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Ivan Vrbik, Goran Sporiš, Lovro Štefan, Dejan Madić, Nebojša Trajković, Irena Valantine, and Zoran Milanović


The number of familiarization sessions in fitness assessments seems to be critical and inconsistent. Therefore, the primary aim of this research was to determine the number of familiarization attempts that stabilize the results in particular physical fitness tests. The secondary aim was to establish the test reliability through familiarization sessions.


Thirty-nine primary school children participated in this research (age: 10.8 years, body mass: 40.6 ± 8.9 kg, and body height: 145.3 ± 7.2 cm). During six sessions, with one session every third day, participants performed the following tests to assess explosive strength (vertical jump and standing long jump), coordination (polygon backward and polygon with turn) and flexibility (toe touch).


The results of repeated analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that there were significant increases (p < .05) in the polygon backward and polygon with turn performances from the first to third familiarization session. The standard error of measurement decreased as sessions progressed, indicating little within subject variation between the coordination test results following a familiarization period. Statistically significant differences were identified in the vertical jump test from the fourth test session compared with the first session. On the other hand, statistically significant differences for the standing long jump test were only found in the final session compared with the initial session. In the toe touch test, there were no significant increases from the first to the final familiarization session. All tests showed high a reliability coefficients, ranging from 0.979 to 0.991.


Polygon backward and polygon with turn performance may be a practical, reliable method to assess coordination in primary school-aged children. However, completion of at least 3 practice sessions is suggested for participants to obtain a stable score. In addition, both jump tests are feasible for assessing skill-related fitness in young children, although the scientific reliability of the two tests should be questioned and the tests should be tailored to fit the age group of the children.

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Aaron T. Scanlan, Emilija Stojanović, Zoran Milanović, Masaru Teramoto, Mario Jeličić, and Vincent J. Dalbo

Purpose: To compare the aerobic capacity of elite female basketball players between playing roles and positions determined using maximal laboratory and field tests. Methods: Elite female basketball players from the National Croatian League were grouped according to playing role (starter: n = 8; bench: n = 12) and position (backcourt: n = 11; frontcourt: n = 9). All 20 players completed 2 maximal exercise tests in a crossover fashion 7 days apart. First, the players underwent a laboratory-based continuous running treadmill test with metabolic measurement to determine their peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak). The players then completed a maximal field-based 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15 IFT) to estimate VO2peak. The VO2peak was compared using multiple linear regression analysis with bootstrap standard errors and playing role and position as predictors. Results: During both tests, starters attained a significantly higher VO2peak than bench players (continuous running treadmill: 47.4 [5.2] vs 44.7 [3.5] mL·kg−1·min−1, P = .05, moderate; 30-15 IFT: 44.9 [2.1] vs 41.9 [1.7] mL·kg−1·min−1, P < .001, large), and backcourt players attained a significantly higher VO2peak than frontcourt players (continuous running treadmill: 48.1 [3.8] vs 43.0 [3.3] mL·kg−1·min−1, P < .001, large; 30-15 IFT: 44.2 [2.2] vs 41.8 [2.0] mL·kg−1·min−1, P < .001, moderate). Conclusions: Starters (vs bench players) and guards (vs forwards and centers) possess a higher VO2peak irrespective of using laboratory or field tests. These data highlight the role- and position-specific importance of aerobic fitness to inform testing, training, and recovery practices in elite female basketball.

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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.