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The Mechanics of Front Leg Loading During Cricket Fast Bowling: Delivery Variations, Spell Demands, and the Effect of Strength Training

The goal of fast bowling in cricket is to dismiss a batsman for as few runs as possible. To aid in achieving this, fast bowlers will attempt to maximise ball release velocities, so as to decrease the decision-making and stroke execution time of the opposing batsman. Fast bowlers will also attempt to affect a batsman’s stroke execution by changing their delivery length (e.g. short and full). To date, several issues remain to be addressed with regards to a practical biomechanical assessment of fast bowling. This is particularly evident when analysing fast bowling performance (i.e. ball release velocity), the implications of front foot loading (i.e. vertical and braking ground reaction forces) and the associated kinematics (i.e. knee and trunk angles) during certain situations. The biomechanics of delivery lengths, spell demands, and specific fast bowling strength training interventions have yet to be investigated within the scientific literature.

Therefore, the purposes of this research are four-fold: 1) develop a practical method to assess front leg loading and knee and trunk kinematics using inertial sensors that can be used during training and match conditions to analyse fast bowling biomechanics; 2) identify the biomechanical differences (front foot loading, knee and trunk kinematics, and ball release velocity) between and within elite and sub-elite fast bowlers for deliveries of various lengths (short, good, and full); 3) determine any changes to fast bowling front foot loading, knee and trunk kinematics, and the resulting implications on ball release velocity that occur during a single, eight-over simulated bowling spell within elite and sub-elite fast bowlers; and 4) assess the effect of a strength training intervention on front foot loading, knee and trunk kinematics and performance (assessed by release velocity) in comparison to traditional cricket training within sub-elite fast bowlers.

This series of studies will assist cricket coaches, sport scientists, and strength and conditioning practitioners working with fast bowlers, by initially developing a more practical means of analysing fast bowling biomechanics within training and match situations. Specifically, this will assist with providing a greater understanding of how front foot loading, kinematics and performance during fast bowling can be affected by delivery lengths, as well as the influence of a single bowling spell, for both elite and sub-elite fast bowlers. Additionally, insight will be gained as to the effect of strength training on fast bowling biomechanics and performance in sub-elite cricketers.

Project duration

2014-2017


Researchers

Mr Samuel Callaghan
Dr Sophia Nimphius
California State University (USA), Dr Robert Lockie

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