Biomechanics for

Cricket
Coaching Applications
PART “A”
THE BASICS
“It is ESSENTIAL coaches and players
understand these principles”
“Many people believe coaching is
about ANALYSIS”…
…“often too much analysis causes
PARALYSIS”
Communication is the key – K.I.S.S. principle
PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS
BIOMECHANICS SUPPLIES THE
SIMPLICITIES AND THE WHY’S
WHAT IS IT ?



BIOMECHANICS is the study of the scientific principles which
contribute to human movement

BIOMECHANICS studies the internal forces (generated by
muscles, tendons) and the external forces (gravity,
resistance) acting on a human body


WHAT IS BIOMECHANICS?
Michael Johnson
BIOMECHANICS
WHAT IS THE IDEAL IN CRICKET ?

 BATTING :
To hit the ball hard (i.e. power),
where we want to (i.e. control).

 BOWLING :
To bowl / spin the ball fast (power),
land it where we want (control),
with the variations we want (control).

 FIELDING :
To gather the ball cleanly (control) and throw it
quickly (power) and accurately (control)

“Players with sound biomechanics are able to perform
skills efficiently, with minimum fatigue or injury”
INTRODUCING BIOMECHANICS
TO THE PLAYER

It is natural for…
 All Athletes to Aim for Achievement

“I’ve always done it like this”
“How much cricket have you played”
“Just fix it up”
“I just want to bowl faster”
“Why should I ?”
INTRODUCING BIOMECHANICS
TO THE COACH
 Coaches Coach Causes
 Coaches must correct the cause not the
symptom
 Coaches need to understand the:
 When,
 How, and
 Why, of all movements
THE CENTRAL THEME OF
BIOMECHANICS
BALANCE
AND
STABILITY
POWER CONTROL
• Moment of Inertia
• Momentum
• Lever alignment
• Force summation
• Momentum
• Lever alignment
• Force summation
BALANCE
AND
STABILITY
BIOMECHANICS - CENTRAL THEME
POWER CONTROL
“provides”
THE LANGUAGE OF
BIOMECHANICS
For the purposes of clear communication,
coaches must understand BALANCE and
STABILITY are interchangeable terms…

…“to keep in equilibrium” …
…“the maintenance of equilibrium” …


Definitions from The Concise Oxford Dictionary
STABILITY PRINCIPLES
A body is balanced when its centre of gravity is vertically within its
base of support

Base of support
Centre of gravity outside base of support - fall over
A body loses balance when its centre of gravity is vertically outside its
base of support

STABILITY PRINCIPLES
The wider the base of support, the greater the stability
The narrower the base of support, the greater the instability
Balance can involve a fixed base (static balance),

STABILITY PRINCIPLES
or maintaining body control during movement (dynamic balance)
A body loses balance when its centre of gravity is vertically outside its
base of support
STABILITY PRINCIPLES
STABILITY - BATTING
STANCE
The line of gravity is over the centre of the feet





ALIGNMENT
The base of support is aligned with the intended generation of force

THE STEP
The LOWER the centre of gravity, the GREATER the stability






The wider the base of support, the GREATER the stability
STABILITY - BATTING

A STABLE BASE enables FULL FORCE GENERATION









The bat starts to move FORWARD only after the front FOOT has made CONTACT with
the GROUND





The legs remain BRACED to ensure maximum force generation

STABILITY


Spinners use shorter delivery stride lengths to increase height at release














Delivery strides too long - loss of height and leg collapse
STABILITY - BOWLING


Changing the line of gravity may be used to
initiate movement







Head to ball when stepping forward







Leaning forward to begin run up
STABILITY – DYNAMIC BALANCE
STABILITY - FIELDING
Fielding requires a “trade off” between
 stability required to generate the necessary forces to move to the ball,





and
 instability which assists movement towards the ball (e.g. initiating
lateral movement is difficult if the fielder is too stable)
Base of support too narrow Base of support allows lateral movement
Base of support too wide Base of support too wide Balanced “jump step”
STABILITY - CONSEQUENCES

Balance is affected when any body part is moved away from the
centre of gravity
 balance is lost, or compensation must occur
 the further the bat is from the body, the harder it is to move or
control ( it “controls” you rather than you “controlling” it )

Hands away from body in the backlift
STABILITY - CONSEQUENCES

Balance is affected when any body part is moved away from the
centre of gravity
 balance is lost, or compensation must occur
 the further the ball is from the body, the harder it is to move or
control ( it “controls” you rather than you “controlling” it )

Ball away from body - balance and efficiency compromised
STABILITY


A stable base ensures :
 the eyes are still, so perception is enhanced
 there is a resistance to work the body levers against
 body energy is transferred efficiently to the bat / ball

SUMMARY OF
STABILITY PRINCIPLES
1. Optimum stability occurs when the centre of gravity is centrally located over
the base of support.

