5 Rookie Basketball Mistakes that Cause Back Pain

5 Rookie Basketball Mistakes that Cause Back Pain

Basketball can cause back pain for many reasons: the high-impact causes joint pain, overuse causes muscle strain, and the sudden jerking movements might cause a crick in the neck. But have you ever thought you have back pain from the sport because you’re playing it wrong. I know. That’s not what you wanted to hear because you thought you were the bees knees at basketball. Take it from someone who is just here to help: you could stand to improve. So here are some of the rookie mistakes you’re making that might be causing you pain, especially if you frequently play. 

Do you make these common rookie mistakes in basketball that can cause back pain?

1. Defending with your arms instead of your feet

You’ve seen someone who does this . . . or maybe you haven’t because it’s you. The offensive player is playing tricks on you, the defensive player, and your arms are flailing about from side to side and up and down, just anxious to snag the ball. Not only is this a poor way to steal the ball from your opponent, but moving this way also causes you to make sudden jerking movements, which is a big no-no for back pain. Instead, defend with your feet. Keeping your core tight and your feet sturdy, but ready for action, will help you improve at basketball and will keep you away from back pain.

2. Shooting off-balance

Sometimes rookie players want to score a point so badly that they shoot the ball before they’re ready, running up to the basket and tossing the ball in before they have a good stance. This causes back pain because it is more likely that the player will strain a muscle from shooting unevenly. If this is you, try to do a 1-2 step to ground yourself and get ready for the shot instead of jumping aimlessly for a little luck. 

3. Trying impossible passes

From a young age we learn that passing the ball is a good thing in most any sport. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Attempting to pass the ball underhand or across the length of the court can hurt your team and your back if you don’t do it right. Smart passes are thought out, and thinking about your pass before acting is better for your back too. Getting a good strong stance before passing the ball will help you avoid muscle sprains and strains or worse accidental injuries.

4. Lack of exercise off the court

One of the major causes of back pain is lack of core strength. And if you are playing basketball frequently, having weak arms and legs can harm your back and your ability to play well also. If you want to be able to play basketball without back pain and improve your skills at the same time, spend some time exercising your core, legs, and arms off the court.

5. Dribbling the ball too high

When you dribble the ball too high, it is easier for the other team to take it. Keeping the dribble below the waist will help you keep the ball. Now, this one is tricky when it comes to back pain because it might actually be easier on your back to dribble incorrectly (which is one reason you might be doing it). Bending down to keep the ball in control might be hard on your back. As you bend, make sure you bend your knees and bend at the waist instead of arching your back. Also remember tip number 4 and keep exercising your core in your free time because doing so will help you to dribble correctly.


Klinzing, M. (2014, October 31). Basketball on the Edge - 10 Frequent Mistakes Made by Youth Basketball Players (and How to Correct Them). Retrieved from https://www.headstartbasketball.com/basketball-edge-10-frequent-mistakes-made-youth-basketball-players-correct/

Spine & Scoliosis Specialists. (2017, February 28). Back Pain Caused by Basketball. Retrieved from https://triadspine.com/back-pain-during-basketball-season/