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Research Article, J Athl Enhancement Vol: 3 Issue: 4

The Role of Preceding Technical and Tactical Skills on Jump Shot Accuracy in Male and Female Basketball Players

Martha Argiriou1, Elissavet Rousanoglou2*, Konstantinos Boudolos2 and Theodoros Bolatoglou1
1Department of Sports Games, School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
2Department of Sport Medicine and Biology of Exercise, School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
Corresponding author : Elissavet Rousanoglou
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Athens, Ethnikis Antistasis 41, 172 37 Dafni, Greece
Tel: +210 7276090; Fax: +210 7276090
E-mail:[email protected]
Received: March 13, 2014 Accepted: June 11, 2014 Published: June 16, 2014
Citation: Argiriou M, Rousanoglou E, Boudolos K, Bolatoglou T (2014) The Role of Preceding Technical and Tactical Skills on Jump Shot Accuracy in Male and Female Basketball Players. J Athl Enhancement 3:4 doi:10.4172/2324-9080.1000157

Abstract

The Relationship between Competitive Experience and Performance in Skeleton

Preceding skill is often identified as a critical factor in jump shot (JS) accuracy, but research confirmation remains limited. Men’s superiority invites an assumption of gender differences regarding skills preceding a JS. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of preceding technical and tactical skill on JS accuracy among male and female basketball players. Notational analysis was applied to videotaped games (six top-ranking men’s and women’s teams, Greek National Basketball Championship, 2009–2010). Five technical skills (shooting distance, ball pick up, number of dribbles, hand of last dribble, motion of pass receiver, footwork) and four tactical skills (on ball screen, off ball screen, court sides of pass origin and destination, court areas of pass origin and destination) were examined. Preceding defensive pressure was also recorded.

Keywords: Gender differences; Team work; Field goal; On ball screen; Dribble

Keywords

Gender differences; Team work; Field goal; On ball screen; Dribble

Introduction

The jump shot is an important offensive basketball skill of high occurrence (over 60% of field shots during a typical game) [1,2]. However, its accuracy rate is lower than other shots [1], and relevant research shows that jump shot accuracy is negatively influenced by increased shooting distance [3,4] and by disruption of visual control [510]. Such temporally constrained situations, initiated by defenders, create unfavorable shooting conditions for offensive players. To mitigate this defensive pressure, attackers use their technical skills to achieve optimal tactical cooperation for successful shooting, highlighting the importance of studies that integrate technical and tactical skills in the investigation of shooting accuracy.
Gender differences have been identified as a major determinant of athletic performance; this effect becomes more pronounced when performance is compared under the same spatial and temporal constraints. For example, men’s greater body height [11] and jumping ability [12] makes it easier for them to throw the ball into the basket, and may increase their focus on higher (i.e., blocking) rather than lower level actions (i.e., stealing) relative to the floor. Men’s physical superiority, combined with their better performance in far aiming tasks [13], may increase their preference for 3-point shots [14] as against women’s preference for 2-point shots [15]. Men have a more evolved sense of intergroup competition than women [16], and they respond more strongly to intergroup conflict [17], which may account for a higher offensive intensity in their team work. Men’s advantageous offensive intensity is evidenced by a greater number of passes, facilitating higher game pace [15] and higher percentage accuracy [18]. Men’s teams are also distinguished by their higher percentages of blocks and lower percentages of steals [19]. The performance indicators that enable discrimination of winning and losing teams also vary according to gender: percentage of successful field shots and defensive rebounds relate strongly to outcome in men’s competitions [14], while the best discriminators between winning and losing women’s teams are percentage of successful 3-point shots and assists [18,20]. Regardless of gender, defensive pressure has a negative influence on shooting accuracy [1,2124]. For this reason, men’s better team cooperation [15,18] creates scoring opportunities without any active defensive presence—a situation that favours winning outcomes [25]. Overall, the research indicates lower levels of individual technique and offensive team work in women, which may give rise to differential usage of technical and tactical skills preceding a shot; but to our knowledge, there is little existing research investigating such gender differences.
The research on technical and tactical skills preceding a shot is limited, commonly focusing on the dribble and the pass [8,2123], with few studies on the screen [23] and the court areas of ball passing and receiving [26]. Among men, the percentage of accurate shots is greater when these are preceded by a pass rather than a dribble [8,21]. By comparison with amateurs, male pprofessional players are found to attempt a greater percentage of shots preceded by a pass than by a dribble [21]. The importance of the skill preceding a shot is already evident during the formative years of playing basketball, as winning junior teams achieve greater percentages of accurate 3-point shots when preceded by a pass than by a dribble, or by a screen than a pick and roll [23]. Less is known about women in this regard [8], but, as in men, the evidence suggests greater percentage shot accuracy when preceded by a pass rather than a dribble. However, this finding is restricted to experimental rather than real game conditions. Information is also scarce concerning the relation of pass orientation to shot accuracy: Courel et al. [26] found that the court areas of ball passer and receiver predict shot accuracy, favouring the assist pass directed from the perimeter to the paint (low and high post). In general, however, there are few detailed or integrated studies of how the wide range of preceding technical and tactical skills relates to shot accuracy in men and women players. Knowing how preceding technical and tactical skills predict shooting accuracy in men and women may facilitate maximization of accuracy through genderspecific diversification of training. Such information may also help the basketball coach to optimize tactical planning, both during training and in the course of a match. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of the preceding technical and tactical skills on jump shot accuracy in men and women.