2. The lower the centre of gravity, the greater the stability.

3. The wider the base of support, the greater the stability. This needs to be
kept in proportion. A base of support too great will impair vital movements.

4. Greater stability occurs when the base of support is aligned with the
oncoming force and the intended target

5. Forces can be progressively increased if the body provides a stable base of
support.

6. A stable base ensures :
• the eyes are still, so perception is enhanced
• there is a resistance to work the body levers against
• body energy is transferred efficiently to the bat / ball

7. Moving any body part outside of the base of support affects balance
PART “B”
EXTENSIONS
“These principles have a more scientific origin. Coaches should have a
basic understanding of how they impact on cricket performance”
OTHER PRINCIPLES OF
BIOMECHANICS

 MOMENT OF INERTIA
 MOMENTUM
 LEVER ALIGNMENT
 FORCE SUMMATION
INERTIA

INERTIA is the tendency of a body to maintain its
present state of motion
 if a body is stationary, it will remain that way unless
acted on by an outside force.
 if a body is moving it will tend to keep moving, unless
acted on by an outside force.

The greater a body’s MASS, the greater its INERTIA

In cricket, the player must overcome the inertia of the
bat or ball to generate bat or ball speed …
… In other words the player must be able to control
the movement of the bat or ball

LEVERAGE - MOMENT OF INERTIA
“ EASE OF TURNING ”
 MOMENT OF INERTIA is the tendency of a body to maintain its present state of
“angular” motion (ROTATION)
 In angular motion, the ability of an object to turn depends not only on its mass, but
on how far this mass is distributed from the axis of rotation

Moment of Inertia = Mass x Radius
2

I = mr
2

The greater the moment of inertia, the harder it is to start moving

radius is smaller
- easier to turn
radius is larger
- harder to turn

LEVERS play an important role in movement by maximizing speed and/or force
of movement





The muscles, tendons and bones of the body work together as levers







LEVERAGE - MOMENT OF INERTIA
LEVERAGE - MOMENT OF INERTIA
It is easier to move a short lever than a long lever of the same mass
SHORTER levers can be used to increase SPEED with less effort
This is why the BAT should be in CLOSE to the body so that it is easier to swing with POWER and CONTROL
LEVERAGE - MOMENT OF INERTIA
It is easier to move a short lever than a long lever of the same mass
SHORTER levers can be used to increase SPEED with less effort
This is why BOWLERS should fold their arms and front leg in CLOSE to their body to optimise their
STABILITY to deliver the ball with POWER and CONTROL
MOMENTUM

MOMENTUM = Mass x Velocity (Speed)
M = mv




• The greater the mass, the greater the momentum

• The greater the velocity, the greater the momentum

• Compare tennis ball to shot put, toy car to motor car

IMPULSE


IMPULSE = CHANGE IN MOMENTUM
F.t = mv
2
- mv
1



The aim in cricket is to maximize the change in momentum of the bat or ball

This achieved by increasing the forces and/or increasing the time the forces act
IMPULSE
Increasing the TIME over which a constant force operates increases the
IMPULSE (change in momentum)







Batters should take a FULL STEP to increase stability and flatten the downswing arc








The LEAN BACK position for side on bowlers increases the TIME over which the forces may
be generated

IMPULSE

IMPULSE = CHANGE IN MOMENTUM









“SOFT” HANDS

By increasing the length of catch, the time increases, so the force is
reduced

IMPULSE
Flattening the arc of the downswing increases speed and control













The wrists move FORWARD during the impact phase




IMPULSE - SUMMARY
ABSORBING FORCES
 To reduce the impact of a catch or
 To absorb the forces of the follow through (batting
and bowling)
… a player can increase the

 TIME to absorb force
 RANGE of movement to absorb force
 AREA to absorb force
 MASS to absorb force
LEVER ALIGNMENT - BATTING
It is important to align the body levers with the oncoming ball to ensure the
maintenance of vertical bat swing that allows the player to hit the ball with
POWER and CONTROL





