How important is weightlifting in the game of basketball? 10 or 15 years ago I would have said that it is only important for injury prevention. The game has changed. There is now a standard that every basketball player must adhere to if they want to be great. Of course there are some exceptions, but do not tell me that if those players such as Tayshawn Prince and Kevin Durant put on 20 pounds of muscle they wouldn’t benefit greatly. Trust me, those players are working hard every day to get bigger and stronger. Plus, those two athletes have some uncommon, freakish skill sets and body structures that most players are not blessed with.
Players who have never stepped foot in a weight room are going to have some problems on defense. Defenders can get by being skinny as long as the people they are guarding are shorter then they are. They can use their length to deflect and alter shots, but if they are shorter they have some big issues. This is especially true today, where the “pro hop” (a move where you use a long jump stop to muscle a defender for position) has become so popular. If you are too light all the offense has to do is get an inch past you (or not even past you if you can’t beat him to the spot for a charge) and then pro hop into your body, which knocks you back so you can’t contest the jump shot, and then rise up. Not to mention that you are vulnerable to being posted up. Most coaches are too old school to post up their guards, but to me this is easier because you can have a big man set a big on little rip screen and get the guard a layup every time, or a mismatch for the big if they switch.
On the offensive side of the ball, weight lifting can really benefit your game if you are slow and not able to get to the basket. Like I previously stated, if you are bigger and stronger than your defender a simple pro hop will get you layups every time. Most teams today force baseline. If there is no help, or the help is late, there is no reason you can’t get a layup. Simply drive deep into the baseline and use your butt to pro hop back into the defender and move him so that you have a “gimme” layup. Watch players like Carmelo Anthony who don’t use any moves usually. They just drive baseline and body the defense to get what they want.
It is not so much as what kind of benefits you will receive by lifting weights. There is no option these days. If you want to be a better player you must add this to your regime. It is all about the standard that has been set today by all basketball players. If you have not yet reached this standard you will always be a liability in this game and will never be able to reach your full potential.