The microstructure of practice activities engaged in by elite and recreational youth cricket players

J. Low, A. Mark Williams, Allistair P. McRobert, Paul Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Practice plays an important role in skill acquisition, although not all practice is of equal quality. We examined the types of team practice activities in four groups of youth cricket players. The groups were recreational- and elite-children (9 to 12 years of age) and recreational- and elite-adolescent players (13 to 17 years of age). Time motion analysis recorded the duration in two types of practice activities, namely, Training Form and Playing Form. Training Form is mainly drill-type activities, whereas Playing Form is mainly games-based activities. Training Form activity is thought to contain fewer opportunities to develop the perceptual, cognitive and motor skills required for successful performance in competition when compared to Playing Form. Session duration was a mean value of 95,s = 29 min. All players combined spent 69% of session time in Training Form activity and 19% in Playing Form, with the remaining percentage of time spent in transition between activities. Recreational-children spent around half of their time in Playing Form activity, whereas both elite and adolescent groups spent little or no time in this activity. Findings from this research highlight a gap between research and practice that may not be optimal for skill acquisition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1250
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2013


  • systematic observation
  • time use analysis
  • skill acquisition
  • learning


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