Efficiency of Wheelchair Basketball Program in Development and Enhancement of Players’ Physical Skills

Фотографии: 

Kestutis Skucas
Lithuanian Sports University

Key words: wheelchair basketball program, physical skills development, wheelchair basketball players

 Introduction. Disabled sport was a means of rehabilitation for disabled persons. Nowadays disabled sport is acquiring a different status – it is accepted as every citizen’s right. New possibilities to take part in sports activities open up for disabled athletes. A lot of scientists researching the issue share such an opinion, emphasizing the importance of sport in the life of disabled persons [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10]. Disabled sport, especially wheelchair basketball, has been developing fast recently. More and more disabled persons participate in sports activities, disabled sports techniques are being developed, applied, modified and adapted. One of the goals in disabled sport is to reveal the limits of people’s abilities.  Nowadays wheelchair basketball is becoming more and more professional [7, 11, 12]. Most elite disabled wheelchair basketball players train really intensively, it becomes prestigious and honorable to win medals in world and Paralympic championships. Therefore, most countries pay a lot of attention to wheelchair basketball players’ preparation for Paralympic and other important international competitions. Wheelchair basketball players’ psychological, tactical, physical and special skills are constantly improving. Moreover, special sports aids are being developed [4, 5, 6, 11].

All this shows that disabled persons aim at a very high performance. However, wheelchair basketball players’ and teams’ results depend mostly on the physical skills and abilities level. This issue has not been researched much. Possibilities for applying various wheelchair basketball programs and their efficiency in developing wheelchair basketball players’ physical skills in order to achieve high results have not been researched much [11, 12]. Moreover, it is of a great importance to determine possibilities of applying wheelchair basketball programs in investigation of integral development of disabled persons’ physical abilities. This type of research reveals effectiveness and both strong and weak points of wheelchair basketball programs, which allows a deeper analysis and evaluation of wheelchair basketball players’ possibilities of participation in top competitions [11].  

The purpose of the study was to determine and evaluate the changes of wheelchair basketball players' physical skills applying wheelchair basketball program.

Materials and methods. Testing and experimental methods were applied in the research. The testing method aimed at determining changes of wheelchair basketball players’ quickness, velocity and anaerobic endurance applying the wheelchair basketball program. The quickness in 20m wheelchair driving at maximum speed, the velocity in managing obstacles for 1 min and the anaerobic endurance in wheelchair driving for 30 sec were tested. The experiment aimed at evaluating the efficiency of wheelchair basketball program in the change of physical skills of wheelchair basketball players with different disability. Initial testing on the control and experimental groups before the experiment, interim tests after four and eight weeks of the experiment, and final testing after the experiment were carried out. The subjects participated in a 12-week wheelchair basketball program. The program was developed on the basis of research by Brunelli and others (2006) and author of this article (Picture 1). The subjects in the experimental group had a two-hour training sessions four times a week on the basketball court. The subjects in the control group had irregular one-hour training sessions up to two times a week on the basketball court. The experiment was carried out from February to April in 2012.

Fig 1. Twelve-week wheelchair basketball program

 Contents of wheelchair basketball program

 Hours per week

Hours per 12 weeks

Development of Wheelchair Basketball Technique

1

12

Aerobic endurance

2

24

Anaerobic endurance

2

24

Quickness

1

12

Velocity

1

12

Strength endurance

1

12

23 wheelchair basketball players with different disabilities were investigated. The control group consisted of 11 physically disabled wheelchair basketball players, the experimental group consisted of 15 players. The research included amputees and persons with spinal cord injury. The age range of the subjects was from 19 to 45 years, wheelchair basketball playing experience – up to 2 years. In the experimental group wheelchair basketball players were divided into two groups according to the disability level: 7 players with severe disability (according to the international wheelchair basketball classification, 1-2.5 point players) and 8 players with light disability (according to the international wheelchair basketball classification, 3-4.5 point players). According to mathematical statistical analysis the results were processed using statistical data analysis program SPSS 17.0. The arithmetic mean and the margin of error in the experimental and control groups were calculated. The significance of differences between the groups was assessed using Student's test (t). The significance level when p <0.05.

Results. Research on the change of wheelchair basketball players’ quickness applying the wheelchair basketball program showed that the results of the experimental group were significantly better in comparison to the results of the control group after the experiment (p<0,05). However, the interim tests results of both the experimental and control groups were similar (Picture 2)

Fig. 2. Change in wheelchair basketball players’ quickness

Tests

Results in control group  (seconds)

Results in experimental group  (seconds)

Prior to experiment

7,3±0,51

7,2±0,04

After a month

7,2±0,36

6,9±0,25

After two months

7,0±0,32

6,5*±0,15

After experiment

7,1±0,35

6,2*±0,12

* – statistically significant difference (p<0,05) among values of control and experimental groups.

