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Davide Ferioli, Ermanno Rampinini, Andrea Bosio, Antonio La Torre, and Nicola A. Maffiuletti

Purpose: To examine differences between adult male basketball players of different competitive levels (study 1) and changes over a basketball season (study 2) of knee-extensor peripheral muscle function during multistage change-of-direction exercise (MCODE). Methods: In study 1, 111 players from 4 different divisions completed the MCODE during the regular season. In study 2, the MCODE was performed before (T1) and after (T2) the preparation period and during the competitive season (T3) by 32 players from divisions I, II, and III. The MCODE comprised 4 levels of increasing intensity for each player. The twitch peak torque (PT) of knee extensors was measured after each level. PTmax (the highest value of PT) and fatigue were calculated. Results: In study 1, the authors found possibly small differences (effect size [ES] [90% confidence interval] −0.24 [0.39]) in fatigue between divisions I and II. Division I was characterized by likely (ES 0.30–0.65) and very likely to almost certain (ES 0.74–1.41) better PTmax and fatigue levels than divisions III and VI, respectively. In study 2, fatigue was very likely reduced (ES −0.91 to −0.51) among all divisions from T1 to T2, whereas PTmax was likely to very likely reduced (ES −0.51 to −0.39) in divisions II and III. Conclusions: Professional basketball players are characterized by a better peripheral muscle function during MCODE. Most of the seasonal changes in peripheral muscle function occurred after the preparation period. These findings inform practitioners on the development of training programs to enhance the ability to sustain repeated change-of-direction efforts.

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Davide Ferioli, Andrea Bosio, Johann C. Bilsborough, Antonio La Torre, Michele Tornaghi, and Ermanno Rampinini

Purpose: To investigate the effect of the preparation period on neuromuscular characteristics of 12 professional (PRO) and 16 semiprofessional (SEMIPRO) basketball players and relationships between training-load indices and changes in neuromuscular physical performance. Methods: Before and after the preparation period, players underwent a countermovement jump (CMJ) test followed by a repeated change-of-direction (COD) test consisting of 4 levels with increasing intensities. The peripheral neuromuscular functions of the knee extensors (peak torque [PT]) were measured using electrical stimulations after each level (PT1, PT2, PT3, and PT4). Furthermore, PT Max (the highest value of PT) and PT Dec (PT decrement from PT Max to PT4) were calculated. Results: Trivial to small (effect size [ES] = −0.17 to 0.46) improvements were found in CMJ variables, regardless of competitive level. After the preparation period, peripheral fatigue induced by a COD test was similarly reduced in both PRO (PT Dec: from 27.8% [21.3%] to 11.4% [13.7%]; ES = −0.71; 90% confidence interval [CI], ±0.30) and SEMIPRO (PT Dec: from 26.1% [21.9%] to 10.2% [8.2%]; ES = −0.69; 90% CI, ±0.32). Moderate to large relationships were found between session rating of perceived exertion training load and changes in peak power output (PPO) measured during the CMJs (r s [90% confidence interval]: PPOabs, −.46 [±.26]; PPOrel, −.53 [±.23]) and in some PTs measured during the COD test (PT1, −.45 [±.26]; PT2, −.44 [±.26]; PT3, −.40 [±.27]; and PT Max, −.38 [±.28]). Conclusions: The preparation period induced minimal changes in the CMJ, while the ability to sustain repeated COD efforts was improved. Reaching high session rating of perceived exertion training loads might partially and negatively affect the ability to produce strength and power.

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Davide Ferioli, Diego Rucco, Ermanno Rampinini, Antonio La Torre, Marco M. Manfredi, and Daniele Conte

Purpose: To examine the physiological, physical, and technical demands of game-based drills (GBDs) with regular dribble (RD) or no dribble (ND) involving a different number of players (3 vs 3, 4 vs 4, and 5 vs 5). Methods: Ten regional-level male basketball players performed 6 full-court GBD formats (each consisting of 3 bouts of 4 min and 2 min rest) on multiple occasions. The physiological and perceptual responses were measured through heart rate and rating of perceived exertion. Video-based time–motion analysis was performed to assess the GBD physical demands. The frequencies of occurrence and the duration were calculated for high-intensity, moderate-intensity, low-intensity, and recovery activities. Technical demands were assessed with a notional-analysis technique. A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess statistical differences between GBD formats. Results: A greater perceptual response (rating of perceived exertion) was recorded during 3 versus 3 than 5 versus 5 formats (P = .005). Significant interactions were observed for the number of recovery (P = .021), low-intensity activity (P = .007), and all movements (P = .001) completed. Greater time was spent performing low-intensity and high-intensity activities during RD than ND format. Greater technical demands were observed for several variables during 3 versus 3 than 4 versus 4 or 5 versus 5. A greater number of turnovers (P = .027), total (P ≤ .001), and correct passes (P ≤ .001) were recorded during ND than RD format. Conclusions: The number of players predominantly affected the perceptual response to GBD, while both the number of players and rule modification (RD vs ND) affected activities performed during GBD. Reducing the number of players increases the GBD technical elements, while ND format promotes a greater number of turnovers and passes.

