Relationships between technique and bat speed, post-impact ball speed, and carry distance during a range hitting task in cricket

The ability of a batsman to clear the boundary is a major contributor to success in modern cricket. The aim of this study was to identify technique parameters characterising those batsmen able to generate greater bat speeds, ball launch speeds, and carry distances during a range hitting task in cricket. Kinematic data were collected for 20 batsmen ranging from international to club standard, and a series of ball launch, bat-ball impact, and technique parameters were calculated for each trial. A stepwise multiple linear regression analysis found impact location on the bat face in the medio-lateral and longitudinal directions and bat speed at impact to explain 68% of the observed variation in instantaneous post-impact ball speed. A further regression analysis found the X-factor (separation between the pelvis and thorax segments in the transverse plane) at the commencement of the downswing, lead elbow extension, and wrist uncocking during the downswing to explain 78% of the observed variation in maximum bat speed during the downswing. These findings indicate that players and coaches should focus on generating central impacts with the highest possible bat speed. Training and conditioning programmes should be developed to improve the important kinematic parameters shown to generate greater bat speeds, particularly focussing on increased pelvis to upper thorax separation in the transverse plane.