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The effect of elbow hyperextension on ball speed in cricket fast bowling

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journal contribution
posted on 17.03.2016 by Paul Felton, Mark King
This study investigates how elbow hyperextension affects ball release speed in fast bowling. A two-segment planar computer simulation model comprising an upper arm and forearm + hand was customised to an elite fast bowler. A constant torque was applied at the shoulder and elbow hyperextension was represented using a damped linear torsional spring at the elbow. The magnitude of the constant shoulder torque and the torsional spring parameters were determined by concurrently matching three performances. Close agreement was found between the simulations and the performances with an average difference of 3.8%. The simulation model with these parameter values was then evaluated using one additional performance. Optimising ball speed by varying the torsional spring parameters found that elbow hyperextension increased ball release speed. Perturbing the elbow torsional spring stiffness indicated that the increase in ball release speed was governed by the magnitude of peak elbow hyperextension and the amount that the elbow recoils back towards a straight arm after reaching peak elbow hyperextension. This finding provides a clear understanding that a bowler who hyperextends at the elbow and recoils optimally will have an increase in ball speed compared to a similar bowler who cannot hyperextend. A fast bowler with 20° of elbow hyperextension and an optimal level of recoil will have increased ball speeds of around 5% over a bowler without hyperextension.


This project was funded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Sports Sciences


FELTON, P.J. and KING, M.A., 2016. The effect of elbow hyperextension on ball speed in cricket fast bowling. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34 (18), pp.1752-1758.


© Taylor and Francis


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Sports Sciences on 28/01/2016, available online:








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