The research showed the greatest improvement of the results after the experiment (p<0,05).  The interim tests results comparing agility changes of the experimental and control groups were similar (Picture 3).

Fig. 3. Change in wheelchair basketball players’ agility

Tests

Results  in control group  (times)

 Results in experimental group (times)

Prior to experiment

14,8±0,63

14,9±0,12

After a month

14,9±0,46

15,3±0,14

After two months

15,0±0,26

16,1±0,11

After experiment

15,1±0,37

18,2*±0,02

* – statistically significant difference (p<0,05) among values of control and experimental groups.

According to the research results, anaerobic endurance of the experimental group improved after the experiment. After two month and at the end of the experiment the anaerobic endurance results in the experimental group were higher in comparison to the results in the control group (Table 4). The wheelchair basketball program had a different effect on changes in quickness, agility and anaerobic endurance skills of wheelchair basketball players in the experimental group in the aspect of disability: quickness and anaerobic endurance results of players with severe disability improved in eight weeks, agility results – in twelve weeks, while the results of all the physical skills of players with light disability improved in eight weeks. The results in the control group did not change.

  Table 4. Change in physically disabled wheelchair basketball players’ anaerobic endurance

Tests

Results in control group 

Results in experimental group

Prior to experiment

82,3±1,03

82,5±0,62

After a month

83,2±0,96

85,7±0,45

After two months

83,0±0,32

92,4*±0,28

After experiment

8,4±0,85

98,2*±0,53

* – statistically significant difference (p<0,05) among values of control and experimental groups.

Discussion. Developing physical skills is a very important part of preparing for wheelchair basketball competitions. The development level of disabled wheelchair basketball player has a great influence on the final results and future athlete’s perspective of the disabled person. Physically disabled persons have difficulty moving and have to adjust to a new way of moving around. It is necessary to reorient, acquire new knowledge and wheelchair control skills, which takes time [3, 8, 9]. The results of this research coincide with results of other researches proving that it takes time and special attention to develop wheelchair basketball players’ physical skills [2]. According to the results of this research, quickness and anaerobic endurance results improved in eight weeks. Agility results improved in twelve weeks.

Quickness refers to the ability to perform movements quickly and as many movements in a certain period as possible, and it is essential in wheelchair basketball. Thus, the fact that the wheelchair basketball program had a positive effect on quickness results is highly relevant. However, the improvement took time. This fact does not coincide with results of other researchers [2] investigating changes in disabled wheelchair basketball players’ quickness.  The researchers assert that a significant improvement in quickness can be achieved in four weeks of training. Such a difference in the results could be explained by the fact that the recent research included a complex development of several physical skills, and more time and attention was devoted to aerobic and anaerobic endurance features. Moreover, the contingent of the research could have also influenced the results as the research included wheelchair basketball players with different disabilities.

Anaerobic endurance refers to the ability to perform intense work without oxygen, and it is a very important feature in wheelchair basketball. This physical feature enables the disabled wheelchair basketball player to seek for maximum results on the basketball court in shorter, medium and longer distances. The research results show that the wheelchair basketball program improved anaerobic endurance of disabled wheelchair basketball players, however, obvious improvement in comparison to the control group was observed only in eight weeks of training.

Agility in wheelchair basketball refers to the ability to perform movements quickly and precisely in constantly changing situations on the court. The research results show improvement of agility of wheelchair players’ with light disability in a short time, while the improvement of agility of wheelchair players with severe disability was observed only in twelve weeks. The results coincide with the results of other researches [2, 8].    

The research gives evidence to the importance of organizing similar events in which different means with complex effect on improving physically disabled wheelchair basketball players’ quickness, agility and anaerobic endurance would be applied methodologically and systematically, which would improve the above mentioned physical skills.

CONCLUSIONS

1. The wheelchair basketball program improved wheelchair basketball players’ quickness, agility and anaerobic endurance skills.

2. The wheelchair basketball program had a different effect on changes in quickness, agility and anaerobic endurance skills of wheelchair basketball players in the experimental group in the aspect of disability:

  • quickness and anaerobic endurance results of players with severe disability improved in eight weeks;
  • agility results – of players with severe disability improved in twelve weeks;
  • physical skills of players with light disability improved in eight weeks.

3. The physical skills of the control group players did not change.

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