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An Integrated Approach to the Biomechanics and Motor Control of Cricket Fast Bowling Techniques

Abstract

To date, scientific investigations into the biomechanical aspects of cricket fast bowling techniques have predominantly focused on identifying the mechanical factors that may predispose fast bowlers to lower back injury with a relative paucity of research being conducted on the technical features that underpin proficient fast bowling performance. In this review paper, we critique the scientific literature examining fast bowling performance. We argue that, although many published investigations have provided some useful insights into the biomechanical factors that contribute to a high ball release speed and, to a lesser extent, bowling accuracy, this research has not made a substantive contribution to knowledge enhancement and has only had a very minor influence on coaching practice. To significantly enhance understanding of cricket fast bowling techniques and, therefore, have greater impact on practice, we recommend that future scientific research adopts an interdisciplinary focus, integrating biomechanical measurements with the analytical tools and concepts of dynamical systems motor control theory. The use of qualitative (topological) analysis techniques, in particular, promises to increase understanding of the coordinative movement patterns that define ‘technique’ in cricket fast bowling and potentially help distinguish between functional and dysfunctional aspects of technique for individual fast bowlers.

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Notes

  1. There have also been four World Congresses on Science and Medicine in Cricket that coincided with the 1999 [7], 2003 [8], 2007 [9] and 2011 [10] 50-over Cricket World Cups in England, South Africa, West Indies and India, respectively, and three conferences organised by Cricket Australia in 2007 [11], 2010 [12] and 2012 (no proceedings available).

  2. Based on the findings of recent studies on high-performance fast bowlers from Australia [15], England [16] and New Zealand [54], pure front-on or side-on bowling actions (i.e. actions with no thorax counter-rotation) appear to be rare. Indeed, for the majority of this population of fast bowlers, some degree of thorax counter-rotation during the delivery stride, often beyond the 30° limit typically deemed to be ‘safe’, appears to be the norm.

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Glazier, P.S., Wheat, J.S. An Integrated Approach to the Biomechanics and Motor Control of Cricket Fast Bowling Techniques. Sports Med 44, 25–36 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0098-x

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Keywords

  • Joint Centre
  • Trunk Flexion
  • Ball Release
  • Fast Bowling
  • Coaching Practice