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Tan, Z. S., Burns, S. F., Pan, J. W., & Kong, P. W. (2020). Effect of caffeine ingestion on free-throw performance in college basketball players. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, 18(2), 62-67.
Background: It is currently unclear whether pre-exercise caffeine ingestion can improve free-throw
shooting performance, a vital skill in basketball. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects
of caffeine on free-throw shooting performance in college-aged basketball players.
Methods: Twelve males (23.1 ± 1.9 years; 180.1 ± 8.8 cm; 77.1 ± 12.4 kg) and six females (22.0 ± 1.3
years; 169.4 ± 8.9 cm; 67.0 ± 11.1 kg) who competed at the college level ingested 6 mg per kg of body
mass of (a) caffeine or (b) maltodextrin (placebo) on two separate occasions in a random order. After 60
min, they performed five sets of a match-simulated basketball protocol comprising six sideline-tosideline
sprints on a standard basketball court followed by two free-throws after each set. The number of successful shots was counted. Heart rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) after each sprint set were also recorded.
Results: Caffeine ingestion did not improve overall free-throw success (caffeine = 6.1 ± 1.7 vs.
placebo = 5.5 ± 2.0; p = 0.34) compared with placebo across all five sets. There was no change in shooting accuracy across sprint sets in either trial despite significant increases in both heart rate and RPE.
Caffeine increased heart rate (p = 0.02) but had no effect on RPE (p = 0.57) across five sets compared
with placebo.
Conclusions: Ingestion of 6 mg of caffeine per kg of body mass did not improve basketball free-throw
performance. Free-throw performance did not deteriorate with increasing number of sprint sets.
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