Friday, March 13, 2009
Physiological Demands of College Basketball
Were you one of the lucky hoop fans to witness the historic 6 OT game against #4 UConn and #20 Syracuse at Madison Garden last night? I was! The game started at 9:36 and finished about 1:20 AM - almost four hours of non-stop action! Syracuse did not lead in any of the first 5 over times and ended up winning 127-117. I watched the game in amazement - as more and more players started to run out of fuel and began to foul out in OT - except the guard play continued to improve. It seemed the two guards - AJ Price of UConn (33 pts 10 assts.) and Jonny Flynn (34 pts and 11 assts.) of Syracuse were not "victims of the fatigue factor" like the other players - especially the bigger players. It was amazing to watch them as they kept shooting and driving to the hoop with such explosiveness and with such "fresh legs" while everyone else seemed to be effected by fatigue (i.e. lactic acid build-up). Their conditioning level was amazing - especially Flynn who played 40 minutes the night before vs. Seton Hall and ended up logging 107 minutes between both games! You can really tell just how tired a player is when they are at the foul line - and the Syracuse team usually shoots about 63% from the line as a team but last night they were hitting at a 78% clip with Flynn shot 16/16 from the line and Price was 10/12 from the line. The three players that talllied more than 60 mins. in the game - were all guards. The physiological demands of basketball can at times be grueling - 50% of your conditioning needs to come from a good aerobic base while 50% comes from anaerobic conditioning (sprinting/jumping). These are two metabolic pathways that need to be trained differently. These particular guards, who were smaller in stature (6' to 6' 2" and 180 and 181 lbs respectively) compared to their bigger teammates are definitely the fittest on their respective teams. As Price sits out the next game - we will see just how fit Flynn and his teammates really are, as they advance to the next round of the Big East Championship. I had difficulty just getting off the couch at 1:30 to go upstairs and go to sleep - best of luck to Flynn and teammates - you better starting "fueling up" now!!