Objective: To assess the physical demands of men's basketball following the changes in rules of May 2000 by investigating activity patterns, heart rate (HR) and blood lactate concentration of 38 elite under-19 basketball players during six matches.
Methods: Computerized time-motion analyses were performed during each match on three players of various positions (n=18). Heart rate was recorded continuously (n=38) using sport tester S610TM heart rate monitors. Blood samples (n=114) were drawn from the antecubital vein before the start of the matches, at halftime and at fulltime for lactate determinations.
Results: Players spent (mean ± SD) 8.8 ± 1%, 5.3 ± 0.8% and 2.1 ± 0.3% of live time in high “specific movements”, sprinting and jumping, respectively, while 29,9 ± 2% was spent standing still and walking. Centres spent significantly lower live time competing in high- intensity activities than guards (14.7 ± 1 % vs. 17.1 ± 1.2 %; P < 0.01) and forwards (16.6 ± 0.8 %; P < 0.05). A correlation was found between maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and the duration of intense movements. The percent time spent in high-intensity activity by the different positional groups decreased considerably in the second and fourth quarters compared to that in the first and third quarters, respectively. The mean match HR was 171 ± 4 beats.min-1 (91 ± 2% HR max), with a significant difference between guards and centres (174 ± 3 beats.min-1 vs. 169 ± 3 beats.min-1; P < 0.01). HR decreased significantly in the fourth quarter for all positional groups. Mean plasma lactate was 5.49 ± 1.24 mmol.L-1, with concentrations at halftime (6.05 ± 1.27 mmol.L-1) being significantly (P< 0.001) higher than those at fulltime (4.94 ± 1.46 mmol.L-1, respectively). The mean plasma lactate for centres was lower than that for guards at the end of the match (4.25 ± 1.54 mmol.L-1 vs. 5.92 ± 1.16 mmol.L-1).
Conclusion: The changes to the rules of basketball have slightly increased the cardiac and metabolic efforts involved during competition. The game intensity may differ according to playing position, being greatest in guards. Training programs should reflect these demands placed on players during competitive match- play.
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