Comparison Of The Most Demanding Scenarios During Different In-Season Training Sessions And Official Matches In Professional Basketball Players

García F, Schelling X, Castellano J, Martín-García A, Pla F, Vázquez-Guerrero J

The purpose of this study was to compare physical demands during the most demanding scenarios (MDS) of different training sessions and official matches in professional basketball players across playing positions. Thirteen professional basketball players were monitored over a 9-week competitive season using a local positioning system. Peak physical demands included total distance, distance covered at > 18 km·h⁻¹, distance and number of accelerations (≥ 2 m·s⁻²) and decelerations (≤ -2 m·s⁻²) over a 60-second epoch. Analysis of variance for repeated measures, Bonferroni post-hoc tests and standardised Cohen’s effect size (ES) were calculated.

Overall, almost all physical demands during the MDS of training were lower (-6.2% to -35.4%) compared to official matches. The only variable that surpassed competition demands was distance covered at > 18 km·h⁻¹, which presented moderate (ES = 0.61, p = 0.01) and small (ES = 0.48, p > 0.05) increases during training sessions four and three days before a competition, respectively. Conversely, the two previous practices before match day presented trivial to very large decreases (ES = 0.09–2.66) in all physical demands. Furthermore, centres achieved the lowest peak value in total distance covered during matches, forwards completed the greatest peak distance at > 18 km·h⁻¹, and guards performed the greatest distance and number of high-intensity accelerations and decelerations.

In conclusion, physical demands during the MDS of different training sessions across the microcycle failed to match or surpass peak values during official matches, which should be considered when prescribing a training process intended to optimise the MDS of match play.

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