17 December 2003

When you are trying to find out how to be a better batsmen you should go to the best.

That’s exactly what University of Queensland researchers have done by looking at what visual skills elite batsmen have that make them better players.

And with the project funded by Cricket Australia and Queensland Academy of Sport, the researchers are also getting access to the best of the best through the Australian cricket team and the best rising stars through the Queensland Academy of Sport.

The research is being conducted by Sean Müller, a PhD student, Professor Bruce Abernethy and Dr Guy Wallis, from the School of Human Movement Studies, and Dr Damian Farrow from the Australian Institute of Sport.

Mr Müller said while reaction times for both novices and elite players can be similar, his project is trying to discover what visual cues these top players pick-up from a bowler that makes them that much better.

And they are using the latest in video technology available through UQ’s Information Technology Services to do it.

“We filmed bowlers from a batsmen’s perspective and then, through video manipulation, we occluded different parts of the delivery such as all the information after the ball is released,” Mr Müller said.

“We then get the batsmen to watch the video and predict the type of ball bowled.

“Next we remove individual body parts, such as the hand or the arm, from the footage of the bowler and measure how this alters the batsman’s prediction of ball type.”

What Mr Müller hopes the research will lead to is a way of reliably anticipating a bowler’s delivery so batsmen are better prepared.

“By getting those visual cues from the players at the highest level then we can design a training program not only to make current players better but also use it to identify and train the next generation of batsmen – the talented juniors.

“I just think back to club training that was about fielding balls and short batting sessions.

“With a tool like this practice could be made more interesting and productive.”

Media: For more information contact Sean Müller (telephone 0415 915 918) or Jan King at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 1120).