Purpose: To characterize the weekly training load (TL) and well-being of college basketball players during the in-season phase. Methods: Ten (6 guards and 4 forwards) male basketball players (age 20.9 [0.9] y, stature 195.0 [8.2] cm, and body mass 91.3 [11.3] kg) from the same Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association team were recruited to participate in this study. Individualized training and game loads were assessed using the session rating of perceived exertion at the end of each training and game session, and well-being status was collected before each session. Weekly changes (%) in TL, acute-to-chronic workload ratio, and well-being were determined. Differences in TL and well-being between starting and bench players and between 1-game and 2-game weeks were calculated using magnitude-based statistics. Results: Total weekly TL and acute-to-chronic workload ratio demonstrated high week-to-week variation, with spikes up to 226% and 220%, respectively. Starting players experienced a higher (most likely negative) total weekly TL and similar (unclear) well-being status compared with bench players. Game scheduling influenced TL, with 1-game weeks demonstrating a higher (likely negative) total weekly TL and similar (most likely trivial) well-being status compared with 2-game weeks. Conclusions: These findings provide college basketball coaches information to optimize training strategies during the in-season phase. Basketball coaches should concurrently consider the number of weekly games and player status (starting vs bench player) when creating individualized periodization plans, with increases in TL potentially needed in bench players, especially in 2-game weeks.
Daniele Conte, Nicholas Kolb, Aaron T. Scanlan and Fabrizio Santolamazza
Montassar Tabben, Daniele Conte, Monoem Haddad and Karim Chamari
Purpose: To assess the technical and tactical demands of elite karate athletes in relation to 3 match sequences (ie, advantage, disadvantage, and drawing) and match outcome (ie, win/defeat).Methods: One hundred twenty elite seniors’ (60 men and 60 women) World Karate Federation combats were analyzed during 2 World Championships (2012 and 2014). Specific karate attributes (strategy, technique, tactic, target, and effectiveness) were evaluated and classified into 3 sequences: advantage, disadvantage, and drawing. Results: Karatekas performed more combination techniques in disadvantage sequences than in drawing sequences (P = .011). A higher number of timed-attack actions were reported during advantage sequences than during drawing sequences (P = .048). Winners of the whole combat had higher lower-limb technique rate (1.0 [0.9] vs 0.1 [0.3]; P = .044) and less rate of timed attack (0.3 [0.5] vs 0.6 [1.0]; P = .030) than defeated karatekas during advantage and drawing sequences, respectively. Conclusions: Winners used higher lower-limb technique and less timed-attack rates than defeated karatekas in advantage and drawing sequences, respectively. Indeed, using lower-limb technique during advantageous situations could be a powerful strategy to increase the lead. Therefore, it seems fundamental for coaches of top elite karatekas to put their athletes in simulated situations and push them to increase their use of lower-limb techniques.
Oliver O. Badin, Mitchell R. Smith, Daniele Conte and Aaron J. Coutts
To assess the effects of mental fatigue on physical and technical performance in small-sided soccer games.
Twenty soccer players (age 17.8 ± 1.0 y, height 179 ± 5 cm, body mass 72.4 ± 6.8 kg, playing experience 8.3 ± 1.4 y) from an Australian National Premier League soccer club volunteered to participate in this randomized crossover investigation. Participants played 15-min 5-vs-5 small-sided games (SSGs) without goalkeepers on 2 occasions separated by 1 wk. Before the SSG, 1 team watched a 30-min emotionally neutral documentary (control), while the other performed 30 min of a computer-based Stroop task (mental fatigue). Subjective ratings of mental and physical fatigue were recorded before and after treatment and after the SSG. Motivation was assessed before treatment and SSG; mental effort was assessed after treatment and SSG. Player activity profiles and heart rate (HR) were measured throughout the SSG, whereas ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were recorded before the SSG and immediately after each half. Video recordings of the SSG allowed for notational analysis of technical variables.
Subjective ratings of mental fatigue and effort were higher after the Stroop task, whereas motivation for the upcoming SSG was similar between conditions. HR during the SSG was possibly higher in the control condition, whereas RPE was likely higher in the mental-fatigue condition. Mental fatigue had an unclear effect on most physical-performance variables but impaired most technical-performance variables.
Mental fatigue impairs technical but not physical performance in small-sided soccer games.