Methodology

Participants
Data were obtained from all matches between the pairs of the six top ranking men’s and women’s teams during the 2009-2010 season of the Greek National Basketball Championship. Thirty men’s and 27 women’s matches (including overtime periods) were analyzed. Two overtime periods occurred in the men’s and the women’s matches, respectively. The players’ characteristics and games’ descriptives are provided in Table 1. The study was approved by the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and consent was obtained from the Greek Basketball Federation.
Table 1: Mean (SD) of the shooting players’ characteristics and games’ descriptives during the men’s 30 matches (15 from the 1st round & 15 from 2nd round) and the women’s 27 matches (15 from the 1st round & 12 from 2nd round), for the total of 1722 and 2062 attempted jump shots, respectively. The p values for the significance of gender differences are noted
Procedures
Videotaped matches (high definition digital format) were analyzed through systematic observation, using the Virtual Dub- MPEG2 1.5.10 video editor (developed by Avery Lee—General Public Licensed). Notational analysis [27] was used to identify technical and tactical skills preceding the attempted jump shots. These observed technical and tactical skills have been extensively used as indicators of shooting effectiveness [1,14,1821].
The relevant technical skills (Figure 1) were shooting distance, ball pick up, number of dribbles, hand of last dribble, motion of pass receiver, and footwork. The tactical skills (Figure 2) were on ball screen, off ball screen, court sides of pass origin and destination, and court areas of pass origin and destination. Variations within each skill defined the skill categories, as presented in Figures 1 and 2, for technical and tactical skills, respectively.
Figure 1: Schematic description for the technical skills and their categories.
Figure 2: Schematic description of the tactical skills and their categories.
Given the effect of defensive pressure on shooting accuracy [2125], the defensive pressure preceding the jump shot was also recorded. The degree of defensive pressure on the shooting player was based on the distance between the shooter and the defender at the moment of ball release [25], using the length of the upper extremity from shoulder to wrist raised at shoulder height (palm dorsally flexed) as a unit of distance. On this basis, four categories of defensive pressure were specified: 1) no pressure, when the defender was standing still or was two or more length units away from the shooter; 2) low to medium pressure, when the defender was moving towards the shooter but within two length units of the shooter at ball release (with his arms hanging down by his side); 3) medium to high pressure, when the defender was either within two length units of the shooter (with one or both hands on the ball), or when he initiated his jump after the shooter’s jump while being near the shooter (with one or both hands on the ball) and, when at ball release the defender’s arms were raised but below ball height; and 4) high pressure, when the defender was near the shooter (a distance of one length unit or less) with his hands at ball height.
The same expert technician observed all games. The technician was a graduate in Sports Sciences, had a minimum of ten years’ experience as a basketball coach, and was trained for this task. Before data extraction, inter-observer and intra-observer reliability was determined using the weighted kappa correlation coefficient [28]. Inter-observer reliability was tested against 3 other expert technicians, also with a minimum of ten years’ experience as basketball coaches, who each observed about 10% of the total matches (3 men’s and 3 women’s matches) [29]. To calculate intra-observer reliability, the technician who extracted the data of the study observed the 10% skill category, expressed as a percentage of the total attempted JS (JSATTEMPTED - % TOT-ATT); and accurate JS in each skill category, expressed as a percentage of the total accurate JS (JSACCURATE - % TOT-ACC) and as a percentage of the category’s total attempted JS (JSACCURATE - % CAT-TOT).
Statistical analysis
The significance of the gender difference in percentage of JSATTEMPTED - % TOT-ATT, JSACCURATE - % TOT-ACC, and JSACCURATE - % CAT-TOT was tested using a Custom Table analysis [31]. The significance of the relation between JS accuracy and each preceding technical and tactical skill was tested separately for men and women, using the Pearson chisquare (χ2) statistic yielded by cross tabulation analysis [32]. Adjusted residuals greater than 1.96 and lower than -1.96 indicated skill categories contributing to the significance of the relation between JS accuracy and the preceding skill, with positive or negative sign denoting that the observed percentage was greater or lower than expected, respectively [32]. If the cross-tabulation table included cells with an expected count less than 5, the contingent protocol used Fisher’s exact test instead of the Pearson Chi-square (χ2) [32]. The statistical analyses were performed using SPSS for Windows, version 21.0, and statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05.

