Positional Differences in Elite Basketball: Selecting Appropriate Training-Load Measures

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: 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 2 internal-load variables (rating of perceived exertion [RPE] and session RPE) 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, and hCOD and tCOD) were used for the principal-component analysis. Extraction criteria were set at an eigenvalue of greater than 1. Varimax rotation mode was used to extract multiple principal components. Results: The analysis showed that all positions had 2 or 3 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 session RPE 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.

Svilar, Castellano, and Jukic are with Basketball Club Saski Baskonia S.A.D., Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Svilar and Castellano are also with the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Svilar and Jukic are also with the University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. Casamichana is with the Faculty of Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy, Gimbernat-Cantabria University School associated with the University of Cantabria (UC), Torrelavega, Spain.

Svilar (luka_svilar@yahoo.com) is corresponding author.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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