Wearable technology like Fitbit has become vital to many athletic routines, including basketball. These tech accessories can give you an understanding of your body’s overall performance metrics, which is useful for training adjustment and recovery predictions. But is wearing Fitbit safe on the court, or is there a good reason to leave the Fitbit at home when you’re about to shoot some hoops?
Why Wear a Fitness Tracker While Playing Basketball?
By evaluating and tracking data, your Fitbit can help you lock in on what an ideal workout looks like for you in a specific period. Fitbit can provide time, heart rate, and calorie burn data, showing you a clearer picture of how your body responds to playing basketball. This way, you can strategize your performance effectively either through a basketball game or during basketball workouts.
With data, you can create a customized training regimen based on your specific needs and goals. So, whether it’s improving your cardiovascular performance or ensuring you’ve burned enough calories for the workout, having a Fitbit can help you achieve your goals. Fitbit can also help you understand when to go all out on the court or when to take it easy with its Readiness Score, Stress Management Score, and Sleep Score.
Is Fitbit Safe to Wear While Playing Basketball?
While there are professional sports leagues, such as the MLB, that allow players to wear sports trackers, the NBA is not one of them. One of the main issues is that the hard surface of a fitness tracker can cause or exacerbate injuries in case of a fall.
For example, opponents coming in for a steal attempt can get their fingers jammed between the watchband and the wearer’s wrist. The same goes for players trying to block a shot or other basketball plays. But if you’re just doing shooting and dribbling drills alone or playing in a regular Sunday afternoon pick-up game, then you should be okay.
But always pays to be safe than sorry. If you’re looking for ways how to wear Fitbit in basketball games safely, here are two ways you can do so:
- Put on another softer accessory: A sweatband or an arm sleeve over your Fitbit can prevent your opponent’s fingers from getting snagged between your wrist and the band.
- Wear it on your off-hand: If you’re a right-handed player, then wear your Fitbit tracker on your left wrist. This reduces the risk of hitting your opponents with your watch because the off-hand typically moves less than the dominant one.
How to Track Basketball in Fitbit
If you have a newer Fitbit, then you’re in luck. These models come with a SmartTrack feature that automatically recognizes and tracks when you’re playing basketball.
For those with models without the SmartTrack feature, don’t fret. You can still manually record your exercise data.
1. Go to the ‘Exercise’ tile tab on the app and select ‘Activities.’
2. Choose ‘Sports’ from the list, and it should start logging your core metrics.
Recommended Activity Trackers for Basketball
Here are the three best Fitbit products for basketball players:
Fitbit Inspire 3
For basketball activities, the entry-level Fitbit Inspire 3 is one of the easiest recommendations. It can track everything a basketball player can get from a fitness tracker, such as heart rate and calorie burn data. It also has a couple of extras like Stress Management, Readiness, and Sleep Scores to help players understand their bodies both pre and post-workout.
It doesn’t hurt that its dimensions are also perfect for basketball as it’s got one of the slimmest in Fitbit’s product lineup. Its footprint on the wrist is just slightly larger than a baller band. You can definitely add a sweatband on top of it, and no one would even know it’s there.
It also has all the hardware protections it needs to withstand all the types of trauma it’s going to go through in a basketball game. Of course, it also has some sweat-resistant credentials, so you don’t have to worry about it getting wet or damaged while playing in the rain.
However, if you want to do some location tracking for running, you’re going to have to carry your phone with you as it does not have a built-in GPS.
- Has all the relevant metrics
- No built-in GPS
Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 sits awkwardly between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. It does everything the Inspire 3 can, but it’s got a larger screen, a built-in GPS, and the ability to send text replies on Android. It’s also quite a full-featured health and fitness tracker with the ability to take ECG readings and accurate stress monitoring capabilities via its EDA Scan feature.
The EDA feature is especially important to accurately calculate your Readiness Score, which tells you whether your body is in the condition to take on a heavy basketball workout or if you’d be better served by a light workout for the day.
Its only downside is that it protrudes a bit more than the Inspire 3, so you’ll have to be a little more careful when playing. It’s a great tracker to wear during a shoot-around or after the game, but you might need to take it off during a competitive game.
- Can track all the relevant data
- A bit more versatile with GPS
- Priced closer to a full-fledged smartwatch than a fitness tracker
- A bigger screen can get scratched during a game
Fitbit Versa 4
The Versa 4 is a full-fledged smartwatch, which means being a fitness tracker is only its side job. So, don’t expect it to have an ECG or an EDA scanner.
It does, however, have Google and Fitbit Pay and Google Maps right on the watch. So, all you have to do is tap your watch on the POS machine at the convenience store, and you can get your energy drink after the game. This makes the Versa 4 a better court-to-street watch than just an on-court tracker.
It also looks more like a watch than the Charge 5 and the Inspire 3, so it wouldn’t look out of place wearing a suit or casual clothes.
- NFC payments
- Larger, more vibrant screen
- Versatile aesthetics
- Larger wrist footprint
- Lack of EDA and EGC sensors
Wrapping Things Up: Is Fitbit Safe for Basketball?
With the basketball community becoming more scientific with the pursuit of on-court performance, players will continue to be interested in wearing Fitbit in basketball settings.
In general, Fitbit is good for the sport as it gives us more data to work with that can help us get a perspective on how our bodies work during basketball workouts or games. It also helps us understand how to deal with recovery and how to train in the most efficient way. It could even detect potential atrial fibrillation via its ECG scanner.
However, wearing a Fitbit to a game is not without its problems. It’s not exactly the safest accessory to wear during competitive games as it poses an injury risk both to the wearer and other players.
So, if you’re going to wear a Fitbit on the court, it’s still best to make sure you’ve done your best to mitigate these risks. You can, for example, wear a sweatband or arm sleeve over it or wear it on your off-hand to reduce its involvement in high-speed plays.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.