Summer Sports (That Aren’t Basketball)


Summer is the season to grab the rock and hit the court, but it’s definitely possible to OD on it. I mean, if you have steak and potatoes every single day of the week, what makes Sunday dinner so special? Just the same, basketball all day every day can make you go mad. So don’t be afraid to change things up every now and again. It’ll give your mind a break, and get you a chance to work out some other muscles you might’ve not been using.

Ask Hakeem Olajuwon – there’s nothing quite like soccer to help build basketball skills. That’s how the twelve-time All-Star developed his Dream Shake system of post moves. Running for 90 minutes, and learning to shake your man with the ball at your feet will not only build your stamina, but also give you the edge on shaking your defender in the low post. Just don’t take any away flopping tips.


Stamina can become a problem late in an intense game. Legs become heavy and the mind just sort of checks out. You start throwing up bricks like your name was Ason Kidd. What’s worse, simulating those moments in training can be difficult, when there’s nothing on the line. Long distance cycling can not just hit you with the stamina and quad workout you’re looking for, but setting distance goals can help put you in a winning mindset, and teach you how to dig deeper on the court as well.


It looks like the sport of 40 year old moms and suspiciously-friendly instructors, but tennis can be a deceptively intense game. Scorching heat, long rallies, and bad muscle cramps. John McEnroe and Mats Wilander once played a match that lasted six hours. “I remember thinking near the end ‘If this match is so great, why are most of the people gone?” McEnroe said, years later. There’s no need to pound out a six hour match though. Just running back and forth during a rally can help build your hand-eye co-ordination, while the length of games gives you stamina, and serious leg strength.


Anyone living in a major city will have spent their share of time sitting around, staring skew-eyed at the hipsters playing in that kickball league. But this low impact, low intensity exercise is a perfect break of pace. Ballers know so much of the game high intensity exercise and in-your-face, trash-talking. Signing up for an occasional game of kickball not only gives you a form of low intensity exercise, it gives you a reality check on all that smack you’re talking by putting you in a super friendly, low-stakes situation.


Remember that scene in Rocky III, when Apollo Creed tells Rocky that he needs to work muscles he didn’t even know he had? Then shoves him in the pool? That’s what this is. Even if you’re the guy who sinks like a rock, stick with it – sign up for lessons if you must. Because swimming is one of the best ways to build upper body strength and core muscles – the ones you didn’t even know you had.

As always, stay hydrated and healthy, and always check with a doctor before you start any new exercise routine – especially if it’s a high intensity one.


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