The impact of a fast bowling spell on physiological, perceptual and performance responses in non-elite cricketers


  • L Pote
  • S Proctor
  • K McEwan
  • J Davy
  • C Christie



 Background: The demands placed on fast bowlers may elicit unique responses that contribute towards increased injury risk and comprised performance capabilities. Despite this, very few investigations have attempted to quantify these demands and their impact on performance in cricketers. 

Objective: This investigation attempted to quantify the effects of a fast bowling protocol on the musculoskeletal, physiological and perceptual responses of fast bowlers; as well as ball speed and accuracy. 

Methods: Eight young adult bowlers (20 ± 2 years) participated in a 10-over bowling protocol that had been separated by intermittent fielding drills into three bowling spells respectively (4-, 3- and 3- overs). Selected responses were collected throughout the protocol. 

Results: Functional strength was measured and showed no change. Heart rate responses increased significantly (p<0.05) at the start of the bowling protocol. Local ratings of perceived exertion increased significantly (p<0.05) as a function of exercise duration, while low to moderate intensities of perceived discomfort were noted in the anterior and posterior shoulder areas, upper portion of the lower limb musculature, as well as in the middle and lower back regions. Performance responses experienced no significant change. 

Conclusion: There was no significant change in ball release speed and accuracy across the bowling protocol. Lower limb muscle power remained consistent and heart rates reached a steady state after the first over. In comparison, local ratings of perceived effort and body discomfort increased over time, which could mean that those unchanged measures do not accurately reflect fatigue or that perceptions are a more effective indicator of impending fatigue. 

Keywords: accuracy, speed, heart rate, body discomfort, ratings of perceived exertion 


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How to Cite

Pote, L., Proctor, S., McEwan, K., Davy, J., & Christie, C. (2019). The impact of a fast bowling spell on physiological, perceptual and performance responses in non-elite cricketers. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 31(1), 1–5.