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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 66-73

Gait parameters, selected anthropometric variables, psychological status, and performance level among professional basketball players in Lagos

Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Date of Submission04-May-2022
Date of Decision16-Jun-2022
Date of Acceptance19-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication30-Aug-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashiyat Kehinde Akodu
Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, PMB 12003, Idi-Araba, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjsm.sjsm_9_22

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Introduction: Even though basketball is a popular sport all over the world, there is a paucity of data on gait, mental status, and the level of performance of basketball players compared to other types of sport.
Objectives: This study evaluated the correlation among gait parameters, selected anthropometric variables, psychological status, and performance level among professional basketball players.
Materials and Methods: Fifty (25 males and 25 females) professional basketball players were enrolled for this cross-sectional analytical study, with a mean age of 17.16 ± 2.87 years from a Basketball court in Lagos state. Gait parameters, psychological status, performance level, and anthropometric variables were evaluated with footprint method, Psychological Performance Inventory-Alternative, vertical jump height (HT) and tape measure. Data were analyzed using the Independent t-test and Pearson correlation coefficient at a significant level of P < 0.05.
Results: Significant correlation exist between gait parameters (stride length [STRL] [r = −0.306, P = 0.004], step length [STPL] [−0.272, P = 0.006], base of gait [BOG] [r = −0.169, P = 0.031]), and psychological status of female participants. Significant correlation exist between gait parameters and the anthropometric variables; Arm span: STRL (r = 0.527, P = 0.0001), STPL (r = 0.506, P = 0.0001), BOG (r = 0.302, P = 0.033), arm length: STRL (r = 0.539, P = 0.0001), STPL (0.529, P = 0.0001), hand span: STRL (r = 0.577, P = 0.0001), STPL (r = 0.448, P = 0.001), BOG (r = 0.281, P = 0.048) of the participants. Significant differences (P < 0.05) exist between the performance level Vertical Jump Test Standing HT (P = 0.001), Vertical Jump Test Jump HT (P = 0.0001), and BOG (P = 0.0001) of male and female participants.
Conclusion: Gait parameters have a significant influence on psychological status and some selected anthropometric variables of female professional basketball players. There was a difference between the level of performance and BOG of male and female participants.

Keywords: Anthropometric, basketball, depression, gait, vertical jump height

How to cite this article:
Akodu AK, Mbelu EN, Okafor UA. Gait parameters, selected anthropometric variables, psychological status, and performance level among professional basketball players in Lagos. Saudi J Sports Med 2022;22:66-73

How to cite this URL:
Akodu AK, Mbelu EN, Okafor UA. Gait parameters, selected anthropometric variables, psychological status, and performance level among professional basketball players in Lagos. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Dec 8];22:66-73. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2022/22/2/66/355194

  Introduction Top

Biomechanical researches in basketball have concentrated majorly on basic shooting techniques, playing variances between males and females and other features of players at the diverse level of skills.[1] Effort has been made to determine the predictors of vertical jump parameters by researchers, as a performance test, by variables such as the strength of the muscle, flexibility, stability, body composition, weight (WT), and jumping skills which training can change.[2],[3] In spite of the determinations of several researchers, a robust prediction model for vertical jump height (HT) in basketball players has not been determined which has made researchers to study several other variables[4] The results of a study by Newland,[5] using mental toughness skills were able to meaningfully describe some of the changes in the playing of basketball among college students. However, there was a weak correlation between the mental toughness scores and level of performance of basketball players, thereby contradicting prior research leading to the belief that most likely other controlling variables can influence performance in basketball players.

Gait analysis is a significant characteristic of human motion. Gait analysis aids the assessment, description, and quantification of characteristics of human motion.[6] It can be used to diagnose diabetic neuropathy, for rehabilitation purpose, and also in the assessment of stroke survivors and sport performance level.[7] It assists in the quantification of gait parameters which in turn helps in the quantitative investigation of biomechanical actions that occur while ambulating. Hence, analysis of gait patterns is a vital part of health diagnostics in some medical specialties such as sport and rehabilitation. Analysis of gait in sports assists in the improvement of poor performance in athletics on the field of play.[8] Gait analysis can offer solutions to many queries. For example, it can be used to assess general health status[9] or identify abnormalities that signify an underlying pathology.

Anthropometric variables such as WT and HT play a fundamental function in the performance of players in all sports. The HT of the player and length of the arm most importantly have a significant benefit in most sports. Furthermore, length of specific body parts has some substantial advantage in some certain sporting competitions.[10] Selected anthropometric variables such as body conformation have been linked with success in sporting events.[11] As well as body HT, arm span (AS), or muscle groups in basketball players and swimmers.[12]

Despite the global popularity of basketball, not enough research has been published regarding basketball practice, performance, gait, and anthropometric variables compared to other team sports. Therefore, this study, correlated gait parameters, psychological status, performance level, and anthropometric parameters among basketball players in Lagos.