Results

Overall, on total field shots, women attempted a greater JS percentage (62% and 53% of total field shots, in women and men, respectively), with no significant gender difference (p>0.05) in occurrence of accurate JS (38% of total field shots in both men and women). Overall, for technical (Table 2) and tactical (Table 3) skills, the JSACCURATE - % CAT-TOT did not differ significantly between genders, with the exception of the significantly greater percentage of the on ball screen by a third player in men, and when the pass was directed from the perimeter to the paint in women (Table 3). The detailed descriptive and statistical data for the examined percentages of JSATTEMPTED - % TOTATT , JSACCURATE - % TOT-ACC are also presented in Table 2 and Table 3, for technical and tactical skills, respectively. The presentation of gender differences in JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC includes only those of statistical significance. The significance of the relation between each skill and JS accuracy is shown with reference to the skill categories contributing to that significance.
Table 2: Technical skills: Descriptive data and statistics for the gender differences in JSATTEMPTED - % TOT-ATT (%AttTOT), JSACCURATE - % TOT-ACC (%AccTOT) and JSACCURATE - % CAT-TOT (%AccCAT) and statistics for the correlation of JS accuracy to each preceded skill in men (M) and women (W) basketball players.
Table 3: Low molecular weight PAI-1 antagonists.
Technical skills
Shooting distance: Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC in 3-point JS while women had greater JSATTEMPTED - % TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - % TOT-ACC in 2-point JS (inside and outside the paint) (p>0.05) (Table 2). Shooting distance was significantly related to JS accuracy in women only (p>0.05). The categories contributing to the significance of this correlation were the 2-point inside paint, and the 3-point, with greater and lower observed than expected percentages, respectively (Table 2).
Ball pick up: Women had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOTATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC in rebound or steal (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 2). Ball pick up was significantly related to JS accuracy in women only (p>0.05). The categories contributing to the significance of this correlation were the pass and the rebound or steal, both with greater observed than expected percentages (Table 2).
Motion of pass receiver: Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT in the moving category, while women scored higher in the standing category (p>0.05) (Table 2). Motion of pass receiver was significantly related to JS accuracy in women only (p>0.05) (Table 2). Both the moving and standing categories contributed to the significance of the relation, with greater and lower observed than expected percentages, respectively.
Number of dribbles: No significant gender difference was found for number of dribbles (p>0.05) (Table 2). Number of dribbles was not significant related to JS accuracy in either men or women (p>0.05) (Table 2).
Hand of last dribble: Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT when the last dribble was performed with the left hand, while for women it was greater when performed with the right hand (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 2). The hand of last dribble was not significant related to JS accuracy in either men or women (p>0.05) (Table 2).
Footwork: For men, JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC were significantly greater in stride stop, and for women in pivot (front and back), for men and women (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 2). Footwork was not significantly related to JS accuracy in either men or in women (p>0.05) (Table 2).
Tactical skills
