Differences in External Load Variables Between Playing Positions in Elite Basketball Match-Play

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Hugo Salazar, Julen Castellano, Luka Svilar

The purpose of this study was to describe the specific demands and structure of interrelationships of external load variables in order to generate a position-related time motion profile in elite basketball. Seventeen professional players from three different playing positions (6 guards, 4 forwards, and 7 centers) were analyzed in five friendly games. Player load per minute (PLmin) was used as an indicator of intensity to compare positions. Furthermore, high and total external variables of jumping (hJUMP and tJUMP), acceleration (hACC and tACC), deceleration (hDEC and tDEC) and change of direction (hCOD and tCOD), respectively, were used for the principal component analysis (PCA). The Kaiser criterion (eigenvalue > 1) was applied, and the Varimax rotation mode was used to extract multiple principal components. PCA showed that all positions had three or four principal components, but the configuration of each factor was different: tCOD, hCOD, hDEC and hJUMP for guards, hCOD, tCOD, tACC and hDEC for forwards, and tJUMP, hJUMP, hDEC and tACC for centers were specifically demanded in match-play. For guards and forwards, a significant correlation was found between COD variables, while for centers tCOD and PLmin had the strongest correlation. When monitoring the external load via tri-axial accelerometers in basketball match-play, each playing position showed specific physical demands. Therefore, these variables must be prioritized in load monitoring programs
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2020-0054
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