One of the most obvious observations you make while watching basketball, whether amateur or professional basketball, is that many players are incredibly tall. Therefore, what is the correlation between playing basketball and height, and can playing basketball make you taller?
There is no scientific evidence to prove that playing basketball can increase your height, despite basketball offering numerous physical health benefits. Instead, the correlation between tall players and basketball is simply because being tall in basketball is advantageous.
To better understand why there is no scientific evidence to prove that playing basketball makes you taller, we will discuss this in greater detail below. Whereafter, we will analyze height growth in greater detail, as well as the other health benefits basketball, offers players:
Can Basketball Make You Grow Taller?
There is no evidence to prove that playing basketball, or any other sport and physical activity, will make somebody grow taller (although the inverse may be true, where strenuous exercise at a young age may stunt someone’s growth!)
While there are ongoing studies to determine whether some physical activities have any positive effect on growth, there have been numerous studies on basketball through the years which prove that basketball cannot make you grow taller.
Instead, most scientists and studies agree that the primary factor in height is genetic. While nutritionists have further proven that a healthy, balanced diet throughout childhood and adolescence is essential in reaching one’s maximum height potential, malnutrition is detrimental to one’s growth.
So if basketball doesn’t make you grow taller, why is there a strong correlation between height and many professional basketball players?
How Can Someone Grow Taller
Outside of favorable genetics and proper nutrition while growing up, there is little one can do to grow taller. However, some genetic disorders that negatively affect height during adolescence may require a physical examination, expert advice, and perhaps the use of growth hormones.
Another alternative to improve one’s height is to undergo surgery. However, most surgeries that extend one’s height are extremely dangerous and painful and may have lasting adverse effects on one’s overall health and bone structure.
Consequently, save with very few exceptions, surgeries intended to increase one’s height should be avoided due to the risks involved!
Why Are Most Basketball Players Tall?
Although you do not have to be tall to play basketball recreationally or professionally, with many NBA stars throughout history falling below 180cm, there is a distinct advantage to being tall while playing basketball.
The reason is that basketball is a sport that has the goal, namely the hoop, towering above the players, meaning that vertical shots and movements are necessary to score points (unlike most sports that have goals on the same horizontal axis as the players, like hockey or soccer goals.)
Some benefits of being tall in basketball include, but are not limited to:
- Being able to dunk or significantly reduce the distance between the ball and the hoop while jumping, allowing for an easier shot,
- Create open jump shots and send balls flying over the defenders with ease,
- Easier rebound conversion opportunities,
- Tall defenders find blocking shots easier than shorter defenders while also not needing to jump as much to block shots,
- Taller players can move into space and travel the distance of the court in fewer steps, (this is important given the two-step “traveling” violation in basketball.)
What Are The Health Benefits Of Playing Basketball?
Although playing basketball cannot make you grow taller, there are a host of other health benefits the sport offers players, including but not limited to the following:
- Improved cardiovascular health,
- Improved flexibility,
- Improved body composition,
- Improved bones and bone structure,
- Improved balance and coordination,
- Improved muscular strength and growth.
1. Improved Cardio-Vascular Health
Basketball is a fast-paced game that tests a player’s overall endurance, as well as their burst speed and overall body movement. Therefore, playing basketball requires players to be in peak physical fitness, even if they only play the sport recreationally.
Consequently, playing basketball improves cardiovascular health, lung capacity, and overall heart health and ultimately improves resting heart rates.
Maintaining one’s cardiovascular health is vital as one gets older, as it significantly reduces your chances of suffering severe heart problems and related issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart attacks.
2. Improved Flexibility
Basketball is a dynamic sport that favors players that can move their bodies with an improved sense of awareness of their surroundings and flexibility.
Over and above being a sport that promotes physical fitness, stamina, endurance, and strength, basketball is a technical sport that requires full-body movements while dribbling, defending, shooting, or performing technical maneuvers like free throws.
Consequently, basketball helps players maintain limber and flexible bodies, as the entire body movements of the sport, from low crouches to high jumps, mean that every bone, muscle, and tendon must be in sync with each other.
3. Improved Body Composition
Further to the above, basketball is a full-body sport that requires players to hone their upper-body strength, lower-body strength, and overall speed, stamina, endurance, and reflexes (right down to the strength and flexibility of one’s wrists and ankles!)
Consequently, basketball is an excellent sport to play if you want to lose excess weight and improve your body’s overall strength, conditioning, and posture!
4. Improved Bones And Bone Structure
Playing basketball improves one’s bone health and overall skeletal structure by forcing players to maintain an upright posture while shooting and defending.
Furthermore, while basketball is a contact sport, it seldom presents the risks of injury that other contact sports like rugby or American football do.
Therefore, players are exposed to a level of force that improves their overall conditioning and bone health while not sustaining a level of force that may result in injuries or unnecessary strain on one’s bones.
5. Improved Balance And Coordination
Basketball is a sport that favors people with fast reflexes and advanced coordination. Unlike some sports or sporting positions that focus on one particular action or body movement, basketball requires equal upper-body and lower-body balance and coordination.
Therefore, basketball helps players develop improved hand-eye coordination while dribbling, shooting, passing, and defending, while also improving a player’s footwork and overall strength conditioning to maintain balance in contact while performing complex maneuvers.
6. Improved Muscular Strength And Growth
Finally, although basketball may not require the strength training of other contact sports, the amount of contact in the sport, coupled with the need for excellent balance and explosive actions like jumping, means that playing basketball can improve one’s strength and muscular growth.
What Are The Mental And Social Benefits Of Playing Basketball?
Along with the physical benefits of playing basketball, some mental and social benefits playing the sport can provide:
- Improved strategic thinking,
- Improved spatial awareness,
- Improved communication skills,
- Improved confidence levels,
- Reduced stress levels.
1. Improved Strategic Thinking
While basketball is a fast dynamic sport, it is also a strategic sport that requires teamwork and communication to counter the maneuvers and plans of opposition teams.
Therefore, basketball can improve one’s problem-solving skills, intuition, and strategic skills.
2. Improved Spatial Awareness
Because basketball involves numerous players constantly trying to move into space to execute team plans, players need to have a nuanced understanding of their surroundings to execute offensive maneuvers and counter them while on defense.
Consequently, basketball requires a heightened sense of court positioning, ball movements, and awareness of both opposition players and teammates.
3. Improved Communication Skills
Basketball is a team sport that needs clear and concise communication between teammates to execute game plans proficiently.
Furthermore, basketball promotes sportsmanship and camaraderie both on and off the pitch between teammates, coaches, the opposition, and match officials. Therefore, it is a perfect platform to improve one’s communication skills and social network.
4. Improved Confidence Levels
Because basketball requires scheduled practices, interaction with other people, and intensive exercise, it is a proven method of improving one’s confidence in themselves and their abilities. Especially when setting and achieving goals like scoring a three-pointer or winning a match!
Furthermore, basketball is a team sport with an active and positive community. It improves one’s chances of meeting friends and mentors who can give you advice or support when you feel low or unmotivated.
5. Reduced Stress Levels
Finally, like many other sports and physical activities, basketball is an enjoyable activity that releases nature endorphins due to exercise and the sense of accomplishment in executing complex maneuvers or team strategies.
Therefore, basketball is an excellent hobby or activity to play in moments when you may feel stressed, lack self-confidence, or simply need a productive break from boring activities like work or studying!
In conclusion, while people looking to grow taller may be disheartened to learn that playing basketball does not make you taller, there is no reason that you cannot still enjoy and excel in basketball – while enjoying a host of benefits playing the sport provides!