The Benefits of Wearing a Basketball Shooting Sleeve

There are two major components to upping your game on the hoops court. The first is completing the right training and the second is having the right equipment.

In both cases, you don’t want to waste your time of your money. The latest fads for skills and gear won’t make you a better player and they won’t give you an advantage over the competition.

In fact, they might make you look silly.

But if you know the right drills and have a great hoop to practice on, will a shooting sleeve help you perform on the court?

Just because Kobe Bryant and other famous pros have used the sleeve doesn’t mean you and I should run out and buy one.

Unless they are going to help our game. So do they?

Let’s find out what a shooting sleeve can do for you. Here goes:

Protection From A Shooting Sleeve

Hoops can be a physical game. There’s grabbing, slapping, shoving, and even scratching that can happen off the ball.

Ever try and get open with a fast V-cut only to have a defender grab your arm? Seems like some of them have claws instead of fingernails!

A sleeve on your arm will protect against scratches and bruises. That’s why players don’t always wear a sleeve on their strong hand.

If your weak hand is getting pulled, scratched, and grabbed in the paint you might want to invest in a sleeve.

Why do basketball players wear sleeves on their non-shooting arm?

Basketball shooting sleeve was first worn by Allen Iverson in the 2000-01 NBA season. Allen used it as a temporary solution for his shooting arm that had developed bursitis. He successfully took his team to the NBA finals and went ahead to wear the magical sleeve throughout his career. Almost instantly, the idea of donning a sleeve for basketball became popular at all basketball levels. 

Although science is not clear on the benefits of wearing a shooting sleeve, the basketball community has all sorts of suggestions for this including;  

  • Pain relief– basketball shooting sleeves with a pad are commonly used to relieve pain around the elbow. Padded sleeves are also used to prevent re-injuries or new injuries. 
  • Compression– most players also wear sleeves for their perceived compression therapy. These sleeves are thought to help minimize swelling and inflammation, boost muscle recovery, and relieve muscle pain. 
  • Warmth– some basketball players sport a sleeve as a way of keeping the non-shooting arm warm, and this helps in keeping the muscles flexible. 
  • Keep the shooting arm dry– when playing defense, some players use the arm sleeve to cut down on their shooting arm’s sweat levels. Also, others use it as a sort of a buffer when tackling a sweaty opponent. Of course, if you intend to use the sleeve for this reason, it needs to be air wicking. 
  • As a fashion statement– confidence is everything when playing basketball, and nothing brings it out better than feeling and looking good. So if wearing a sleeve boosts your confidence without compromising your moves, why not go for it?

Perfect Your Form

If you are struggling at the free throw line or having all-around issues with your jump shot, the sleeve might be worth a try. The compression in the muscles and the elbow may boost your form and keep your form tight through flick and follow-through.

In fact, you might like it so much you stick with the sleeve. Do so, and you might get the hot hand on the court.

Get The Hot Hand

Is there anything better than getting hot when you’re out there on the floor? At times it seems like the hoop is the size of a swimming pool and that you can’t miss.

Any of us who have ever had the hot hand for our team want it again. And we want it often.

A shooting sleeve offers compression to the muscles, joints, and tendons in your arm. Basically, it heats you up.

And for any of us who know the benefit of getting and keeping a shooting hand hot, a sleeve can be a big help.

Look Professional

Sleeves can be very practical for any of us who have ever had a tough coach who preaches professionalism. Need to wear a coat and tie to away games?

Find yourself running laps if your jersey is untucked? What about all that ink on your arms?

A sleeve can cover up your tattoos and keep the toughest coaches off your back.

You will be drawing less attention to the pictures on your arms. You also may be drawing the ref’s attention to where you want them looking.

Draw The Foul

A sleeve can help you draw the foul. Let’s face it, when you drive the lane it can be a jumble of hands and bodies trying to get to the ball.

Sometimes you even get slapped on the arm while trying to lay it in, or dunk, and turn to the zebras for the call.

No foul.

If you’ve ever refereed a game you may be able to sympathize. It isn’t always easy to see what’s going on during a strong drive to the hole.

A sleeve can change all that. Wear a stark white sleeve or a brightly colored sleeve and you might be hearing the whistle a lot more.

You’ll be getting foul calls because the refs will see clearly when the defense is all over you. Just make sure you are practicing your form at the charity stripe.

Sinking those free throws will help your team when the calls are going your way.

Need more reason why a sleeve can help? Ask the pros.

Ask The Pros

Allen Iverson was the first to wear the sleeve. His trainer fashioned one from compression bandage.

The reason in Iverson’s case was to treat bursitis, an injury that would eventually require surgery. But the sleeve worked so well to compress swelling it allowed Iverson to shoot in relative comfort.

He wore one for the rest of his career.

Kobe Bryant actually wore his shooting sleeve for medical reasons. The compression helped his elbow tendinitis.

The compression offered from the sleeve helped protect Kobe against injury and improved his performance by helping the electrical charge to the nerve.

And in Kobe’s case, the sleeve also had another benefit.

The Sweet Smell of Victory

It all depends on the level of your game. But if you are shooting the lights out, mastering a great first step, and reaching an all-time level with your skills, a shooting sleeve can provide another benefit.

You’ll have another piece of memorabilia fans can wrestle over. In fact, one of the strangest aspects of Kobe’s farewell tour was when a couple fans fought over his discarded arm sleeve.

The winner eventually gave the infamous sleeve a sniff, inhaling the smell of victory.

Not quite to that level of fandom yet? Don’t worry, we can help you get your game to the next level.

Get To The Next Level

Turns out, wearing a shooting sleeve can definitely improve certain aspects of your game. If you have certain types of nerve damage, need compression and heat, or just require a certain level of protection, the sleeve is for you.

It will take more than a shooting sleeve to reach Kobe status though. You’ll want the right basketball to get a handle on.

Plus, if you master that first step you’ll be turning on a time, accelerating to the hoop, and breaking the ankles of your opponents with a stutter-step crossover.

Don’t wait another day to up your game and earn that sleeve! Click here now to learn the best drills to improve your foot speed. 

Where to buy basketball shooting sleeves

Basketball shooting sleeves are easy to find owing to the increase in their popularity among athletes. And they come in all sizes, colors, and styles.

The NBA also offers incredible deals on its official website here. This is an excellent place to look, especially if you want a basketball sleeve with the NBA logo to match your other outfits. 

Lastly, basketball sleeves are trendy and money makers nowadays, and the chances are that your local sports stores have them in stock. So, pop in and enquire about the various brands available. On this note, googling ‘sports store near me’ might help locate open stores close to you.