The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance published a few days ago our latest research dedicated to 3 X 3 basketball entitled ‘A Systematic Review on the Physical, Physiological, Perceptual and Technical-Tactical Demands of Official 3 X 3 Basketball Games’. This is a systematic review of the scientific literature aimed at defining the physical, physiological, perceptual and technical-tactical demands of basketball players during 3 × 3 basketball games. The research was conducted thanks to the collaboration of several researchers working in Italy and Spain: Pierpaolo Sansone and Daniele Conte from the Catholic University of Murcia, Antonio Tessitore from the University of Foro Italico in Rome, Davide Ferioli, athletic trainer of New Basket Brindisi, and Ermanno Rampinini, operations director of the Mapei Sport Research Centre.

Basketball is one of the most popular team sports in the world and became part of the Olympic Games in 1936. In addition to the classic 5 X 5 formula, the version involving a smaller number of players (3 per team) and the use of a single basket has been enjoying increasing success lately. The first official 3 X 3 tournament was organised by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 2010 and since the last Tokyo 2020 Games it has been recognised as an Olympic discipline.

Analysing what happens in men’s and women’s tournaments, the profile of game performance appears similar between the two sexes, with slight differences between the preliminary and final stages of the tournaments. Among the technical-tactical indicators, there are some that have a greater influence on the likelihood of winning games (e.g. shooting effectiveness particularly from distance, defensive efficiency and fewer substitutions).

3 X 3 basketball games have a very intermittent profile (1:1 work-rest ratio), a total duration of ∼15 minutes and are characterised by short ball possessions (6-8 s). In the course of the game, there is considerable physical (20-30 accelerations, 30-40 decelerations, 60-90 changes of direction and 20-25 jumps per game) and physiological (lactate accumulation in the blood ∼6.2 mmol/L) effort.

It is therefore a physically demanding sport, characterised by fast-paced play and specific tactical constraints. The analysis conducted provides useful information for the optimisation of the training process and thus useful for performance improvement, as well as important references for player selection and talent identification.

To learn more, we invite you to read the article in its extended version.