Positional Differences in Elite Basketball: Selecting Appropriate Training Load Measures

Svilar, L., Castellano, J., Jukic, I., Casamichana, D.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper was to study the structure of interrelationships among external training load measures and how these vary among different positions in elite basketball.

Methods: Eight external variables of jumping (JUMP), acceleration (ACC), deceleration (DEC), and change of direction (COD), and two internal load variables (RPE and sRPE) were collected from 13 professional players with 300 session records. Three playing positions were considered: guards (n=4), forwards (n=4), and centers (n=5). High and total external variables (hJUMP and tJUMP, hACC and tACC, hDEC and tDEC, hCOD and tCOD) were used for the principal component analysis. Extraction criteria were set at the eigenvalue of greater than one. Varimax rotation mode was used to extract multiple principal components.

Results: The analysis showed that all positions had two or three principal components (explaining almost all of the variance), but the configuration of each factor was different: tACC, tDEC, tCOD, and hJUMP for centers, hACC, tACC, tCOD, and hJUMP for guards, and tACC, hDEC, tDEC, hCOD, and tCOD for forwards are specifically demanded in training sessions and, therefore, these variables must be prioritized in load monitoring. Furthermore, for all playing positions, RPE and sRPE have high correlation with the total amount of ACC, DEC, and COD. This would suggest that, although players perform the same training tasks, the demands of each position can vary.

Conclusion: A particular combination of external load measures is required to describe the training load of each playing position, especially to better understand internal responses among players.

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