On ball screen: Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC only when a screen was applied by a third player (p 0.05) (Table 3). Women had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOTATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC when no screen was applied and greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT when the screen was applied by a third player (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 3). The on ball screen was not significant related to JS accuracy, neither in men nor in women (p>0.05) (Table 3).
Off ball screen: Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOTATT and JSACCURATE - %CAT-TOT when a screen was applied by a third player and greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT when the screen was applied by the shooter (p>0.05) (Table 3). Women had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC when no screen was applied (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 3). The off ball screen was significantly related to JS accuracy only in men (p>0.05). The categories contributing to the significance of the relation were those of no screen and when the screen was applied by the shooter, with lower and greater observed than expected percentages, respectively (Table 3).
Court sides of pass origin and destination: No significant gender difference was found for the category of court sides of pass origin and destination (p>0.05) (Table 3). Court sides of pass origin and destination was significantly related to JS accuracy only in men (p>0.05). Both categories contributed to the significance of the relation, with lower (strong to weak) and greater (strong to strong) observed than expected count, respectively (Table 3).
Court areas of pass origin and destination: Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT in paint to perimeter and in perimeter to paint (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 3). Women had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %CAT-TOT in perimeter to paint, and greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC in paint to paint (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 3). The category of court areas of pass origin and destination was significantly related to JS accuracy in both men and women (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 3). In men, the categories contributing to the significance of the relation were those of perimeter to perimeter and paint to paint, with lower and greater observed than expected count, respectively (Table 3). For women, the categories contributing to the significance of the relation were those of perimeter to perimeter, perimeter to paint, and paint to paint, with lower, greater, and greater observed than expected count, respectively (Table 3).
Defensive pressure
Men had significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT and JSACCURATE - %TOT-ACC under low to medium pressure, and significantly greater JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT under high pressure (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 4). Both genders had similar JSATTEMPTED - %TOT-ATT (p ≤ 0.05) under no pressure, and under medium to high pressure (Table 4). In both men and women, defensive pressure was significantly related to JS accuracy (p ≤ 0.05) (Table 4). The categories contributing to the significance of the relation, in men as well as in women, were those of no pressure and high pressure, with greater and lower observed than expected percentages, respectively (Table 4). Medium to high pressure contributed to the relation in men only, with a greater observed than expected percentage (Table 4).
Table 4: Defensive pressure: Descriptive data and statistics for the gender differences in JSATTEMPTED - % TOT-ATT (%AttTOT), JSACCURATE - % TOT-ACC (%AccTOT) and JSACCURATE - % CAT-TOT (%AccCAT) and statistics for the correlation to JS accuracy in men (M) and women (W) basketball players.

