With the much anticipated World Cup Cricket Match this week, enthused fans bombard their Facebook statuses with emotional convictions, showing their loyalty to their favorite team. Cricket is similar to baseball, although it s played with two teams of 11 players each. The similarities are batting and scoring runs with the length of play measured in innings. But this is about where the similarities end. Except for the fact, that with any sport, you must prepare for the cricket match mentally before playing the game. Mental preparation is often overlooked in club cricket. Mainly because it seems more complex than it really is.
Independent studies by Alistair McRobert from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, and Dr Sean Müller from RMIT University in Australia, have both concluded that the very best batsmen can predict the sort of ball they will receive even before the ball leaves the bowler’s hand.
Müller stated that mediocre batsmen do not pick up on the subtle clues given off by a bowler, showing that perhaps the importance of psychology in cricket is even deeper than we might have first thought.
The study found that skilled batsmen pick up information from the bowlers “central body features (head-shoulders, trunk-hip)” and less skilled batsmen rely on clues in the bowler’s hand and ball position.
Tests also focused on the eye-movements of the batsmen using head mounted optics and high speed cameras to try and understand the subconscious decision making of the batsman.
The work also suggests that match context determines how a batsman makes his decisions, and so coaching sessions could be designed to focus on the aspects of the game that play with the mind, rather than aspects of a batsman’s technique.
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