Research into defense, plyometrics, and small-sided games in basketball

I read on an Internet forum that I “make up my own studies” and publish them. I decided to post the links to the papers from my made-up studies to allow anyone interested to find them easily. While admittedly not from the most authoritative journals in kinesiology and exercise science, these are published in peer-reviewed journals. Links to the papers and abstracts appear below.

The Effects of Frontal- and Sagittal-Plane Plyometrics on Change-of-Direction Speed and Power in Adolescent Female Basketball Players


Plyometrics is a popular training modality for basketball players to improve power and change-of-direction speed. Most plyometric training has used sagittal-plane exercises, but improvements in change-of-direction speed have been greater in multi- direction programs. Purpose: To determine the benefits of a 6-wk frontal-plane plyometric (FPP) training program compared with a 6-wk sagittal-plane plyometric (SPP) training program with regard to power and change-of-direction speed. Methods: Fourteen female varsity high school basketball players participated in the study. Multiple 2 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVAs were used to determine differences for the FPP and SPP groups from pre-intervention to post-intervention on 4 tests of power and 2 tests of change-of-direction speed. Results: There was a group main effect for time in all 6 tests. There was a significant group × time interaction effect in 3 of the 6 tests. The SPP improved performance of the countermovement vertical jump more than the FPP, whereas the FPP improved performance of the lateral hop (left) and lateral-shuffle test (left) more than the SPP. The standing long jump, lateral hop (right), and lateral-shuffle test (right) did not show a significant interaction effect. Conclusions: These results suggest that basketball players should incorporate plyometric training in all planes to improve power and change-of-direction speed.

Task Complexity and Jump Landings in Injury Prevention for Basketball Players


The prevalence of injury prevention programs continues to increase, but the injury rates remain constant. These programs use a block practice schedule and closed-skill exercises, but games are random and involve open skills. To improve the efficacy of neuromuscular training programs and trend the injury rate downward, these programs should incorporate motor learning theory. By incorporating more random variable practice, adding complexity to exercises, and lessening the reliance on the visual system for feed-forward motor control, athletes would be prepared better to handle the stresses of the game activities.

Comparison of Physical Activity in Small-Sided Basketball Games Versus Full-Sided Games


Organized youth sports leagues attempt to meet many goals. Three primary needs for a youth sports league are to meet the participants’ desires, provide quality learning experiences, and develop the competencies needed for continued participation. Possessing the ball, shooting more, and being more involved with a team’s offense lead to more enjoyment and feelings of competence. Therefore, increasing the involvement of each player through more ball contacts should be a goal of youth sports leagues. Twelve male basketball players (age=15) from one high-school basketball team participated in this study. This study used paired t-tests to examine the differences between three-on-three basketball games and five-on-five basketball games that lasted for eight minutes in terms of average heart rate, moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, vigorous intensity activity, and ball contacts. There were no significant differences between average heart rate, moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity, or vigorous intensity activity in the two conditions, but there were significantly more ball contacts on average in the three-on- three games. These results suggest that three-on-three leagues may be an appropriate sport for the initial exposure to basketball for youth players.

A Comparison of the Drop Step and Hip Turn Techniques for Basketball Defense


Change-of-direction speed (CODS) is an important quality to performance in multi-direction sports. The purpose of this study was to examine two methods used by basketball players to change directions when playing defense to see if one technique was faster than the other. Within basketball, there are two commonly taught methods of changing directions when playing defense: the drop step and the hip turn. Fourteen female college basketball players participated in this study. The study used a 2×2 (movement x direction) within-subjects repeated measures ANOVA to analyze the average differences between the time to change directions using a drop step compared to a hip turn. There was a significant difference between the two techniques in a novel test, with the hip turn faster than the drop step (F = 117.568, p < .0001). These results suggest that the hip turn compared to the drop step may be a quicker means of changing directions for female basketball players when playing defense.

The Relationship between Change of Direction Speed in the Frontal Plane, Power, Reactive Strength, and Strength


Change-­of-­direction speed (CODS) is an important quality to performance in multi-­direction sports. The relationship between CODS in the frontal plane and power, strength, and reactive strength is largely unstudied. Twenty-­three male college students participated in this study. The study used a Pearson’s product-­moment correlation to measure the relationship between CODS, power, strength, and reactive strength. A lateral shuffle test was used as the measure of CODS. A lateral hop for distance was used as the measure of power in the frontal plane. A countermovement vertical jump test was used as the measure of power in the sagittal plane. A depth jump was used as the measure of reactive strength in the sagittal plane. A 3RM squat test was used as the measure of strength. There was a moderate relationship between the lateral shuffle test and the lateral hop (r =.541, p = .008 and r =.567, p = .005), but no significant relationships with the countermovement vertical jump, depth jump, or squat test. These results suggest that power should be trained in all planes to improve CODS performance in multi-­direction sports, and that CODS should be trained in its sport-­specific context.

The Relationship Between Lateral Movement and Power in Female Adolescent Basketball Players


Purpose. Lateral movement is an important quality to performance in basketball. The relationship between lateral movement as measured by a side-step test and power as measured by a lateral hop and vertical jump is largely unstudied. Methods. Female adolescent basketball players (n = 51) participated in this study. The study used a Pearson’s product-moment correlation to measure the relationship between the lateral side-step test (LST), countermovement vertical jump (CMVJ, and lateral hop (LH). Results. There was a moderate relationship between LST and LH (r = .487 to .626, p < .001), and a small relationship between the LST and CMVJ (r = .279, p = .048 to .309, p = .028). There was a moderate significant relationship between CMVJ and LH (r = .370, p = .008 and r = .441, p = .001). Conclusions. These results suggest that the plane of movement affects the relationship of power and lateral movement in adolescent female basketball players.

The Reliability and Validity of Various Lateral Side-Step Tests


The ability to change directions, cut, and move quickly is paramount to success in basketball. Lateral shuffling movements or side-steps are common in basketball, but few tests incorporate these movements in measures of change-of-direction speed. Furthermore, no reliability or validity information has supported the most popular test, the Edgren Side-Step Test, and the procedures for the Edgren Test have been inconsistent. This study examined 4 lateral shuffle tests (LST), which combined different distances (8 feet and 12 feet) and durations (6 seconds and 10 seconds). All 4 conditions of the LST had very good internal consistency as the Cronbach’s α for each was above 0.889. All 4 conditions had very good test-retest reliability as the ICC (3,1) for each was above 0.930. None of the 4 conditions was found to have a significant relationship with a 20m sprint, whereas the 8×10-LST, r =-0.640, p = 0.046 and the 8×6-LST, r =-0.648, p = 0.043 had a moderate negative relationship with the Hexagon Agility Test. No condition was found to be a discriminator between recreational and competitive basketball players. Based on the results, the LST-8×6 and LST-8×10 appear to be valid and reliable tests for measuring change -of-direction speed.

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, The 21st Century Basketball Practice

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