Representative task design in cricket batting

  • Karl Stevenson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In recent years researchers have argued that in order to fully understand perceptual cognitive expertise in sports, representative tasks must be used to preserve the tightly coupled links between perception and action that experts exploit. Previously, tasks have been considered as representative or not, with little evidence existing to indicate the degree to which a task is representative enough. This thesis primarily aimed to investigate experimentally representative tasks in cricket batting and the degree to which a laboratory-based task of cricket batting was able to represent batters’ emergent perceptuo-motor behaviour for perceiving bowlers’ delivery length. A secondary aim was to re-evaluate perceptuo-motor behaviours thought to contribute to skilled performance and their development. In chapter 2 skilled batsmen’s foot movements were recorded in response to balls bowled to a range of lengths under in situ and video-based laboratory conditions. Kinematic analyses quantified decision-making skill and movement scaling. Analyses revealed the laboratory condition to have a high degree of fidelity. Skilled batter’s Foot movements were reliably replicated and differences were found compared to a novice group. In chapter 3, response mode, occlusion condition and skill level were compared on the representative laboratory test developed in chapter 2. Analyses identified that skilled performance was only aided by maintaining coupled responses under occluded conditions, whilst no differences were observed under un-occluded conditions. Skilled performers were also shown to possess greater anticipation skills compared with novices under both coupled and un-coupled conditions. In Chapter 4, the effects of manipulating information present in situ, through simulated ball flight, and fully simulated training aids were compared in a novel experimental paradigm. Skilled batsmen faced deliveries across a range of lengths from a bowler (in situ), from a bowling machine (simulated ball flight) and from a ProBatter simulator (fully simulated action and ball flight). Results showed that simulated ball flight condition resulted in foot movements that were closer to in situ than the fully simulated condition, suggesting that if present, the link between bowling action and ball flight needs to be tightly coupled. These results demonstrate for the first time that representative tasks must not be considered unilaterally as representative or not, but instead the degree of representativeness should be quantified and evaluated against the expert behaviour under investigation. Determination of the degree of representativeness would allow researchers to apply findings to the performance environment with greater knowledge of their potential impact.
Date of AwardOct 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorNicholas Smeeton (Supervisor), Bill Filby (Supervisor) & Neil Maxwell (Supervisor)

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