Some Recent Research for Basketball Training & Off-Season Programming

Below are a couple recently published studies which may have some insight for coaches as they train their players and plan their annual training schedules:

Abstract. These results indicate that a SP [specialized basketball training group] basketball training program, performed exclusively on-court was as effective as a MX [mixed basketball plus conditioning training group] training program in terms of aerobic and anaerobic fitness improvement. Furthermore, the decrease of the total on-court training time in the MX group resulted in a tendency for a smaller improvement of basketball technical skills. In conclusion, both SP and MX training are equally effective in order to limit and/or reverse the detraining effects that occur during the off-season in basketball.
Bogdanis, G.C., Ziagos, V., Anastasiadis, M., & Maridaki, M. (2007). Effects of two different short-term training programs on the physical and technical abilities of adolescent basketball players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10, 2, p. 79-88.

Take away: The results of this study showed that training only on court doing fundamental basketball drills was as effective as a mixed training program that included more traditional conditioning activities in terms of maintaining aerobic and anaerobic fitness in a four-week training program. The on-court basketball activities of the mixed training group were shortened by 20-40% to allow time for circuit training to focus on lower and upper-body strength. The sessions for each group lasted 100 minutes. Based on this study, spend the extra time practicing skills on court rather than reduce on-court time to perform a simple circuit of body-wight exercises.

Abstract. It is unclear if increases in 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in quarter squats result in higher gains compared with full depth squats in isometric force production and vertical jump performance. The aim of the research projects was to compare the effects of different squat variants on the development of 1RM and their transfer effects to Countermovement jump (CMJ) and squat jump (SJ) height, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and maximal rate of force development (MRFD). Twenty-three women and 36 men (mean age: 24.11 ± 2.88 years) were parallelized into 3 groups based on their CMJ height: deep front squats (FSQ, n = 20), deep back squats (BSQ, n = 20), and quarter back squats (BSQ¼, n = 19). In addition, a control group (C, n = 16) existed (mean age: 24.38 ± 0.50 years). Experimental groups trained 2 d·wk−1 for 10 weeks with a strength-power block periodization, which produced significant (p ≤ 0.05) gains of the specific squat 1RM. The FSQ and BSQ attained significant (p ≤ 0.05) elevations in SJ and CMJ without any interaction effects between both groups (p ≥ 0.05). The BSQ¼ and C did not reveal any significant changes of SJ and CMJ. The FSQ and BSQ had significantly higher SJ scores over C (p ≤ 0.05). The BSQ did not feature any significant group difference to BSQ¼ (p = 0.116) in SJ, whereas FSQ showed a trend toward higher SJ heights over BSQ¼ (p = 0.052). The FSQ and BSQ presented significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher CMJ heights over BSQ¼ and C. Posttest in MVC and MRFD demonstrated no significant changes for BSQ. Significant declines in MRFD for FSQ in the right leg (p ≤ 0.05) without any interaction effects for MVC and MRFD between both FSQ and BSQ were found. Training of BSQ¼ resulted in significantly (p ≤ 0.05) lower MRFD and MVC values in contrast to FSQ and BSQ. Quarter squat training elicited significant (p ≤ 0.05) transfer losses into the isometric maximal and explosive strength behavior. These findings therefore contest the concept of superior angle-specific transfer effects. Deep front and back squats guarantee performance-enhancing transfer effects of dynamic maximal strength to dynamic speed-strength capacity of hip and knee extensors compared with quarter squats.
Hartmann, H., Wirth, K., Klusemann, M., Dalic, J., Matuschek, C., & Schmidtbleicher, D. (2012). Influence of squatting depth on jumping performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(12): 3243–3261.

Take away: Do full squats, whether back squats or front squats, rather than quarter squats. Despite the specificity of quarter squats to basketball positions, the full squats showed greater improvement in jumping ability than the quarter squats.

Abstract. CMJ [Countermovement jump] is a predictor of RSA [repeated sprint ability] in elite basketball players. It seems that coaches and strength and conditioning professionals should devote additional time for explosive strength development in elite basketball players during preparatory period to enhance RSA performance.
Stojanovic, M.D., Calleja-González J., Milosevic, Z. & Mikic, M. (2012). Correlation between explosive strength, aerobic power and repeated sprint ability in elite basketball players. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 52(4):375-81.

Take away: Those athletes who jump higher, on average, perform better in repeated sprints. Therefore, more time should be spent in the preseason developing maximal jumping ability.

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