Declines in high-intensity activity during game play (in-game approach) and performance tests measured pre- and postgame (across-game approach) have been used to assess player fatigue in basketball. However, a direct comparison of these approaches is not available. Consequently, this study examined the commonality between in- and across-game jump fatigue during simulated basketball game play.
Australian, state-level, junior male basketball players (n = 10; 16.6 ± 1.1 y, 182.4 ± 4.3 cm, 68.3 ± 10.2 kg) completed 4 × 10-min standardized quarters of simulated basketball game play. In-game jump height during game play was measured using video analysis, while across-game jump height was determined pre-, mid-, and postgame play using an in-ground force platform. Jump height was determined using the flight-time method, with jump decrement calculated for each approach across the first half, second half, and entire game.
A greater jump decrement was apparent for the in-game approach than for the across-game approach in the first half (37.1% ± 11.6% vs 1.7% ± 6.2%; P = .005; d = 3.81, large), while nonsignificant, large differences were evident between approaches in the second half (d = 1.14) and entire game (d = 1.83). Nonsignificant associations were evident between in-game and across-game jump decrement, with shared variances of 3–26%.
Large differences and a low commonality were observed between in- and across-game jump fatigue during basketball game play, suggesting that these approaches measure different constructs. Based on our findings, it is not recommended that basketball coaches use these approaches interchangeably to monitor player fatigue across the season.