How to Dress to Play Basketball

Three Methods:Dressing for PracticeAccessorizingObserving Pickup-Game Etiquette

Dressing to play basketball is pretty straightforward. Wearing clothes that fit securely but hang loose enough to allow a wide range of motion will help you execute moves more efficiently during practice. However, when joining pickup games, there are a few additional considerations to bear in mind if you want to avoid annoying or insulting fellow players.

Method 1
Dressing for Practice

  1. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 1
    Wear loose-fitting clothes. Choose tops and bottoms that fit snugly enough so that they don’t slip off or become snarled during play. At the same time, avoid tight clothing that constricts movement. Wear clothes that allow you a free range of motion. In ideal weather or indoors, wear the following:[1]
    • Shorts that fit your waist perfectly and hang loosely to your knees or thereabouts.
    • A t-shirt, jersey, or singlet that isn’t binding. Favor sleeveless tops to allow your arms the maximum freedom of movement.
  2. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 2
    Dress in layers for colder weather. Use combinations of long-sleeve t-shirts, thermals, warm-ups, and/or sweatwear. Give yourself the ability to adjust to sudden changes in weather by stripping or adding layers as needed.[2] Avoid constrictive outerwear like coats, jackets, and bulky hoodies, which may weigh you down and restrict movement.
    • For very cold weather, wearing a tighter-than-normal article of clothing as your first layer will help trap body heat more efficiently.
    • If you wear a number of layers at once, choose a larger size than normal for your outermost layer. Accommodate the greater girth created by all the layers underneath so you can still move with little or no hindrance.
  3. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 3
    Choose sneakers that fit. Reduce the risk of injury to your ankles and feet on the court. Buy shoes that fit properly so your feet have the greatest range of motion possible.[3] Before purchasing, lace both shoes correctly to judge how they will feel on the court. If possible, avoid buying sizes that are larger than needed to keep your feet from sliding around inside the shoe. Also make sure the sole is non-skid so you don’t slip on the court.[4]
    • If you are younger and are expected to “grow into” a pair, ask your parent or guardian to buy one that is only a half-size larger than your current size. This way you will grow into it much quicker.
    • Prevent blisters and chafing by wearing socks that cover just as much skin as your sneakers do.
  4. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 4
    Decide between high-tops and low-tops. Both styles of sneakers are acceptable, but many people prefer high-tops for the extra support that they provide your ankles. However, be aware that wearing high-tops all the time can create a dependency on that extra support. If you decide to wear these for basketball, prevent this dependency by:[5]
    • Wearing low-top sneakers and shoes for casual wear.
    • Walking barefoot as much as possible.
    • Warming up and performing light exercises either barefoot or with thin-soled sneakers like Chuck Taylor’s.

Method 2

  1. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 5
    Choose appropriate underwear. If you are a boy, pick briefs over boxers to provide ample support "down there" and eliminate distraction. If you are a girl, wear a sports bra rather than a regular one. Give yourself the proper support and plenty of mobility without having to worry about wires digging in or restricting your movement.[6]
    • Male players may also want to consider wearing a cup for added support and protection.
  2. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 6
    Wear protective gear. If you normally wear glasses or contacts, invest in a pair of shatterproof eyewear designed specifically for high-contact sports. Wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and tongue. Support any limbs and/or joints that have suffered past injuries by wearing fitted braces.[7]
    • If you wear high-top sneakers and find yourself needing to wear ankle braces as well, consider this a warning sign that your ankles may be losing their natural mobility. Your knees may start suffering next as they overcompensate on your ankles’ behalf.[8]
  3. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 7
    Attend to your head. Wear a sweatband around your forehead to mop up sweat before it can run into your eyes. Use elastic ties or flexible headbands to keep your hair out of your face. Tie longer hair back into a ponytail or braid.
    • Sweatbands around your wrist can also come in handy. They prevent your arm-sweat from running into your palms and thus ruining your grip on the ball.

Method 3
Observing Pickup-Game Etiquette

  1. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 8
    Dress modestly. Expect other players to regard replica jerseys of specific teams or star players as a possible sign of arrogance and/or inexperience. Also avoid wearing clothing that features aggressive or offensive phrases or logos. Worry less about making a statement through fashion and more about impressing people with your skills in order to gain the respect of potential teammates.[9]
  2. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 9
    Always wear a shirt. Resist the urge to shed this “unnecessary” layer in hot weather. Respect your fellow players. Appreciate the fact that no one wants to be sprayed with sweat if it could be avoided. If you tend to thoroughly soak your shirt after a game or two, bring extra shirts to change into over the course of the day.[10]
  3. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 10
    Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before playing. Use the amount recommended by your particular brand’s directions. Allow your skin the time it needs to fully absorb the sunscreen. Keep in mind that once you start playing, you will most likely start sweating, which will wash away the sunscreen if it hasn’t been absorbed.[11]
  4. Image titled Dress to Play Basketball Step 11
    Remove your glasses if possible. Remember that a pickup game does not have official rules, referees, or enforceable punishments.[12] Anticipate that the style of play here may be considerably rougher than in league games. Buy yourself an extra shatterproof pair that is meant to stand up to high-impact sports, or go without your regular glasses if you can manage. Reduce the risk of further injuring yourself or other players in the event that your glasses are shattered.[13]

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Categories: Basketball