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Title: Scaling the pitch for junior cricketers
Author: Harwood, Michael J.
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2018
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Although cricket is played around the world by all ages, very little attention has been focused on junior cricket. The research presented here evaluated the effects on junior cricket of reducing the pitch length, developed a method for scaling the pitch to suit the players and applied this method to the under-11 age group. In the first of four studies it was established that shortening the cricket pitch had positive effects for bowlers, batters and fielders at both club and county standards, consequently resulting in matches that were more engaging. The second study found that top under-10 and under-11 seam bowlers released the ball on average 3.4° further below horizontal on a 16 yard pitch compared with a 19 yard pitch. This was closer to elite adult pace bowlers release angles and should enable junior players to achieve greater success and develop more variety in their bowling. The third study calculated where a good length delivery should be pitched to under-10 and under-11 batters in order to provoke uncertainty, and also examined the influence of pitch length on batters decisions to play front or back foot shots according to the length of the delivery. A shorter pitch should strengthen the coupling between the perception of delivery length and appropriate shot selection, and the increased task demand should lead to improved anticipation; both are key features of skilled batting. In the final study a method of calculating the optimal pitch length for an age group was developed which used age-specific bowling and batting inputs. This was applied to scale the pitch for under-11s giving a pitch length of 16.22 yards (14.83 m), 19% shorter than previously recommended for the age group by the England and Wales Cricket Board. Scaled in this way across the junior age groups, pitch lengths would fit the players better as they develop, enabling more consistent ball release by bowlers and temporal demands for batters, as well as greater involvement for fielders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University ; England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Junior cricket ; Pitch length ; Modified sport ; Scaling ; Bowling ; Batting ; Food length