In March, three years after sending Jeremy Lin to the NBA, the Crimson won a game in the NCAA tournament—a first for Harvard—when they beat New Mexico in the first round. “With basketball, you don’t even realize you’re getting this great full-body workout because it’s such a social event,” says athletic trainer Craig Fafara, who adds that the game also helps players develop “hand-eye coordination, balance, and mental toughness.”
Those with a history of ankle sprains should stick to higher-cut shoes. Faster players gravitate toward a lower cut, which allows for better movement.
“Basketball is so much more than just a workout. It builds teamwork, communication skills, and leadership.”
Off the Court
Nimble feet and vertical leap separate the A team from the B team. Do box jumps, raw jumps, line hops, and footwork ladder exercises as part of your daily routine. Olympic lifting—think front squats, cleans, bench presses, and step-ups—will develop strength and explosiveness. Lift with a partner two to three times a week, and record weight progression in a journal. Every month, evaluate whether exercises and weights need to be increased—jumping included.
Cambridge Athletic Association Leagues
Individual entries start at $150 (team entries start at $950), cacbasketball.com.
A- and B-league competition for coed and single-sex teams.
Check out “Home Team Workouts” to find out how other college teams in Boston get fit.