Discussion

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of preceding technical and tactical skills on JS accuracy in male and female basketball players. The gender comparison revealed differences of attempted and accurate JS percentages associated with both technical and tactical skills. The results indicated that, in men, JS accuracy was related to tactical but not to technical skills while, in women, JS accuracy was predominantly related to technical skills.
Gender differences in technical skills
The significantly higher percentages of attempted 3-point JS in men than in women is in agreement with previous studies reporting that men prefer to attempt 3-point shots [21], probably because in that way they score more points for their team. The near-twofold relative frequency of attempted 2-point JS (inside and outside the paint) among women is also in agreement with previous findings [18,19]. Besides enhancing their individual contribution to overall team scoring, men’s preference for long distance shooting may be also associated with their physical superiority [11,12] as well as their better far aiming accuracy [13]. Women’s preference for shorter range shots is further confirmed by the within-categories comparisons, which show that women (but not men) achieve significantly higher accuracy as shooting distance decreases. Women’s preference and better accuracy in short range shooting may be attributed to their lesser physical capacity, as the shot requires less muscular strength in proximity to the basket because of the shorter flight trajectory. Gómez et al. [15] observe that women’s greater accuracy is probably associated with their focus on individual offensive actions (i.e., steals), because this allows them to shoot under lower defensive pressure.
Women’s greater use of JS preceded by rebounds or steals is in agreement with previous studies [15] showing that women prefer this technical skill for initiating fast-break offensive actions. This gender effect is probably determined by anthropometric differences that seem to configure game tactics: because men are taller [11] they have a higher center of gravity and may therefore be less focused on stealing the ball—an action that is closer to the floor. It is commonly held that women’s ineffective defense skills account for their higher percentages of offensive rebounds (because of the lower pressure applied by defenders). Indeed, Trninić et al. [33] report that the offensive rebound indicates poor defending that has not secured a defensive rebound.
In respect of footwork, there are also evident gender differences as men are more likely to precede JS by a stride whereas women are more likely to precede JS by a pivot (front and back). The stride stop can readily be linked to a player’s JS kinematics as it mimics normal running style and may help to maintain speed and momentum. The more frequent use of the stride stop in men offers the advantage of a quicker shooting action, which may also be linked to the faster paced game reported for men [15,34]. The more frequent use of pivoting by women may indicate a difficulty in controlling the speed and momentum allowed by a stride stop and a need to maintain dynamic balance by widening the base of support. Although there is no available kinematic information, it seems reasonable to assume that use of the pivot stop results in a slower shooting action overall, allowing opponents time to react defensively, making this choice less effective. Its preferential use by women may therefore be associated with a slower and less assertive response by their opponent
Gender differences in tactical skills
The analysis of gender differences in tactical skills again differentiated men’s and women’s usage of screen and court areas of pass origin and destination. Men attempt more JS preceded by a screen whereas women do not tend to screen, again possibly indicating women’s limitations in high intensity offensive team work. Bazanov et al. [35] determined an offensive intensity index that includes number of dribbles, passes, on ball screens, off ball screens, and time of ball possession in the offensive zone. The results of Bazanov et al. [35] showed significant differences between successful and non-successful offenses on this intensity index. This finding arguably corroborates the common assertion among basketball coaches that women players avoid the proactive physical contact required for use of the screen. Women’s avoidance of tactical approaches requiring a high level of conflict may be genetically explained by their lower sensitivity to intergroup competition [16] and lower responsiveness to intergroup conflict [17]. The use of on ball screens reduces ball possession effectiveness in women [36], suggesting that no screens and screens off the ball are better offensive tactics for women’s teams. However, this was not confirmed by the present findings, as the on ball screen comparisons did not yield any significant difference among screen variations (no screen, screen by a third player, and screen by the shooter). In men, the off ball comparisons among screen variations revealed that, where there was an off ball screen by a third player, accuracy was higher than with no screen. Together with the men’s greater accuracy when ball passing leads to a switch of court side, our results further support the tactical gender differences in favour of men, in the positive contribution of high intensity team work to JS accuracy.
