Biomechanics of skilled cricket batsmen

Dec 10, 2013

Though the discovery might have come too late to help Australia win this week's Second Test match, a team of scientists from Down Under has revealed what techniques give skilled batsmen an edge over their less able teammates – and opponents.

Hitting a : what components of the interceptive action are most linked to expertise?

Using two groups of adult male cricketers (one drawn from national and state sides and the other from local competitions), a ball-projecting machine, bats of different widths and some high-tech recording devices, researchers studied the batsmen's movements and timing. 

Writing in the journal Sports Biomechanics, Juanita R. Weissensteiner and her colleagues conclude that timing seems to be what sets the batsmen apart. They noted that the highly skilled players initiated and completed their front-foot strides earlier, timed the completion of the front-foot stride to coincide with the start of the downswing, and timed the downswing well in relation to the bounce of the ball.

They write: "The highly skilled batsmen featured in this study were distinguishable by their ability to time their front-foot stride and swing relative to the specific temporal and special demands imposed by the incoming delivery, in particular the time and position of ball bounce. Timing interception close to ball bounce was strongly associated with the level of technical performance achieved on the task."

However, their study did bowl at least one googly that went against their original hypothesis: highly skilled batsmen were no more accurate than the mere mortals when the size of the bat was reduced to a third. 

In addition to giving insight into how adult cricketers hit the ball in different ways and with different levels of success, this study also raises questions about how these skills develop and at what age, how much they depend on an individual's physical characteristics and/or dedication to practice, and how cricket coaching can be made most effective. Sadly, the answers to those questions are unlikely to be found in time to make sure England holds on to the Ashes in the New Year.

Explore further: Real-time Snicko set for Ashes test

More information: "Hitting a cricket ball: what components of the interceptive action are most linked to expertise?" Juanita R. Weissensteiner et al. Sports Biomechanics, Volume 10, Issue 4, 2011. DOI: 10.1080/14763141.2011.629303

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Real-time Snicko set for Ashes test

Nov 19, 2013

The controversial decision review system has had a last-minute update for the start of the Ashes this week, with a real-time Snickometer set to be added to the technology available to match umpires.

For young baseball players, light bats don't hit too fast

Nov 06, 2013

The use of non-wood bats in youth baseball has spurred decades of controversy about whether they propel the ball too fast, in part because of their higher bat-to-ball energy transfer—the "trampoline effect." ...

Physicists cast new light on spin-bowling

Jul 04, 2013

(Phys.org) —As the Ashes series gets underway next week, a pair of brothers from Australia have been exploring the physics behind the spin of a cricket ball.

Recommended for you

Soccer's key role in helping migrants to adjust

2 hours ago

New research from the University of Adelaide has for the first time detailed the important role the sport of soccer has played in helping migrants to adjust to their new lives in Australia.

How dinosaurs shrank, survived and evolved into birds

4 hours ago

That starling at your birdfeeder? It is a dinosaur. The chicken on your dinner plate? Also a dinosaur. That mangy seagull scavenging for chips on the beach? Apart from being disgusting, yet again it is a ...

Children's book explores Really Big Numbers

4 hours ago

A new children's book written and illustrated by a Brown mathematics professor Richard Schwartz takes readers on a visual journal through the infinite number system. Schwartz hopes Really Big Numbers will ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Ober
not rated yet Dec 10, 2013
"Though the discovery might have come too late to help Australia win this week's Second Test match"... I think you mean to late for ENGLAND to win!! Australia has won both the First and Second test match!!