  Materials and Methods Top


This cross-sectional analytical survey was carried out between September 2020 and October 2021. Fifty professional basketball players participated in this study with the sample size calculated using the Cochran formula, where Z = standard normal variate (at 5%), Type 1 error (P < 0.050) is 1.96, and P which is equal to 80.8% is the prevalence of basketball injuries based on previous study by Akodu et al.[13] The participants were selected from a basketball court in Anthony area of Lagos state using the purposive sampling technique. Male and female professional basketball players were included in this study while basketball players with a history of musculoskeletal deformities of the spine or lower extremities and with recent injuries were excluded. Consent to commence this research was gotten from all the participants before the study could start. While health research and ethics committee of the College of Medicine University of Lagos granted the approval (No: CMUL/HREC/12/20/794) to conduct the study. An explanation of the study objectives was given to the participants included in the study.


Permission was sought from the Chief Coach at the Basketball court and the objectives of the study were carefully described to the management including the details of the research procedures. Sociodemographic data such as age and sex were taken and documented while measurement of HT, WT, and calculation of BMI was done using the formula WT/HT2.

Assessment of gait parameters

Using the footprint method, participants were told to ambulate after applying paint on their feet. The participants dipped their feet in paint on a tray and were told to ambulate along a smooth straight 10 m long walkway with horizontal borders at a convenient speed, beginning with the right foot, and instructed to look forward and continue the same walking speed until the end of the cardboard. Only the five steps in the middle were assessed to dodge the variable steps connected with the initiation and termination of gait. The step length (STPL), stride length (STRL), and base of gait (BOG) were measured for quantitative gait analysis.

An assessment of distance parameters (STPL, STRL, and BOG) were achieved with a meter ruler and recorded in centimeters.[14],[15]

The STPL, measured in centimeters, was assessed from the geometrical heel center of the current footprint to the equivalent of the previous footprint on the opposite foot while measurement of STRL was initiated from the line of progression between the heel points of two repeated footprints of the same foot. This distance was free of a 10 m walkway.

The base of the gait was assessed as the spatial distance between the reference points of the two heels and the opposite ipsilateral line of progression.[14],[15]


A stride is the distance of one foot, as it touches the ground, and the same foot as it touches the ground a second time. A gait cycle encompasses all the activity that occurs in one STRL or from one heel strike to another. 1 stride = number of steps/2.

Stride Length

This is the distance between two consecutive floor contacts. It can also be seen as the linear distance along the line of progression representing how far the body has traveled in one gait cycle. It is sometimes referred to as cycle length and expressed in meters.

Psychological Performance Inventory Alternative

The psychological status of the participants was assessed by the Psychological Performance Inventory Alternative (PPI-A) questionnaire which was distributed to each participant to fill to enable the researcher to score and assess psychological status, thereby predicting the likely outcome of performance.

Vertical jump test

Before the performance of the vertical jump (VJ) test, participants engaged in a warm-up exercise for 3 min[16] that includes jogging and stretching of the lower limbs. The VJ test was achieved with a wall-mounted tape measure. The participants were requested to stand upright against the wall with their dominant side and their foot firmly on the floor[16] with hands raised up.

To measure their standing reach HT, the fingertips of the participants were marked with chalk powder with the instruction to mark the wall while jumping with their powdered fingertips as high as they can from a flatfooted spot.

The space between the initial mark on the wall (standing reach) and the highest mark on the wall is the participant's vertical jump HT in standing and was assessed with a measuring tape.[16]

Anthropometric variables

The following selected anthropometric variables of all the four limbs were assessed using a measuring tape to the nearest centimeter by palpation of the landmarks on the body while the participants are in a proper anatomical posture.

The femoral length was assessed by placing a tape measure from the greater trochanter to the lateral joint line of the knee.

Arm length (AL) measurement was taken from the top shoulder midpoint to the tip of the middle finger, and reading was recorded to the nearest 0.1 cm.[17]

AS was assessed, by asking the participant to stand with arms spread wide apart. Measurement was taken with a tape measure from the tip of the opposite middle finger to the opposite tip of the middle finger. The measurement was done without the surface of the skin being pressed, and no air underneath and recorded to the nearest 0.1 cm.[17]

Hand span (HS) was measured by asking the participant to open wide the palm, fingers spread. A tape rule was used to measure the space between the thumb and little finger.