The greater frequency of men’s JS preceded by an outside directed pass (to perimeter), and by an inside directed pass in women (to paint), are in agreement with observed preferences for long and short range shooting among men [21] and women [18,19] respectively. These results are consolidated by women’s greater percentage accuracy when the pass is directed to a court area closer to the basket, linking to variations in court areas of pass origin and destination. Men appear to “broaden” the court area covered by their tactical formation, creating advantageous time and space dynamics for the subsequent shooting action [37]. Such “broadened” tactical formations aim to generate free space inside the paint for the performance of an assist pass directed close to the basket and under defensive pressure [26]. However, these tactics also require greater muscular strength owing to the longer flight path of the ball in a passing or shooting action as well as faster ball circulation around the perimeter (a situation that may prove more difficult for women).
Relation of technical skills to JS accuracy
Among men, the insignificant relation between technical skills and JS accuracy most probably stems from the greater integration of their individual actions, which affords the basketball coach a greater variety of game strategies that can be effectively implemented by the players. High-level athletes perform motor programs in an automated fashion and are therefore able to focus on the cognitive requirements of a movement rather than its motor execution [38,39]. In the continuously changing situations of a basketball game, this undistracted cognitive processing may facilitate an expert player’s optimal shot selection and more elaborated team work [39]. A higher expertise level allows shooting under a more efficient “quiet eye” process of visual information [38], a term coined by Vickers [10] to characterize the visual fixation on the target identified as a critical element of aiming accuracy [5,6]. In women, the significant relation of JS accuracy to the way the ball is picked underlines the importance of the pass rather than the dribble for an accurate JS. These findings are in agreement with Ibanez et al. [22] and Oudejans et al. [8] who report a higher percentage of successful JS after a pass than after a dribble. It is worth noting that, for women, despite its relatively low occurrence, the JS preceded by a rebound or steal pick up contributed to the significant relation of JS accuracy to ball pick up. This might be explained by women’s greater use of offensive rebounds and steals [20] that facilitate shooting at proximity to the basket, but it may be also associated with the sudden change of expected schema realized during a rebound or steal, which induces the element of “surprise” in defenders. “Surprise” is described as a general interruption to the ongoing activity that directs attention to the surprising stimulus, enabling a response to the sudden environmental change [40]. This subjective experience of surprise may lead to a delay in execution of the required action by defenders [40], allowing attacking players to shoot under lower defensive pressure.
The importance for women of receiving the ball while already in motion is highlighted by the significant relation between the pass recipient’s movement and JS accuracy. Despite the women’s lower physical capabilities, this probably relates to the same spatial shooting constraints as also experienced by men. In line with previous studies, women in the present study were about 20 cm shorter than men [11]; even so, women’s shooting action aims at the same target height as men do. In a jump shooting action, the player tries to release the ball at the greatest possible height, necessitating a jump that will maximally displace the player’s body mass. Receiving a pass while moving rather than standing may compensate for women’s lower vertical jumping ability [12]. The preceding velocity provides a greater initial mechanical energy and greater vertical displacement, and therefore a greater ball release height. Releasing the ball at a greater height may favor visual control of the target, which is documented as a critical factor in jump shot accuracy [5-7,10].
Relation of tactical skills to JS accuracy
The importance of group tactical offensive behaviors in both men and women, such as screens on and off the ball, has been noted by previous authors. Gómez et al. [36] report that men’s and women’s teams show similar patterns, with a significant correlation between possession effectiveness and screens used during the middle thirty minutes of the game, but no such relationship during the last five minutes. For men, there was also a significant correlation with screens used during the first five minutes [36]. In the present study, the absence of any significant correlation between JS accuracy and the on ball screen (for both men and women) may be explained by its use for creative rather than executive offensive purposes [41]. In men’s teams, for most offensive plays, the on ball screen is applied at the beginning rather than at the end of the system, to disrupt the defensive balance and create the most favorable space-time dynamics for shooting, usually for a third player [41]. For both genders, their lower shot success when they do not use screens can be attributed to the greater defensive pressure and accompanying loss of extra space and time to play [36]. Comparing accuracy percentages within the screen categories, this was not verified here, with the single exception of a significant relation between JS accuracy and the off ball screen in men, when the shot is performed by the screener.
