External, Internal, Perceived Training Loads and Their Relationships in Youth Basketball Players Across Different Positions

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To quantify external, internal, and perceived training loads and their relationships in youth basketball players across different playing positions. Methods: Fourteen regional-level youth male players (age: 15.2 [0.3] y) were monitored during team-based training sessions across 10 in-season weeks. The players were monitored with BioHarness-3 devices, to measure external (Impulse Load, in Newtons per second) and internal (summated-heart-rate zones [SHRZ], in arbitrary units [AU]) loads, and with the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE, in AU) method to quantify perceived training load. Multiple linear mixed models were performed to compare training loads between playing positions (backcourt and frontcourt). Repeated-measures correlations were performed to assess the relationships between the load models, for all players and within playing positions. Results: External load (backcourt: 13,599 [2260] N·s; frontcourt: 14,934 [2173] N·s) and sRPE (backcourt: 345 [132] AU; frontcourt: 505 [158] AU) were higher in the frontcourt (P < .05, effect size: moderate), while SHRZ was similar between positions (backcourt: 239 [45] AU; frontcourt: 247 [43] AU) (P > .05; effect size: trivial). The correlations were as follows: large between the external load and SHRZ (r = .57, P < .001), moderate between SHRZ and sRPE (r = .45, P < .001), and small between the external load and sRPE (r = .26, P = .02). The correlation magnitudes were equivalent for external load–SHRZ (large) and SHRZ–sRPE (moderate) across positions, but different for the external load–sRPE correlation (small in backcourt; moderate in frontcourt). Conclusions: In youth basketball, small–large commonalities were found between the training dose (external load) and players’ responses (internal and perceived loads). Practitioners should carefully manage frontcourt players’ training loads because they accumulate greater external and perceived loads than backcourt  players do.

Sansone and Tessitore are with the Sport Performance Laboratory, Dept of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome “Foro Italico,” Rome, Italy. Ceravolo is with Skills Basketball, Rome, Italy, and GS Esquilino Basketball, Rome, Italy.

Sansone (ppsansone@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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