Into the attack: the weapons our fast bowlers will use to slay this summer’s opposition
May 26, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
Guided-missile technology is being used to hone the attack of our elite fast bowlers, thanks to break-through work by Australian sports scientists.
Researchers at Australian Catholic University have developed a “torpedo technology” algorithm to measure the intensity of the effort used by top bowlers like Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.
The Missile-guiding technology - the same used to navigate submarines, guided missiles and spacecraft - is implanted into wearable units which the Australian cricket team is now using it in preparation for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
The algorithm relies on the interaction of accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes housed within the wearables to measure performance.
Research co-author Dean McNamara explains that once the algorithm detects a delivery, a measure of bowling intensity can be attached to that individual delivery via the accelerometer and gyroscope technology.
"Tagging individual balls with an intensity measure provides immediate analysis such as identifying effort balls or a drop in performance due to fatigue, or it can help with longer term workload analysis," he said.
“The accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes offered a stable measure of bowling 'load' across repeated bowling spells.
"Measuring bowling intensity for individual balls or sessions provides context for the acute and chronic workload of the individual bowler, and ultimately the preparedness of the bowler for the maximal workload of the immediate competition.
“Automated measures of bowling workload and intensity provide opportunity to enhance the monitoring of fast bowling preparation for both injury prevention and performance outcomes."
The wearables can be used in a range of sports including rugby, tennis, and football, but researchers felt cricket’s need was greatest because new forms of the game were causing a lack of respite for fast bowlers.
“An over is a measure of workload - six consecutive deliveries by a bowler, with a delivery carrying the ball to the batsman 20 metres away at speeds varying from 80 to 160km per hour,” said co-author Dr Tim Gabbett.
"Across the three forms of cricket, a bowler's workload may vary from four to 60 overs.
"Because of this varying workload and intensity, cricket provides a complex challenge for clinicians and coaches.
“Arguably, no other professional sport has experienced greater changes in competitive workload demands than cricket over the past ten years; perhaps most specifically via the introduction of T20 cricket."
The university is using the technology to help professional sporting teams around the world, including the Welsh rugby union team who play the All Blacks in a three-test series starting on 11 June.