Howszat!- Bangor & the ECB expand their ground breaking cricket training program
As the cricket season builds up steam Bangor University’s School of Sports, Health & Exercise Sciences, in collaboration with the English and Wales Cricket Board, is launching a new training programme that is the first of its kind.
The team of six lead by Professor Lewis Hardy seeks to improve upon traditional training methods, which take a group approach, by instead focusing on the individual needs of the players. The programme will profile participants with the aim of enhancing performance under pressure in elite cricketers through individualised support and training techniques.
The expansion of this programme follows a very successful pilot program in 2016, lead by Prof. Hardy that focused on five players identified by the ECB as having considerable potential. In the current project, there are nineteen players from six county clubs who will be taking part.
As players develop through their career they will likely face situations with ever increasing amounts of pressure (e.g., Initial 1st team appearance, first major final, first England appearance, etc.). Players who are likely to face significant pressures in the coming season are identified by their club and enrolled onto the training programme. These players characteristics are then profiled using techniques such as interviews with coaches, psychological profiles and computer and physical tests. This data is analysed by the research team who come up with individualised training techniques and regimes for each player.
Collaboration is described a key to the programme’s success. The coaches on the ground contribute personal knowledge of players and practical experience and the researchers utilise their academic understanding of performance to deliver a more scientific approach to planning training
Project lead Professor Lewis Hardy described the importance of collaboration saying, "This collaborative project with the ECB is quite unique in its approach and will have considerable impact on both professional cricket in the UK and the delivery of applied sport psychology services more generally."
Prof Hardy’s team is part of the Institute for Psychology Of Elite Performance (IPEP) which is the largest concentration of performance based researchers in the country. The team consists of academics who bring a diverse set of subject skills which helps create a more complete picture of athlete development from analysis both psychological and physiological.
The project is part of a push from the ECB to reduce the performance gap between clubs at the county and national level and comes after ten years of collaboration between them and the university. This project is another example of the type of impact activity based on research expertise that saw the School of Sports, Health & Exercise Sciences perform so well in the most recent REF where it was ranked as 7th in the UK alongside other elite university departments.
This training programme is currently focused on male cricket; however, the research team anticipate that the techniques and methods developed during this project will be employed across other sports in the future.
By Joshua Jenkins – Journalism Student
Publication date: 3 July 2017