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The Ultimate Guide To Coffee and Caffeine For Basketball Players

Coffee and Caffeine For Basketball Players

By Ball Till We Fall, Last Updated December 23, 2021

Category: Basketball Nutrition & Diet Guides

The Many Benefits Of Consuming Caffeine (Eg. Drinking Coffee) Before Playing Basketball

Caffeine has been scientifically proven to improve basketball performance and labelled as " an effective ergogenic substance to increase physical performance and overall success in experienced basketball players"[1]. 

Studies have determined that consuming approximately 1 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body mass consumed about an hour before a game can make you a better basketball player.

Studies have shown that caffeine will probably not make you a better shooter, but can help boost explosive performance [2].

Caffeine has also been proven to help you jump higher! Read on and we’ll show you how much you need to drink to improve your vertical jump.

How Does Caffeine Make You A Better Basketball Player

Caffeine is the most popular sports performance supplement in the world. It is a great addition to a well designed basketball nutrition plan for basketball players.

It is the main ingredient in energy drinks.

Related: The Best Energy Drinks For Basketball Players

Caffeine has been scientifically proven to enhance function of both the mind and body and has been accepted as an integral component of basketball nutrition.

In fact caffeine is so effective that we included it as one of the 5 ingredients in our Ultimate Pre-Game high Performance Drink.

You can learn how to prepare this drink by taking our free Game Day Domination Course.


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"This course helped me add a couple of inches to my vertical jump after just one session. The pre-game drink suggestion also works a treat and palm cooling technique is CRAZY! When I use these I can run faster for longer in games, without getting tired." James O'Conner

Caffeine is cheap and readily available.

It is most conveniently consumed by drinking coffee or in pure supplemental form.

When consumed, caffeine is quickly absorbed and peaks around 40–80 min after its ingestion.

Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant.

If you take caffeine before a game you will essentially “wake up” your central nervous.

This can make you feel mentally sharper and become more explosive on the floor.

This stimulation effect can also have some negative consequences in some players.

They may feel anxious, irritable and have difficulty sleeping.

Often this is dose dependent. You need to find a dose that works for you.

Can Caffeine Really Help Basketball Players Jump Higher?

A recent study found that caffeine (3 mg/kg ) can improve vertical jump by around 5% [1].

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Jumping Higher For Basketball

The study showed that caffeine increased rate of force development or peak force production during jumping.

It is important to note that the caffeine used in this study is much higher than the recommended dose by most governing bodies.

From a medical perspective and for safety, it is recommended that an athlete should not exceed 1mg of caffeine per 1kg of body weight.

If an athlete exceeds that amount it may in fact be counterproductive to their performance, eg. make the athlete jittery.

Is Caffeine Safe For Basketball Players

Questions about the safety of caffeine, especially when ingested in large amounts over a short period of time.

Caffeine overdose among basketball players is quite rare.

In the general population overdoses usually involves high doses of caffeine taken in powder or tablet form, not beverages. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics as suggests that children above age 12 should ingest no more than 100 mg of caffeine per day and goes on to say that ‘a dose of 400 to 500 mg per day is tolerable for many adults.

How To Consume Caffeine Before Basketball

The use of caffeine should be limited to when you need it most to avoid habituation and dependence.

There are also people out there who are non-responders to the effects of caffeine.

To see if you respond well to caffeine try consume around 1mg per kg of body-weight half an hour before game time.

If you feel good and it doesn’t effect your sleep or increase anxiety you can carefully increase your dose.

So what does 1mg of caffeine look like in the real world?

Well lets take an 80kg athlete for example. Based on the recommended dose of 1mg/kg of bodyweight he would need to consume 80mg of caffeine around 30 minutes before a game. This is equivalent to a small coffee from Starbucks.

Caffeine lasts in our systems anywhere from 4 to 6 hours on average, and it has a half life of about 5 hours.

That means if you consume 200 mg of caffeine, after 5 hours, you'll still have 100 mg left in your body.

Don't drink coffee too late in the day. This may effect the quality of your sleep and hinder recovery.

Overall supplementing with caffeine can be very beneficial for basketball players.


  1. Puente C, Abián-Vicén J, Salinero JJ, Lara B, Areces F, Del Coso J. Caffeine Improves Basketball Performance in Experienced Basketball Players. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):1033. Published 2017 Sep 19. doi:10.3390/nu9091033
  2. hi S. Tan, Stephen F. Burns, Jing W. Pan, Pui W. Kong,Effect of caffeine ingestion on free-throw performance in college basketball players,Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness,Volume 18, Issue 2,2020,Pages 62-67,
    ISSN 1728-869X

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