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Purpose: To investigate the effects of ball drills and repeated-sprint-ability training during the regular season in basketball players. Methods: A total of 30 players were randomized into 3 groups: ball-drills training (BDT, n = 12, 4 × 4 min, 3 vs 3 with 3-min passive recovery), repeated-sprint-ability training (RSAT, n = 9, 3 × 6 × 20-m shuttle running with 20-s and 4-min recovery), and general basketball training (n = 9, basketball technical/tactical exercises), as control group. Players were tested before and after 8 wk of training using the following tests: V˙O2max, squat jump, countermovement jump, Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (YIRT1), agility T test, line-drill test, 5-/10-/20-m sprints, and blood lactate concentration. A custom-developed survey was used to analyze players’ technical skills. Results: After training, significant improvements were seen in YIRT1 (BDT P = .014, effect size [ES] ± 90% CI = 0.8 ± 0.3; RSAT P = .022, ES ± 90% CI = 0.7 ± 0.3), the agility T test (BDT P = .018, ES ± 90% CI = 0.7 ± 0.5; RSAT P = .037, ES ± 90% CI = 0.7 ± 0.5), and the line-drill test (BDT P = .010, ES ± 90% CI = 0.3 ± 0.1; RSAT P < .0001, ES ± 90% CI = 0.4 ± 0.1). In the RSAT group, only 10-m sprint speeds (P = .039, ES ± 90% CI = 0.3 ± 0.2) and blood lactate concentration (P = .004, ES ± 90% CI = 0.8 ± 1.1) were improved. Finally, technical skills were increased in BDT regarding dribbling (P = .038, ES ± 90% CI = 0.8 ± 0.6), shooting (P = .036, ES ± 90% CI = 0.8 ± 0.8), passing (P = .034, ES ± 90% CI = 0.9 ± 0.3), rebounding (P = .023, ES ± 90% CI = 1.1 ± 0.3), defense (P = .042, ES ± 90% CI = 0.5 ± 0.5), and offense (P = .044, ES ± 90% CI = 0.4 ± 0.4) skills. Conclusions: BDT and RSAT are both effective in improving the physical performance of basketball players. BDT had also a positive impact on technical skills. Basketball strength and conditioning professionals should include BDT as a routine tool to improve technical skills and physical performance simultaneously throughout the regular training season.

Maggioni, Bonato, La Torre, Vernillo, and Merati are with the Dept of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy. Maggioni is with the Berlin Inst of Health, Inst of Physiology, Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Freie Universität Berlin; and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Stahn is with the Dept of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, and the Berlin Inst of Health, Inst of Physiology, Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. La Torre is also with the IRCSS, Galeazzi Orthopedic Inst, Milan, Italy. Agnello is with the Milan Inst of Sport Medicine, Milan, Italy. Castagna is with the Football Training and Biomechanics Laboratory, Technical Dept, Italian Football Federation, Florence, Italy, and the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. Merati is also with IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Milan, Italy.

Bonato (matteo.bonato@unimi.it) is corresponding author.
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