Performance analysis of fielding and wicket-keeping in cricket to inform strength and conditioning practice

MacDonald, Danielle Catherine
Cronin, John
Stretch, Richard
McGuigan, Michael
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

The purpose of this thesis was to contribute to the scientific understanding of the performance demands of One Day International (ODI) fielding and wicket-keeping, and to provide recommendations for improving athlete performance, assessment and coach education. Two comprehensive literature reviews of the physical, technical, physiological and tactical components of fielding and wicket-keeping were conducted. Given the gaps identified in the literature reviews, an online mixed method survey of cricket players, coaches and trainers was designed to investigate the performance requirements of the wicket-keeper, close, inner and outer circle fielders. Players and coaches rated agility the most important physical attribute for the wicket-keeper (4.7/5), close fielders (4.6/5), and inner circle fielders (4.8/5). Speed (4.8/5) and agility (4.6/5) were rated most important for outer circle fielders. Coaches raised the issue of the lack of a cricket specific agility test. An emerging theme for all categories was the importance of the mental aspects of the game such as positive attitude and concentration, particularly for the wicket-keeper. To validate the use of video footage for performance analysis a comparison was made between televised and purposefully collected video for event coding. The variables of interest were derived from the literature reviews and corroborated by the survey. The ICC for intra-coder reliability for all but two variables was between 0.88 and 1.00 the exceptions were lateral footwork (step 0.83 and shuffle 0.55) likely due to the subjectivity of defining footwork patterns. The televised footage under-reported the frequency of wicket-keeping activity (≈4.5%), except for lateral footwork, which was under-reported by the purposefully collected video (≈13.5%) due to the movement being perpendicular to the camera view. Even though fielding activity was under-reported (≈4.25) by televised footage, this footage was deemed to be most appropriate, as the collected footage resulted in a field of view that made the finer details of fielding difficult to distinguish. Performance analysis studies on fielding and wicket-keeping were carried out using televised footage from the 2011 ODI World Cup. The majority of the wicket-keepers movements were lateral (75%); primarily repetitive low intensity movements interspersed with explosive movements such as diving and jumping. Wicket-keeping glove-work skills (69%) were the most performed skill activity, the quality of which was quantified using a catching efficiency measure (93%). Close, inner and outer circle fielders had variable involvement in fielding activities. Close fielders were involved in 20% of the fielding activity, the bowler the most (58%) involved. The inner circle fielders were involved in 50% of fielding contacts; of whom cover was the position most involved (21%) Inner circle fielders had to display the greatest range of skills within the field, such as catching from different heights, varied throwing and ground fielding techniques. Outer circle fielders were involved with 30% of the fielding contacts; the outer circle position most involved was long on (14%). Long sprints were the hallmark of outer circle fielding, following the sprint, they often had to perform explosive movements such as a dive or a jump to field the ball; they rarely had the opportunity to stop and position themselves to perform their skill. Additionally, catching (75%,89%, 85%) throwing (0%,12%, 33%) and overall fielding performance (89%,98%,99% ) were quantified using efficiency calculations for close, inner and outer circle fielders respectively. The findings of the literature reviews and studies expanded upon the only previous study to quantify fielding performance, and informed the development of performance profiles of fielding and wicket-keeping. Subsequently recommendations for assessment, training and coaching have been made, which will be integrated into New Zealand Cricket resources. Most notable are suggestions for improving the existing skill and physical testing batteries

Cricket , Performance analysis
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