Cognitive, physical and physiological responses of school boy cricketers to a 30-over batting simulation

October 5, 2016

Authors: David Goble, Candice Jo-Anne Christie

Journal: Journal of Sports Sciences

DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1211731

Year Published: 2016

The purpose of this study was to assess how cognitive and physical performance are affected during a prolonged, fatigue-inducing cricket-batting simulation. Fifteen amateur batters from three Eastern Cape schools in South Africa were recruited (mean ± SD: age 17 ± 0.92 years; stature 1.75 ± 0.07 m; body mass 78.3 ± 13.2 kg). Participants completed a 6-stage, 30-over batting simulation (BATEX©). During the protocol, there were five periods of cognitive assessment (CogState brief test battery, Melbourne, Australia). The primary outcome measures from each cognitive task were speed and accuracy/error rates. Physiological (heart rate) and physical (sprint times) responses were also recorded. Sprint times deteriorated (d = 0.84; P < 0.01) while physiological responses increased (d = 0.91; P < 0.01) as batting duration increased, with longest times and highest responses occurring in the final stage. Prolonged batting had a large effect on executive task performance (d = 0.85; P = 0.03), and moderate effects on visual attention and vigilance (d = 0.56; P = 0.21) and attention and working memory (d = 0.61; P = 0.11), reducing task performance after 30 overs. Therefore, prolonged batting with repeated shuttle running fatigues amateur batters and adversely affects higher-order cognitive function. This will affect decision-making, response selection, response execution and other batting-related executive processes. We recommend that training should incorporate greater proportions of centre-wicket batting with repeated, high-intensity shuttle running. This will improve batting-related skills and information processing when fatigued, making practice more representative of competition.

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