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Davide Ferioli, Aaron T. Scanlan, Daniele Conte, Emanuele Tibiletti, and Ermanno Rampinini

Purpose: To quantify and compare the internal workloads experienced during the playoffs and regular season in basketball. Methods: A total of 10 professional male basketball players competing in the Italian first division were monitored during the final 6 weeks of the regular season and the entire 6-week playoff phase. Internal workload was quantified using the session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) method for all training sessions and games. A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (day type × period) was utilized to assess differences in daily s-RPE between game days, days within 24 hours of games, and days >24 hours from games during the playoffs and regular season. Comparisons in weekly training, game, and total workloads were made between the playoffs and regular season using paired t tests and effect sizes. Results: A significant interaction between day and competitive period for s-RPE was found (P = .003, moderate). Lower s-RPE was apparent during playoff and regular-season days within 24 hours of games than all other days (P < .001, very large). Furthermore, s-RPE across days >24 hours from playoff games was different than all other days (P ≤ .01, moderate–very large). Weekly training (P = .009, very large) and total (P < .001, moderate) s-RPE were greater during the regular season than playoffs, whereas weekly game s-RPE was greater during the playoffs than the regular season (P < .001, very large). Conclusions: This study presents an exploratory investigation of internal workload during the playoffs in professional basketball. Players experienced greater training and total weekly workloads during the regular season than during the playoffs with similar daily game workloads between periods.

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Luca Filipas, Davide Ferioli, Giuseppe Banfi, Antonio La Torre, and Jacopo Antonino Vitale

Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the single and combined effects of sleep restriction (SR) and mental fatigue (MF) on free-throw (FT) performance among adult male basketball players. Methods: A total of 19 amateur male basketball players performed, in a randomized, counterbalanced, and crossover order, 2 identical experimental sessions separated by an interval of 1 week. The difference between the 2 sessions was in the quantity of sleep the night before the sessions, as follows: in one case, the participants followed their habitual sleep–wake routines; in the other session, they were forced to sleep not more than 5 hours. During the experimental sessions, the participants performed 60 basketball FTs on 2 occasions, separated by watching a basketball tactical video for 30 minutes designed to induce MF. As such, the FT test was completed in 4 different conditions: control, MF, SR, and SR and MF combined. Results: The participants registered a significantly lower total sleep time in acute SR (P < .001). The subjective rating of MF was lower in the control than in MF, SR, and SR and MF combined (P < .001). There were no differences between conditions for the subjective ratings of motivation. FT accuracy was higher in the control than in MF, SR, and SR and MF combined (P = .010), while no differences were observed between the 3 experimental conditions (all P > .05). Conclusion: The results indicate that a combined effect of MF and SR induces a small reduction in basketball FT performance, similar to MF or SR alone.

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Cody J. O’Grady, Jordan L. Fox, Daniele Conte, Davide Ferioli, Aaron T. Scanlan, and Vincent J. Dalbo

Purpose: Games-based drills are the predominant form of training adopted during basketball practice. As such, researchers have begun to quantify the physical, physiological, and perceptual demands of different games-based drill formats. However, study methodology has not been systematically reported across studies, limiting the ability to form conclusions from existing research. The authors developed this call to action to draw attention to the current standard of methodological reporting in basketball games-based drill research and establish a systematic reporting standard the authors hope will be utilized in future research. The Basketball Games-Based Drill Methodical Reporting Checklist (BGBDMRC) was developed to encourage the systematic reporting of games-based drill methodology. The authors used the BGBDMRC to evaluate the current methodological reporting standard of studies included in their review published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, “A Systematic Review of the External and Internal Workloads Experienced During Games-Based Drills in Basketball Players” (2020), which highlighted this issue. Of the 17 studies included in their review, only 38% (±18%) of applicable checklist items were addressed across included studies, which is problematic as checklist items are essential for study replication. Conclusions: The current standard of methodological reporting in basketball games-based drill research is insufficient to allow for replication of examined drills in future research or the application of research outcomes to practice. The authors implore researchers to adopt the BGBDMRC to improve the quality and reproducibility of games-based drill research and increase the translation of research findings to practice.