The significant relation of JS accuracy to court sides and areas of pass origin and destination aligns with Courel et al. [26], who found that the court areas of ball passer and receiver predicted greater shot accuracy when the assist pass is directed from the perimeter to the paint (low and high post). The orientation of the shooter with regard to the passer determines shooting accuracy, which is greater after a left or right pass reception than from a frontal pass [23]. The association between court areas of pass orientation and shot accuracy may possibly be due to enhanced visual control, insofar as the head and body orientation of the pass receiver with respect to the target are important for the stabilization of the head and eyes on the target [9]. Where fixation of eyes on the target (or “quiet eye” procedure [10]) is temporally constrained, this negatively affects the jump shot’s aiming accuracy [5-8]. When the pass switches court areas, the recipient is generally facing the basket—a body configuration that may favor pick up of the target’s visual information by allowing a better timed “quiet eye” procedure of longer duration [5]. At the same time, the opponent is generally not in a direct defensive position (i.e., helping position), which may influence the space and time dynamics [37,40] of motor organization for shooting. These results indicate that in tactical formations designed for shooting preceded by a change of court side or area, the coach should integrate spatial and temporal configurations that favor picking up the target’s visual information.
Relation of defensive pressure to JS accuracy
The decrease of JS accuracy under increased defensive pressure, in both men and women, accords with previous studies [21-25] that report degree of defensive pressure as crucial for the jump shot accuracy. The more pressing the defense, the greater the kinematic adjustments required to avoid distortion of the ball’s trajectory [24]. Defensive pressure may impose a temporal or spatial constraint on the target’s visual control: for example, the presence of a defender’s hand can disrupt visual control, and may induce a temporal constraint in motor programming for shooting [41]. Apart from the effect on shooting kinematics [24], the opponent’s negative influence on accuracy [1,21-24] may be a consequence of the distraction caused to cognitive processing [39], and may also produce decisional uncertainty about the optimal shooting option [42]. A gender difference in the decision to shoot is reflected in the significantly higher percentage of attempted JS under low to medium pressure by women than by men; conversely, men attempt more JS than women when under high pressure. By comparison with amateurs, teams at higher competitive levels attempt a greater proportion of shots under high defensive pressure, and a lower proportion under submaximal defensive pressure [21]. It therefore seems likely that the gender difference in shooting decision reflects the physical and tactical superiority of men, which in turn provides the psychological strength to confront high defensive pressure. This is clearly seen in adjusted residuals for the relation between the degree of defensive pressure and JS accuracy. The relation is significant in both men and women, but the adjusted residuals (greater than 1.96 in men only) clearly indicate differing gender behaviors under medium to high pressure, with more than expected JS observed in men but not in women. It is a common belief among both researchers [23] and coaches that when a player is unchallenged (without or with low pressure) he/she feels obliged to execute the shot—even more so if their team is behind— because of the greater expected efficacy. Gender-related variations in psychological disposition could therefore influence decision-making under pressure, with greater effects in women. Previous training influences this decisional process [43], and it would therefore be important to strengthen perceived control in the interests of increasing self-confidence and concentration, and to reduce women’s greater anxiety under higher pressure.
Overview of JS accuracy
Τhe present findings should be considered with reference to the characteristics of men’s and women’s teams described in Table 1. The higher scores in men’s matches, in combination with their fewer JS attempts, reflect men’s superiority in high intensity team work, in terms of more elaborated and more protracted offensive as well as defensive systems. Within the same spatial and temporal constraints imposed by the court dimensions, basket height, and rules, women can achieve similar accuracy percentages, but they appear to need a greater number of offensive actions, probably as a consequence of less sustained offensive team cooperation. Ibáñez et al. [43] conclude that game success is not dependent on how many opportunities the team has to score but rather on how well the team exploits current opportunities. The role of preceding skill, expressed through its relation to JS accuracy, may therefore provide more valuable information for gender diversification of training and game planning than any direct comparative examination of gender differences.
In conclusion, these results revealed differential effects of preceding technical and tactical skills on JS accuracy between male and female basketball players. In particular, the relation of technical and tactical skills to JS accuracy highlights how accuracy depends on tactical but not technical skills in men, and predominantly on technical skills in women. Narrowing these gender differences might enable higher performance in women, and the results of this study point to tactical skills as the “training window” for a winning advantage if women can master team work as effectively as men. This could be achieved through the improvement of women’s technical skills and their more effective integration with tactical skills. From a practical viewpoint, coaches might find these results useful for gender-specific diversification of training and better deployment of tactical strategy during a match.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the expert basketball coaches who participated in the reliability procedures of the notational analysis protocol

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