Henrikas Paulauskas, Rasa Kreivyte, Aaron T. Scanlan, Alexandre Moreira, Laimonas Siupsinskas and Daniele Conte
Purpose: To assess the weekly fluctuations in workload and differences in workload according to playing time in elite female basketball players. Methods: A total of 29 female basketball players (mean [SD] age 21  y, stature 181  cm, body mass 71  kg, playing experience 12  y) belonging to the 7 women’s basketball teams competing in the first-division Lithuanian Women’s Basketball League were recruited. Individualized training loads (TLs) and game loads (GLs) were assessed using the session rating of perceived exertion after each training session and game during the entire in-season phase (24 wk). Percentage changes in total weekly TL (weekly TL + GL), weekly TL, weekly GL, chronic workload, acute:chronic workload ratio, training monotony, and training strain were calculated. Mixed linear models were used to assess differences for each dependent variable, with playing time (low vs high) used as fixed factor and subject, week, and team as random factors. Results: The highest changes in total weekly TL, weekly TL, and acute:chronic workload ratio were evident in week 13 (47%, 120%, and 49%, respectively). Chronic workload showed weekly changes ≤10%, whereas monotony and training strain registered highest fluctuations in weeks 17 (34%) and 15 (59%), respectively. A statistically significant difference in GL was evident between players completing low and high playing times (P = .026, moderate), whereas no significant differences (P > .05) were found for all other dependent variables. Conclusions: Coaches of elite women’s basketball teams should monitor weekly changes in workload during the in-season phase to identify weeks that may predispose players to unwanted spikes and adjust player workload according to playing time.
Aaron T. Scanlan, Neal Wen, Joshua H. Guy, Nathan Elsworthy, Michele Lastella, David B. Pyne, Daniele Conte and Vincent J. Dalbo
Purpose: To examine correlations between peak force and impulse measures attained during the isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) and basketball-specific sprint and jump tests. Methods: Male, adolescent basketball players (N = 24) completed a battery of basketball-specific performance tests. Testing consisted of the IMTP (absolute and normalized peak force and impulse at 100 and 250 ms); 20-m sprint (time across 5, 10, and 20 m); countermovement jump (CMJ; absolute and normalized peak force and jump height); standing long jump (distance); and repeated lateral bound (distance). Correlation and regression analyses were conducted between IMTP measures and other attributes. Results: An almost perfect correlation was evident between absolute peak force attained during the IMTP and CMJ (r = .94, R 2 = 56%, P < .05). Moderate to very large correlations (P < .05) were observed between IMTP normalized peak force and 5-m sprint time (r = −.44, R 2 = 19%), 10-m sprint time (r = −.45, R 2 = 20%), absolute (r = .57, R 2 = 33%), normalized (r = .86, R 2 = 73%) CMJ peak force, and standing long-jump distance (r = .51, R 2 = 26%). Moderate to very large correlations were evident between impulse measures during the IMTP and 5-m sprint time (100 ms, r = −.40, R 2 = 16%, P > .05) and CMJ absolute peak force (100 ms, r = .73, R 2 = 54%; 250 ms, r = .68, R 2 = 47%; P < .05). Conclusions: The IMTP may be used to assess maximal and rapid force expression important across a range of basketball-specific movements.
Aaron T. Scanlan, Vincent J. Dalbo, Daniele Conte, Emilija Stojanović, Nenad Stojiljković, Ratko Stanković, Vladimir Antić and Zoran Milanović
Purpose: To examine the effect of caffeine supplementation on dribbling speed in elite female and male basketball players. Methods: A double-blind, counterbalanced, randomized, crossover design was used. Elite basketball players (N = 21; 10 female, 11 male; age 18.3 [3.3] y) completed placebo (3 mg·kg−1 of body mass of dextrose) and caffeine (3 mg·kg−1 of body mass) trials 1 wk apart during the in-season phase. During each trial, players completed 20-m linear sprints with and without dribbling a basketball. Performance times were recorded at 5-, 10-, and 20-m splits. Dribbling speed was measured using traditional (total performance time) and novel (dribble deficit) methods. Dribble deficit isolates the added time taken to complete a task when dribbling compared with a nondribbling version of the same task. Comparisons between placebo and caffeine conditions were conducted at group and individual levels. Results: Nonsignificant (P > .05), trivial to small (effect size = 0.04–0.42) differences in dribbling speed were observed between conditions. The majority (20 out of 21) of players were classified as nonresponders to caffeine, with 1 player identified as a negative responder using dribble-deficit measures. Conclusions: Results indicate that caffeine offers no ergogenic benefit to dribbling speed in elite basketball players. The negative response to caffeine in 1 player indicates that caffeine supplementation may be detrimental to dribbling speed in specific cases and emphasizes the need for individualized analyses in nutrition-based sport-science research.