Changes in Physical Demands Between Game Quarters of U18 Elite Official Basketball Games

Vázquez-Guerrero, J., Fernández-Valdés, B., Jones, B., Moras, G., Reche, X., Sampaio, J.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the physical demands during U18 elite basketball games according to the game quarter and to identify a smaller subset of variables and threshold scores that distinguish players’ physical performance in each quarter.

Methods: Data was collected from ninety-four players who participated in the study (age: 17.4 ± 0.74 years; height: 199.0 ± 0.1 cm; body mass: 87.1 ± 13.1 kg) competing in the Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament. Players’ movements during the games were measured using a portable local positioning system (LPS) (WIMU PRO®, Realtrack Systems SL, Almerı ́a, Spain) and included relative distance (total distance / playing duration), relative distance in established speed zones, high-intensity running (18.1–24.0 km/h) and sprinting (> 24.1 km/h), player load, peak speed (km/h), and peak acceleration (m/s^2) number of total accelerations and total decelerations, high-intensity accelerations (> 2 m/s^2) and decelerations (< -2 m/s^2). Results: There was an overall decrease in distance covered, player load, number of high-intensity accelerations and decelerations between the first and last quarter of the games in all playing positions. A classification tree analysis showed that the first quarter had much influence of distance covered (above 69.0 meters), distance covered <6.0 km/h, and accelerations (> 2 m/s^2), whereas the fourth quarter performance had much influence of distance covered (below 69.0) and distance covered 12.1–18.0 km/h.

Conclusions: A significant reduction in physical demands occurs during basketball, especially between the first and last quarter for players in all playing positions during basketball games of under 18 elite players.

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