Positional role and competitive-level differences in elite-level men's basketball players

Nidhal Ben Abdelkrim, Anis Chaouachi, Karim Chamari, Mokhtar Chtara, Carlo Castagna
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2010, 24 (5): 1346-55
The purpose of the present study was to compare the physical attributes of elite men's basketball players according to age and specific individual positional roles. Forty-five players from 3 national basketball teams (Under-18 years, Under-20 years, and Senior) were measured for anthropometry (height, body mass, percentage body fat), explosive power (5 jumps and vertical jump), speed (5-m, 10-m, and 30-m sprint), agility (T-test), strength (bench press and squat 1 repetition maximum [1RM]), and intermittent high-intensity endurance performance (Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test [Yo-Yo IR1]). Data on match frequency, training routines, and playing experience were also collected. Under-18 players were significantly (p < 0.05) shorter and lighter than both Senior and Under-20 players but showed higher (p < 0.05) percentage body fat. Under-20 and Senior players were faster and had better explosive-power and agility (p < 0.05) performances than Under-18 players. Bench press and squat 1RMs were higher in Senior players (p < 0.05) compared with the other groups. There were significant difference in the Yo-Yo IR1 performance among groups (Senior > Under-20 > Under-18, p < 0.05). Centers and power forwards were the tallest and the heaviest (p < 0.05). The Yo-Yo IR1 performance was higher (p < 0.01) in point guards than in centers. Point guards showed also better agility and 5- and 10-m performances. Power forwards and centers were stronger than the rest of players' positions in the bench press 1RM (p < 0.01). These results showed the existence of age and positional role differences in fitness performance in men's basketball. Differences were particularly evident in intermittent high-intensity endurance and agility performance. Sprint training possibly should be individualized when dealing with positional roles in elite men's basketball. Strength and conditioning coaches should use Yo-Yo IR1 to assess specific endurance in players of different age and positional role.

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