Description of instrument

Psychological Performance Inventory Alternative

The PPI-A consists of 14 items across four different constructs. The PPI-A uses a 5-point likert scale ranging from 1 (almost never) to 5 (almost always).[18] Participants were advised to pick whichever response “best fits their description of the item as it relates to them in sport. The closed parameters of the 4 constructs are: determination, self- belief, positive cognition and visualization.” The higher the score the higher the mental toughness. Each item was summed to get the total mental toughness score. Factorial validity of the PPI–A measurement model is encouraging.

Data analysis

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (IBM SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) 21.0 version for Windows package program was used to perform the data analysis. Data were summarized with frequency, mean, and standard deviation. Independent t-test was used to compare the demographics of male and female participants in both groups, and Pearson correlation was used to determine the correlation between all the variables at the alpha level of 0.05.

  Results Top

Fifty participants, 25 female and 25 male basketball players were involved in the study. Fifty copies of psychological performance index-alternative questionnaire were distributed and returned with 100% response rate as all who filled the PPI-A questionnaire participated in the vertical jump HT test, and had their anthropometric variables and gait parameters measured.

The age range of the studied participants was between 14 and 30 years with a mean age of 17.16 ± 2.87 years [Table 1]. The total body WT ranged from 51.0 to 75.0 kg. The HT ranged from 1.42 to 1.89 m. The mean HT and WT of the participants were 1.74 m ± 0.11 m and 68.89 ± 10.90 kg [Table 1]. The mean body mass index (BMI) of the participants was 22.69 ± 3.22 kg/m2 [Table 1]. The anthropometric characteristics of the participants measured were AS, AL, HS, and femoral length. The mean AS, AL, HS, and femoral length were 1.84 m ± 0.13 m, 0.80 m ± 0.06 m, 0.22 m ± 0.04 m, and 0.48 ± 0.04 m, respectively [Table 1].
Table 1: Physical characteristics of the participants

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Comparison between psychological status, level of performance, and gait parameters of the male and female participants

The mean values of the psychological status of male and female participants were 55.28 ± 5.192 and 55.92 ± 9.686, respectively [Table 2], and no significant difference exist between psychological statuses of both sexes.
Table 2: Comparison of psychological status of male and female participants

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Significant difference exist (P = 0.001) in the AS of both sexes of the participants with a 95% confident interval of (0.05, 0.18) [Table 3]. A significant difference (P < 0.001) exists in the level of performance of male and female participants. The jump HT mean value of the male group was 2.79 ± 0.138 m, while the female group had a mean jump HT value of 2.59 ± 0.139 m [Table 4]. There was a significant difference (P < 0.0001) between the jump HT of both sexes of the participants.
Table 3: Comparison of the physical characteristics of the participants

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Table 4: Comparison of level of performance and gait parameters of male and female participants

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Gait parameters of both sexes of basketball players assessed were the STPL, STRL and base of support. The male group had a mean value of 1.27 ± 0.103 m, 0.63 ± 0.049 m, and 0.15 ± 0.010 m for the STRL, STPL, and the base of support of the participants [Table 4]. The mean values of the female group were 1.24 ± 0.112 m, 0.62 ± 0.057 m, and 0.13 ± 0.014 m for STRL, STPL and the base of support of the participants [Table 4]. There was a statistically significant difference (P < 0.0001) in only the base of support of the male and female basketball players.

Correlation between gait parameters, selected anthropometric variables, psychological status, and performance level of the participants

