October 7, 2022
Locked on Women’s Basketball: Issues with the professional calendar
What can be done to give the players time to rest and recover from the current year-round nature of professional women's basketball?
It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. In this episode, The Next’s New York Liberty beat writer Jackie Powell is joined by the Associated Press‘ Doug Feinberg to discuss all things FIBA Women’s World Cup. Jackie and Doug discuss the fatigue felt by most professional women’s basketball players in the current schedule and the fatigue of WNBA players with almost no rest before international events require them to travel the globe. This year, and on the brink of prioritization, this topic has been especially relevant.
But first, Jackie and Doug discuss the off the court environment Doug experienced in-person, as well as the action on the court and the biggest games and most impressive players. Doug also discussed the difference in environment compared to the Tokyo Olympics in the midst of quarantine measures.
Doug on what made the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup different this year, aside from the rest factors:
The biggest thing I’ve noticed is they actually put more resources and such into the Women’s World Cup, which I think made it a better experience for everybody: the fans, the players, the coaches, the media. They had cool intros for the quarterfinals [and beyond,] having the smoke machines and players running out through the tunnel, which I thought was pretty cool. They had a fan fest outside, which I hadn’t seen before that I thought was pretty neat. So they made just a better experience for everyone, off the court.
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Doug on the biggest issue that is stopping stakeholders from opening up time for rest and recovery with a different schedule:
The overarching issue is when you have it. And I asked the question, I said “Hey, are we locked in,” and they said yes, it will be September, 2026. Which [means] we will have the same problem where you have the WNBA season being right up against it, and for the Olympics they take that month long break, which seems to work well in a sense for the Olympics, but you sort of lose some of the steam of the WNBA by having a month break … so, I don’t have a solution right now. I’ll be honest, I can come up with ideas, but somebody has to give, or everyone has to give a little something for this to work.