscle spasms, making any player ready again for strenuous activities.

5. Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage is derived from traditional Chinese medicine. It’s a massage therapy type that relies on using the fingers, thumbs, palms, and elbow to apply rhythmic, localized pressure on different acupressure points on the body. The pressure applied to these points corrects disharmonies in the body and promotes better energy flow.

It’s used to relieve pain and tension, stimulate the lymphatic, hormonal, and circulatory systems, and heal common conditions and ailments like joint problems, arthritis, sprains, poor posture, acute and chronic neck and back pain, sciatica, bronchitis, and sinusitis.

Apart from providing a deeply relaxing experience, shiatsu massage contributes to a player’s overall well-being and health, making him more efficient in reaching success.

6. Sports Massage

As its name suggests, sports massage is a massage type specifically designed for athletes for preventing injuries and improving their athletic ability. It employs a targeted approach using a wide array of techniques, which loosen and realign muscle fibers, improve posture, and promote the better condition of the player’s body to ensure they perform optimally. 

The type of technique will vary depending on the specific injury or needs of the players. In general, a sports massage entails incorporating whole-body massage, deep tissue massage, and soft tissue massage combined with physiotherapy techniques.

All that promotes better rehabilitation and recovery and lesser risk for injuries for those who engage in strenuous training and tough competitions. Typically, sports massages are given before the event, between the events falling on the same day, and after the events. 

One of the most common types of sports massage is remedial massage. It helps treat problems with the tendons and muscles. A remedial massage will be beneficial if you have tense or knotted muscles or have incurred an injury. The therapist will focus on the damaged parts to loosen the tension and increase blood flow. Thus, triggering the healing process within the body and the affected muscles.


Like any normal individual, a basketball player needs to relax once in a while. Though it can be hard to squeeze it into your schedule, note that a regular massage can do wonders for your body and fitness. As such, make sure to find time to have regular sessions in order to increase your efficacy and efficiency on the court.

You might think that you no longer need a massage with all the exercise and activities you’re doing. The truth is, it’s the opposite as a massage can also help you recover and rehabilitate your tired muscles and body. Adding the relaxed mind and body you get after each massage session, expect to be more quick, observant, and vigilant once you’re on the court.

If you’re now interested in getting a massage, all of the listed massage types are suitable for athletes. However, it’s best to consult with your therapist to get the best massage type to improve your performance and overall health.