Is It Enough To Use The Traditional Approach Based On Average Values For Basketball Physical Performance Analysis?

Vázquez-Guerrero J., Garcia F.

Understanding the most demanding scenarios of basketball match-play can optimize training prescription. We established physical demand differences in total distance covered, distance covered at high-speed running, distance covered at high-intensity accelerations and decelerations, number of high-speed running actions, and number of high-intensity accelerations, comparing the traditional average method with the most demanding scenarios based on 1-minute rolling averages.

Physical demand parameters were analyzed from 21 elite basketball players according to playing position during a friendly game via local positioning system microtechnology. The results showed that players covered a total distance of 141.3 m·min^-1 (p < 0.001; ES = 7.80) and 25.4 m·min^-1 (p < 0.001; ES = 4.52) at high-speed running using rolling averages, compared to 66.3 m·min^-1 and 3.2 m·min^-1, respectively, using the traditional average approach. These data represent a very large increase of 113.1% for total distance per minute and 686.4% for high-speed running distance per minute, 252% for the number of high-intensity accelerations, and 290.5% for the number of high-intensity decelerations, respectively, demonstrating the relevance of this novel approach. In conclusion, this investigation indicated that the traditional average method underestimates peak physical demands over a 1-minute period during a basketball game. Thus, the average approach should be complemented by analyzing the most demanding scenarios in order to have a better understanding of physical demands during basketball competition.

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