Faster, healthier, longer

Our research informs cricket coaching – reducing injury, enhancing performance and extending playing careers

Our biomechanics research – conducted in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and dating back to 2004 – has focused on players’ fast bowling techniques with a view to enhancing individual performance whilst reducing the likelihood of injury.

Injury is common among cricketers, and fast bowlers have the highest injury rate of all. Lower back injuries are typical and often require lengthy periods of recuperation.

To date we have supported the training and performance of numerous elite players, including James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jenny Gunn and Mark Wood.

Our impact

ECB Pace Programme

  • Unique technique analysis improves performance

Coach education

  • Findings incorporated into ECB’s Level IV coach education programme

Injury prevention

  • >150 fast bowlers biomechanically tested since 2004
  • New workload guidelines proposed for 18-24-year-old elite fast bowlers

The research

Our early studies established general observations about technique, performance and injury – with four bowling style variables accounting for 74% of observed differences in ball release speed. We also identified the main causes of injury.

The next stage of our work focused on enhancing an individual’s bowling performance. We took a theoretical approach, developing a cutting-edge simulation model to investigate how different factors limit performance. By observing the individual’s delivery in detail, and providing specific technique modifications, we observed 22% improvement in ball speed.

Next, we developed ways to apply these findings to coaching practice, exploring workload during both training and matches to reduce the incidence of lumbar stress fractures – the greatest time loss injury in cricket. We found that bowling more than 39 overs a week was associated with lumbar stress fractures and accounted for 66% of them.

The success of our work has consolidated our ongoing research partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). It also underpins a revision of the ECB’s fast bowler workload policy in a bid to reduce injury, informs coach education resources, and enhanced fast bowler talent identification.

We have amazing experts around us in the Sports Science team at Loughborough who have been brilliant for the England fast bowlers.

Kevin Shine ECB Lead Fast Bowling Coach (2006-19)

Research funders

  • England and Wales Cricket Board

Development partners

  • England and Wales Cricket Board

Meet the experts

Photograph of Mark King

Professor Mark King

Professor of Sports Biomechanics

Photograph of Fred Yeadon

Professor Fred Yeadon

Emeritus Professor of Computer Simulation in Sport

Commercialisation

We are currently exploring commercialisation opportunities.