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Relationship between physical fitness and gamerelated statistics in elite professional basketball players: Regular season vs. playoffs


Basketball has been described as an intermittent sport that is physically very demanding, requiring players to frequentlyrepeat bouts of intense actions (sprinting, shuffling, jumping) with jogging, walking, or short periods of recovery1,2. Thus, elite basketball players show specific anthropometric3 and physical performance characteristics4 that can affect their game strategy and, consequently, their success in competitions. Therefore, a certain level of physical fitness is essential to the correct execution of a technique as well as to sustain the technical–tactical regimens required to achieve a high performance level. Trainers and coaches consider physical assessments and analyses of the technical–tactical performance of a team to be essential for successful improvements. However, it remains unclear how physical fitness is related to technical performance in elite basketball players. Game-related statistics have been used worldwide for analyses of technical performances during games, and there are various criteria that define each indicator in order to ensure the objectivity of the observations and their quantification. For instance, in basketball, the most winning teams are considered those with higher numbers of successful free-throws, rebounds, and steals, and opponent’s turnovers. On the other hand, few studies have focused on professional players during a competitive season, analyzing their anthropometric and physical adaptations in relationship with game-related statistics2,9-11. Particularly, no publications that have analyzed the performance of players in two distinct moments of the competition phase, i.e. regular season and playoffs, are available. A study that compared the physical (type of movements), physiological, and tactical demands of an elite under-18 Australian basketball team (n = 8 players) noted that these demands were more pronounced during an official competition than in a friendly tournament12. Nevertheless, the study did not seek to identify relationship between the several variables and performance in the two competition types. Given the expected effects over a season of training and competitions, are physical fitness alterations accompanied by changes in the technical performance of the game in elite players? Analyzing these variables can help the understanding of the relationship between physical fitness and technical performance in elite professional basketball players; moreover, such knowledge can possibly direct their training programs in future seasons. Thus, the objective of this study was to verify the relationship between of anthropometric and physical performance variables with the technical performance of elite professional basketball players. In agreement with previous publications, we hypothesized the presence of significant correlations of anthropometric and physical performance variables with the majority of game-related statistics at different times of the competition.

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Académico y técnico
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Estudio académico

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