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Game schedule congestion affects weekly workloads but not individual game demands in semi-professional basketball
To quantify and compare workloads encountered by basketball players during individual games played across 1-, 2-, and 3-day periods in the same week, and during weeks where 1, 2, and 3 games are scheduled. Eight semi-professional male players were monitored. External workload was determined as absolute and relative (·min-1) PlayerLoad (PL), and total and high-intensity jumps, accelerations, decelerations, and changes of direction (COD). Internal workload was determined as absolute and relative summated heart rate zones (SHRZ), session-rating of perceived exertion (sRPE), and RPE. Game workloads were tabulated considering the order in which they were scheduled weekly (game 1, 2, or 3), and each week considering the number of games scheduled (1, 2, or 3 games). Analysing weekly workloads, duration was higher during 3-game than 1- and 2-game weeks (P <0.05, ES = 6.65-18.19). High-intensity decelerations and COD were higher during 3-game than 1-game weeks (P <0.05, ES = 1.26-1.55). Absolute PL, jumps, accelerations, decelerations, COD, and high-intensity jumps and accelerations were higher during 3-game than 1- and 2-game weeks (P <0.05, ES = 0.69-2.63). Absolute SHRZ and sRPE were higher during 3-game than 1- and 2-game weeks (P <0.05, ES = 0.86-2.43). Players completed similar individual game workloads regardless of the number of games played on consecutive days in the week. Workloads were similar during 1- and 2-game weeks, while the addition of a third game significantly increased the overall weekly workloads encountered.