The relative importance of open- and closed-skill agility performance for selection as a starter in adult male basketball players
Purpose: Open-skill agility qualities have yet to be described in adult male basketball players. Further, the importance of open- and closed-skill agility for team selection remains unknown. Thus, this study aimed to: (a) describe the open- and closed-skill agility of adult male basketball players and (b) compare these properties between starting and non-starting players. Methods: A cross-sectional between-group design was used. Six starting (mean 6 SD: playing time,30.1 6 8.8 min; age, 30.5 6 4.8 yr; height: 192.1 67.7 cm; body mass: 100.5 6 15.0 kg; V_ O2max, 48.4 66.6 mL$kg21$min21) and 6 non-starting (4.3 6 3.6 min;21.3 6 5.0 yr; 185.7 6 7.4 cm; 94.4 6 17.9 kg; 50.6 6 3.9mL$kg21$min21) state-level basketball players completed multiple trials for the Change of Direction Speed Test (CODST) and Reactive Agility Test (RAT). Results: No statistically significant between-group differences were evident for CODST movement time (starters: 1.652 6 0.047 s; non-starters:1.626 6 0.040 s, p = 0.68; effect size = 0.24) or RAT decision-making time (starters: 110.7 6 11.0 ms; non-starters:147.3 6 14.2 ms, p = 0.08; effects size = 1.18). Starters possessed significantly faster RAT movement times than nonstarters (2.001 6 0.051 s vs. 2.182 6 0.040 s; p = 0.02; effect size = 1.61). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that closed skill agility properties are similarly developed in starting and non-starting players. In contrast, facets of open-skill agility performance such as anticipation, visual scanning, pattern recognition, and situational knowledge, might be central distinguishing qualities for team selection in basketball. Practical Applications: The development of perceptual and cognitive components of agility performance might be important in distinguishing starting from non-starting players in basketball. Basketball coaching and conditioning staff should incorporate sport-specific reactive training drills for all players during the annual conditioning plan.