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Thread: Question about fatigue for college basketball players

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    Question about fatigue for college basketball players

    There has been discussion about how the Bears just "ran out of gas" this year. While I am a huge Cal Basketball fan, it's a sport I've never played competitively. I have, however, played other competitive sports, and was a D-1 athlete in college (admittedly 20 years ago).

    Can someone who has played high level competitive basketball comment on the fatigue issue? My perception is that these are 18-22 year olds with access to top level training programs and coaches who are playing 2 games per week. Is it a stretch to think that fatigue should not be such a big issue, even if they are playing 35+ minutes per game as several of our starters were asked to do?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2020bear View Post
    There has been discussion about how the Bears just "ran out of gas" this year. While I am a huge Cal Basketball fan, it's a sport I've never played competitively. I have, however, played other competitive sports, and was a D-1 athlete in college (admittedly 20 years ago).

    Can someone who has played high level competitive basketball comment on the fatigue issue? My perception is that these are 18-22 year olds with access to top level training programs and coaches who are playing 2 games per week. Is it a stretch to think that fatigue should not be such a big issue, even if they are playing 35+ minutes per game as several of our starters were asked to do?
    As I understand it the issue is the wear and tear on their legs (quads and then all the ligaments in knees, ankles, etc). After a while they just are done which means no lift which means your jumpers are short and which makes it hard to make the lateral quick moves you gotta have to defend guys.

    Put another way. Think of all the guys that are FANTASTIC in college or HS that go to the NBA. It is not uncommon that they hit a wall at about game 50/60 when they are asking their bodies to do something they haven't done before....or the brutal outcome of NBA games when one team is playing its 3rd in 6 days.

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    SCT is right about the legs. It's not the effort expended so much as the pounding from running/jumping on a hard floor.

    Also, and perhaps more important is the mental fatigue. basketball is a more continuous sport than baseball or football, for instance, and the mental effort required to not "take a play off" or concentrate on all the aspects of a fluid play on defense is taxing; it is very difficult to stay "up" for an entire season.

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    The flaw in the fatigue "excuse" is that most teams get most of their minutes from 7 or 8 players just as we do. Our mileage on key players might be marginally higher than some (or most), but it isn't exceptionally out of line. For any given individual, added to nicks and dings that accumulate, it might be a significant factor (it was stated during the USF fiasco that Crabbe was having injury/illness issues), but everyone faces these things at this time of year. The drop-off in efficiency by Cobbs, Jorge and others hurt but, IMO, our problems were more tied to a weak bench than overwork of the starters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 59bear View Post
    The flaw in the fatigue "excuse" is that most teams get most of their minutes from 7 or 8 players just as we do. Our mileage on key players might be marginally higher than some (or most), but it isn't exceptionally out of line. For any given individual, added to nicks and dings that accumulate, it might be a significant factor (it was stated during the USF fiasco that Crabbe was having injury/illness issues), but everyone faces these things at this time of year. The drop-off in efficiency by Cobbs, Jorge and others hurt but, IMO, our problems were more tied to a weak bench than overwork of the starters.
    I just think to try to disaggregate the contribution of those interactive variables is impossible without a lot more data than any of us wants to go and collect. (how about THAT for the quality of discussion on a sports board for an elite university?;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by socaltownie View Post
    I just think to try to disaggregate the contribution of those interactive variables is impossible without a lot more data than any of us wants to go and collect. (how about THAT for the quality of discussion on a sports board for an elite university?;-)
    Well, this ain't Shaggy Bevo, that's for sure!

    I also agree with your point about the variables: To what extent are we talking about nagging injuries versus simply pure fatigue... Are the players intelligently practicing and training during the season? (Are they getting time to recover? Do they continue strength training throughout the season?)

    That said, I DISAGREE that pure fatigue was the major factor in our late season demise. As the OP alluded to, top, well-conditioned athletes who average 20 years of age should be able to play 35 minutes a game, twice a week (Yes, I am taking practice and other conditioning into account, as long as it's designed to compliment what goes on in the games.).

    Three games in three days, like in the conference tournament, would doom a team like ours, but not regular-season conference play or NCAA Tournament play.
    Last edited by Big C_Cal; 03-16-2012 at 03:28 PM.

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