[Table 5] shows the correlation between gait parameters and level of performance of the participants. It was observed that significant positive correlation exist between the gait parameters and level of performance of the participants “Vertical Jump Test Standing HT (VJTSH)/STRL (r = 0.488, P = 0.0001), VJTSH/STPL (r = 0.469, P = 0.001), VJTSH/BOG (r = 0.299, P = 0.035), Vertical Jump Test Jump HT (VJTJH)/STRL (r = 0.399, P = 0.004), VJTSH/STPL (r = 0.382, P = 0.006), VJTSH/BOG (r = 0.306, P = 0.031)” [Table 5]. But no significant correlation exist between gait parameters STRL (r = −0.196, P = 0.172), STPL (r = −0.170, P = 0.237), BOG (r = −0.150, P = 0.299) and psychological status of the male participants. Similarly, no significant correlation exist, between psychological status and level of performance, VJTSH (r = 0.032, P = 0.1), VJTJH (r = −0.170, P = 0.237) of the participants. However, significant correlation exist between gait parameters (STRL, (r = −0.306, P = 0.004), STPL, (r = −0.272, P = 0.006), and BOG, (r = −0.169, P = 0.031) and psychological status in the female participants [Table 6]. Furthermore, between gait parameters and selected anthropometric variables of the participants, it was noted that with some gait parameters, there was significant correlation between HT/STRL (r = 0.479, P = 0.0001), HT/STPL (r = 0.479, P = 0.0001), WT/STRL (r = 0.377, P = 0.007), WT/STPL (r = 0.334, P = 0.018), AS/STRL (r = 0.527, P = 0.0001), AS/STPL (r = 0.506, P = 0.0001), AS/BOG (r = 0.302, P = 0.033), AL/STRL (r = 0.539, P = 0.0001), AL/STPL (r = 0.529, P = 0.0001), HS/STPL (r = 0.448, P = 0.001) [Table 7]. It was noted that psychological status of the participants had no significant correlation (P > 0.05) with selected anthropometric variables of the participants. It was noted that there was a positive significant correlation between performance level and selected anthropometric variables, Age/VJTSH (r = 0.445, P = 0.001) and VJTJH (r = 0.473, P = 0.001), HT/VJTSH (r = 0.844, P = 0.0001) except in the BMI, VJTSH (r = −0.053, P = 0.714), VJTJH (r = −0.029, P = 0.844) of the participants [Table 8]. A significant comparison (P < 0.05) also exists only in age (r = 4.079, P = 0.0001), AS (r = 3.470, P = 0.001), AL (r = 2.451, P = 0.018), HS (r = 2.166, P = 0.035 and P = 0.039), and femoral length (r = 2.440, P = 0.018 and P = 0.019) between the male and female participants.
Table 5: Correlation between gait parameters and level of performance of the participants

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Table 6: Correlation between gait parameters and psychological status of the male and female participants

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Table 7: Correlation between gait parameters and selected anthropometric variables of the participants

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Table 8: Correlation between performance level and selected anthropometric variables of the participants

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  Discussion Top

The correlation of gait parameters, selected anthropometric variables, psychological status, and performance level of basketball players in Lagos state was investigated in this study.

The mean HT, WT, and BMI of the male participants were seen to be higher than that of the female. Body fat that is low is required for excellent sports performance. Significant differences existed in age, HT, WT, and BMI based on gender.[19] Anthropometric variables; femoral length, AL, AS, and HS were also seen to be higher in men than in women. These higher values are similar to the report of Koley et al.[20] in their research. In a study conducted by Dessalew et al.[21] to ascertain the difference in anthropometric variables among runners, it was revealed that the anthropometric variables were higher in both sexes. These biological differences noted between both sexes seem to refer that men are stronger, faster, and hence more foremost in sports.

The psychological status of the basketball players was assessed with a 14-item questionnaire. Previous studies such as Newland[5] and Nicholls et al.[22] have described greater psychological status in males than female players. However, in this study, no significant difference existed in psychological status of both sexes. A study by Jiteshwor[23] reported nil significant difference between both sexes among basketball players achievement and motivation which signifies the state of one's mind in sports.

VJ performance is a unique fundamental elements in basketball.[24] It is assumed as a higher scale performance test and a kinematic measure used to evaluate the difference between men and women based on the angle of the hip of the frontal plane[25] Significant difference existed in vertical jump HT between male and female basketball players. The study by Jack.[25] reported that the vertical jump HT of male is greater than female with arm swing, this is as a result of the upper body power influencing the power production. In a study by Tant and Mackie,[26] it was indicated that females essentially moved their COG further upward than their male counter-parts with a 6% overall advantage, this led to their questioning if this is an actual gender difference or were differences in jumping style a contributing factor?

Some studies in 1960 confirmed the report that the ambulatory characteristics of male and female differs. Lately, the report from the experimental studies on gait kinematics in both sexes has not totally agreed to the historical findings.[27] This study findings showed that no significant difference exists between gait parameters (STPL and STRL) and both sexes; however, significant difference exist in BOG. In the study by Bruening et al.,[27] male and female ambulated at nearly the same mean preferred speed, men using mostly lengthier steps, and women ambulating with a greater pace. Considering the size of the body, no significant difference existed between nondimensional ambulating speed and STRL. Aydin et al.[28] conducted an experimental study using three-dimensional gait analysis. Their study reported significant gender differences and found step distance and STRL to be greater in females than in males. However, some limitations in their study reported that as the participants were assessed in the laboratory, they might pose different gait patterns and speeds compared to their daily routine gait patterns, which might have a negative impact on the objective evaluation of the results and small number of patients.