Shoulders should be rotated slightly FORWARD by the TOP of the backswing






The front elbow sets the line for the arm levers – extend arms towards the target

LEVER ALIGNMENT - BOWLING
It is important to keep all body levers moving in the line of the target to ensure
a balanced delivery and efficient generation of POWER and CONTROL













Poor lever alignment produces inconsistent performances
LEVER ALIGNMENT - SUMMARY
Keep all body levers moving along the target line to
maximise POWER and CONTROL
Batting
 step at target
 rotate shoulders in direction of target
 align front elbow with target
Bowling
 pump elbows down target line in run up
 keep ball in close to body plane
 drag front elbow down target line
 rotate shoulders vertically towards target
“Direct the energy / core of the body at the target”
FORCE SUMMATION - BATTING
Large muscles move FIRST, then STABILIZE so that the NEXT SMALLER
muscle group is able to ACCELERATE, therefore ADDING SPEED to the BAT
as it gets closer to impact.
FORCE SUMMATION
– BATTING (example)
THE 6 S’s of BATTING
 SET UP
• head over feet, hands in close
• levers lined up, shoulders slightly open
 STEP
• move the body mass towards the impact point
 STOP or STABILISE
• firm up the base and use as a secure anchor / pivot point
 SWING
• rotate the shoulders into the ball, maintain “9”
 SHOULDERS
• concentrate on the shoulders and the arms will follow
 STRAIGHT
• step, backswing, downswing, and bat all move straight to impact
point
FORCE SUMMATION - BOWLING
LARGE muscles move FIRST, then STABILIZE so that the NEXT SMALLER
muscle group is able to ACCELERATE therefore ADDING SPEED to the BALL
as it gets closer to release







Legs absorb, then lock, then front elbow “cracks the whip”
LOCK UP
“CRACK THE WHIP”
FORCE SUMMATION - BOWLING
FORCE SUMMATION - SUMMARY

Use large body parts to commence movement, then lock them
to accelerate smaller body parts sequentially

Batting
 Release bottom hand by top of backlift
 Complete step before starting downswing
 Brace knees during downswing
 Keep feet still during downswing – hips must uncoil off a stable
base
 Rotate shoulders, arms and bat down to impact in the same plane
 Wrists unlock when shoulders slow down and stabilise
“Everything starts from the ground, through the base, through the body
core, then through the arms”
Use large body parts to commence movement, then lock them
to accelerate smaller body parts sequentially

Bowling
 Foot imprint in line with the target
 Head steady with eyes level
 Arms rotate close to body and in line with the target
 Knees absorb impact then stabilise
 Front elbow locks as bowling arm reaches the horizontal
 Arms and shoulders rotate as vertically as possible
“Everything starts from the ground, through the base, through the body
core, then through the arms”
FORCE SUMMATION - SUMMARY
SUMMARY
“THE BOTTOM LINE”

 OPTIMIZES PERFORMANCE

 PREVENTS INJURY

B
I
O
M
E
C
H
A
N
I
C
S
HELPS ATHLETES
UNDERSTAND WHY

 PROVIDES PRINCIPLES

 PROVIDES SYSTEMATIC
BASIS FOR PROBLEM
SOLVING


B
I
O
M
E
C
H
A
N
I
C
S
PRODUCES MORE
EFFECTIVE
PLAYERS
 EXPLAINS WHY

 ELIMINATES GUESSWORK

 IS MORE EFFICIENT

 FOCUSES ON BASICS


B
I
O
M
E
C
H
A
N
I
C
S
PRODUCES MORE
EFFICIENT
PLAYERS
 SIMPLIFIES

 IS CONSISTENT

 PRIORITIZES

 ALLOWS INDIVIDUALITY

B
I
O
M
E
C
H
A
N
I
C
S
PRODUCES
CONSISTENT
PERFORMANCES

BIOMECHANICS

DETERMINES
PRODUCES
GOVERNS
CONTROLS
TECHNIQUE
&
SKILL

CONSISTENT PLAYER
PERFORMANCE
TEACHING
METHOD
COACHING
METHOD
THE K.I.S.S. PRINCIPLE
Biomechanics helps to
KEEP
IT
SUPER
SIMPLE