Shorter pitch lengths for junior cricket

Shortening cricket pitches to revitalise junior cricket throughout England and Wales

To date, very little research has addressed junior cricket. One aspect of junior sport which has begun to receive attention is the scaling of the playing environment.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) recognised that the conventional cricket pitch was disproportionately long for young players and speculated that this was detrimental to player enjoyment and technical development.

A partnership between the University and the ECB examined this hypothesis and made several recommendations which are being widely adopted with positive effects.

Our impact

ECB recommendations

  • New pitch lengths fundamental to the ECB’s new Junior Format recommendations (2019)
  • All junior club, school and county matches in England and Wales should use these new pitch lengths

Enhanced performance and enjoyment

  • Improved outcomes for batters, bowlers and fielders
  • Players, coaches and spectators describe games as more exciting and engaging


  • Findings delivered to leagues, county cricket boards and coaches
  • Invited presentation at the ECB Coaches Association national conference (2017)
  • Coaching Insight article (page 30)
  • Hitting the Seam article (issue 41)
ECB Recommended Junior Formats

The research

A pilot study in 2015 established that shortening the pitch – at both club under-11 and county under-10 standards – had positive effects on the performance of bowlers, batters and fielders.

Further analysis of bowler performance – across various age groups at club and county levels – revealed greater success rates and more variety in bowling during play on the shorter pitch.

Another study demonstrated that the shorter pitch improved the coupling between delivery length and appropriate shot selection. The proportion of back foot shots to short deliveries increased in all groups – significantly so for some. In county matches, there was also an increase in front foot shots to full deliveries.

The findings of these studies were used to calculate the optimum pitch lengths – rounded to whole yards – for the various age groups.

We embarked on a project with the University to find the optimum pitch length for each age group. I’m really excited about the results – if we can keep people in the game and make some technical advances that would be fantastic.

David Graveney OBE England and Wales Cricket Board

Recommended pitch lengths (original in brackets)

  • U8/U9 – 15 yards (16 yards)
  • U10 – 17 yards (19 yards)
  • U11 – 17 yards (20 yards)
  • U12/U13 – 19 yards (21 yards)
  • U14/U15 – unchanged at 22 yards

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