'Hard evidence' backing up county cricket coaches
County cricket is behind other sports on the tech front but that does not mean it is not embracing technology in many ways.
While the national cricket team has been seen wearing GPS trackers, financial pressures at club level are a limiting factor.
Lancashire Country Cricket Club, however, employs Chris Benbow as a first team analyst and uses video apps on smartphones in training plus cameras around the pitch that collect live data during a match.
“During every game I’ll be sitting with a laptop, with a camera at each end of the field, to capture the data during a match,” he tells BusinessCloud.
“That laptop will be connected to another low-spec laptop that collates the data into a big table and breaks it into easily assessable parts.
“It looks at where the ball’s been bowled, where it’s gone on to be hit and whether it was a defensive or an attacking shot and how many runs have followed.
“That’s done for every game, home and away, and it means we can create a map of where the ball lands from being bowled and what usually follows on from that.”
Information is relayed to the coaching staff and reviewed during lunch and tea in longer matches and can be used to make decisions about fielding players.
Other equipment used during training includes a force plate – a 1 sqm rubber mat connected to a laptop – to measure counter movement jumps and the pressure a bowler has on their front leg going through the floor.
If the plate finds a player is pushing on their legs excessively it may be recommended that they do more pulling to strengthen the muscles.
Benbow adds: “We also look at how this relates to speed; if they can take fractions of a second off their 10/15 metre sprints, that means we can be quicker to the ball and we’re going to have more successes.
“The stuff that we can prove now using data is exceptional; you’re not just giving opinions anymore, it’s hard evidence.
“For the players it means there’s nowhere to hide, if you’ve not met your targets or exceeded your skills then the data will reflect that.”
'Freddie' Flintoff told BusinessCloud recently that he feels he would not have been the same player had today's technology been around when he was growing up with the game.