Not as simple as it seems: Front foot contact kinetics, muscle function and ball release speed in cricket pace bowlers.

Affiliation

Callaghan SJ(1), Govus AD(2), Lockie RG(3), Middleton KJ(2), Nimphius S(4)(5).
Author information:
(1)Faculty of Sport, Applied Health and Performance Sciences
(SAHPS), St Mary's University, Twickenham, UK.
(2)Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia.
(3)Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, USA.
(4)Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia.
(5)Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between front foot contact (FFC) ground reaction forces (GRF) during the delivery stride, lower-limb strength, eccentric dexterity and power, and ball release speed (BRS) among pace bowlers. Thirteen high-level male pace bowlers performed double and single leg drop landings; isometric mid-thigh pull; countermovement jump; and pace bowling (two-over bowling spell measuring BRS and FFC GRF). The relationship between assessed variables and BRS was determined via frequentist and Bayesian multiple linear regression. The model including peak braking force was the most probable given the data (Bayes Factor=1.713) but provided only weak evidence in comparison to the null model. The results of frequentist and Bayesian modelling were comparable with peak braking force explaining 23.3% of the variance in BRS (F(1, 11)=4.64, P=0.054). Results indicate pace bowlers with greater peak braking GRF during FFC generally elicit higher BRS. However, the weak relationship between peak braking force and BRS, and the lack of a linear relationship between BRS and other variables, highlights the complexities and inter-individual variability inherent to pace bowling at a high-level. A more individual-focused analysis revealed varied strategies within pace bowlers to deliver the outcome (e.g., BRS) and should be considered in future study designs.