Dr Mark King talks about his cricket research
Biomechanics research into cricket at Loughborough has focused on improving our understanding of the relationships between fast bowling technique and improvements in performance and the likelihood of injury. Both of these relationships have been investigated using an experimental approach for elite fast bowlers based upon data collected annually at the ECB national academy at Loughborough (pictured below) and analysed using a full body marker set developed specifically for the analysis of fast bowlers. This research has been carried out in collaboration with a range of staff from the ECB including Dr Craig Ranson, former lead physiotherapist, ECB and Kevin Shine, Lead fast bowling coach, ECB:
In terms of injury potential (lumbar stress injuries) the research has moved away from the traditional back foot contact bowling action classification system and focused on the front foot contact phase of the delivery stride where the spinal postures are extreme and loading on the lower back is greatest. It is proposed that concurrent lower trunk extension, rotation, and extreme side-flexion during the early part of the front foot contact phase of the bowling action, at a time when ground reaction forces are also high, is the most important mechanical factor in lumbar stress injuries.
In terms of performance the research has focused on the relationship between technique, ground reaction forces and ball speed. In particular, increased ball speed has been linked to a faster run-up, a longer delivery stride and delaying the swing of the bowling arm for a range of fast bowlers. In terms of ground reaction forces, increased ball speed has been strongly correlated with horizontal impulse and inversely related to peak vertical ground reaction force, vertical loading rates and horizontal loading rates. These results contradict some of the current beliefs in cricket but tie in very closely with javelin research and suggest that the fastest bowlers maximise their horizontal breaking impulse during front foot contact as opposed to peak ground reaction forces and loading rates.
- Worthington, P.W., King, M.A., Ranson, C. 2013. Relationships between fast bowling technique and ball release speed in cricket. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 29, 78-84.
- King, M.A., Yeadon, M.R. 2012. Quantifying elbow extension and elbow hyperextension in cricket bowling: A case study of Jenny Gunn, Journal of Sports Sciences 30, 937–947.
- Ranson, C., King, M.A., Burnett, A., Worthington, P.W., Shine, K. 2009. The effect of coaching intervention on elite fast bowling technique over a two year period. Sports Biomechanics, 8, 261–274.
- Ranson, C.A., Burnett, A.F., King, M.A., Patel, N. and O’Sullivan, P.B. 2008. The relationship between bowling action classification and three-dimensional lower trunk motion in fast bowlers in cricket. Journal of Sports Sciences 26, 267-276.
- Ranson, C.A., King, M.A., Shine, K. and Worthington, P.J. 2011. ECB Elite Fast Bowling Group: Lower back injuries in fast bowling. On the up, 7, 66-68.
- King, M.A., Worthington, P.J., Shine, K. and Ranson, C.A. 2011. ECB Elite Fast Bowling Group: Fast bowling performance. On the up, 7, 68-70.
- Shine, K., Ranson, C.A., King, M.A., and Worthington, P.J. 2011. ECB Elite Fast Bowling Group: Coaching pace and minimising injuries. On the up, 7, 70-72.
Current projects on fast bowling
- The effect of elbow hyperextension on ball release speed
- The effect of front leg kinematics on ground reaction forces
- Technique changes between Yorker, Bouncer and Normal deliveries
- Identifying side-flexion, comparison of 2D and 3D methodologies
- Computer simulation of fast bowling
- Factors influencing performance in spin bowling (in collaboration the former international spin bowler Peter Such, Lead spin bowling coach, ECB).
- Bowling arm analysis: accurate measurement of elbow extension
Any enquires into biomechanics cricket research should be directed towards Dr Mark King