This study findings showed that there were significant correlations between performance level and gait parameters of the participant. Leroy et al.[29] concluded that playing a sport such as basketball over some years appears to induce some stable differences in the movement pattern between both sides and from one game to the other. de Ruiter et al.[30] noted that performance cannot be affected by a slight change in STRL, but larger changes can affect performance. It was also reported that changing in STRL modifies many other characteristics of an individual's running technique which is necessary in playing basketball, thus, buttressing the importance of STRL in performance.

From the results of this study, it was shown that there was no correlation between gait parameters and psychological status of the participants. The low-level features in the study by Zhao et al.[31] may not offer spontaneous understanding of a person's gait; although, it could cover the information of target psychological aspects in gaits more broadly. In addition, natural gaits could be an objective data source for assessing psychological aspects such as anxiety and depression.

It was noted that there was no correlation between psychological status and level of performance. Initial research on mental status indicated that less that 90% of coaches for wrestlers identified mental status as a significant requirement to success in competition.[5] However, realistic support for the relationship between psychological status and performance success has not been fully recognized according to Newland,[5] Golby et al.,[32] research demonstrated that psychological status skills, preliminary status, and sex were able to meaningfully describe a significant percentage of the variance in the level of performance for young basketball players. Generally, in the study by Newland,[5] although there was a weak significant relationship between psychological status and performance level. This outcome is not in accordance with previous researches[32],[33] and led to the consideration that there are some other regulating variables such as coaching style, game situations apart from the ones studied here for whom these psychological skills affect basketball performance

From the outcomes of this research, there was significant relationship between gait variables STPL and STRL and the anthropometric variables; HT, WT, AS, AL, and HS. BOG however, had significant correlation with only AS and HS. Also, it was noted that significant relationship exist between gait parameters and BMI and femoral length. The results by El Ashmawy et al.[33] revealed that there was weak nonsignificant relationship between anthropometric measurements and gait parameters in children with Down syndrome.

The outcome of this study revealed that correlation between psychological status and anthropometric variables was not significant. Hreinsdoffir[34] carried out a study in which the lack of differences in the psychological parameters were noted to seem to indicate that it depends more on the individual than on age.

In this study, there were correlations between level of performance (vertical jump test) and the anthropometric variables, except BMI. The reason may be because the BMI of the players are within normal percentage range. The result of this study revealed a significant strong correlation between AS, AL and vertical jump test in jumping and standing. There was also a significant strong correlation between HT and vertical jump test in standing. Anthropometry has a vital role to play in the athletic performances.[10] Nunes et al.,[35] revealed that the percentage body fat is negatively correlated with the balls recovered, time of play and number of points. While athletes that were taller with less body WT has an advantage over majority of the indicators for performance. According to the researchers, this outcome is anticipated, simply because athletes with greater percentage body fat are not as fit as athletes with lesser percentage body fat. The study by Massuca and Fragoso,[36] reported that body mass has an impact on athlete's speed, endurance, and power, while body composition has an influence on strength and agility). This simply means that successful involvement in a game of basketball, needs appropriate anthropometrical characteristics and body composition.[37]

Lohman et al.[38] proposed that a basketball player with a body fat percentage more than the population mean is probably going to undergo difficulty when contesting with players who are <22%.[38] According to Thirumagal,[10] anthropometric measurement revealed correlation between body structure physical characteristics and sport competences. In their research, it was found that in all the games, HT, WT, and other anthropometric variables played a very important role in the performance of players. In several games, HT and AL, have certain and vital benefit. Likewise in some athletic events and games, the AL and segmental length of the individual body parts are of significant benefit. Aiyegbusi et al.[16] revealed there was no significant correlation between femoral length, thigh girth, tibia length and vertical jump HT. Physical characteristics of WT, HT and BMI along with anthropometric variables of calf girth and foot length had a significant impact on vertical jump performance among recreational basketball players.

Implication for further research

Further study could assess the gait parameters with video assisted gait measurement or other sophisticated equipment, because this study was limited in the aspect of gait parameters measured using footprint measurement.

  Conclusion Top

It was concluded that a significant correlation exist between gait parameters, BMI and performance level (vertical jump HT) of the participants but no significant correlation between psychological status and performance level. There was significant difference only in the BOG and level of performance (vertical jump HT) between the male and female participants. It is therefore recommended that recognizing the role of psychological status in the performance of basketball players will go a long way in facilitating coach to decisively know appropriate psychological status of a player to enable them improve on the level of performance of these players. Basketball players should also be encouraged on gait and balance training, to improve accelerations and turns and prevent injuries during game.


The authors wish to appreciate the management of the basketball club and the basketball players that were involved in this study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]


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