Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/about-us/high-performance-cricket/about/sports-science

Sports Science

Pat Cummins 

Cricket Australia’s Sport Science Sport Medicine (SSSM) Unit is administered from the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. The SSSM unit operates to provide Australian cricket with a competitive advantage on the world stage. The Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian academic sector are key partners in the sport science sport medicine program. Major focus areas are outlined below.

Scientific and Medical Research and Development

Target research areas are prioritized by Cricket Australia in consultation with key stakeholders such as state and territory cricket associations, high performance program staff and the Australian Institute of Sport. Cricket Australia also collaborates with specialist sport science and medical experts as part of the Sport Science Medicine Advisory Group (SSMAG). Cricket Australia runs a yearly research grant scheme for Australian based researchers interested in conducting studies into the scientific and medical aspects of cricket. The SSMAG plays a key role in reviewing these proposals and providing advice to Cricket Australia regarding the proposals scientific rigor, feasibility and practical benefits to cricket. Much of this research is conducted through the external grant system or through internal PhD scholarship holders.

Universities who have made significant contributions to the research and development strategy of Australian cricket include The University of Western Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, Charles Sturt University, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, James Cook University and the National Heat Training and Acclimatisation Centre. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra has been a key partner in many sport science research projects through a shared Cricket Australia and AIS scientific employee and scholarship agreement.

Cricket Australia advertises on this website when research funding proposals are due, which is typically in the last quarter of each year. Research priorities typically have an athlete injury prevention and performance enhancement bias. Research proposals need to be well designed and adhere to the application guidelines.

Technical development of Australian cricket high performance programs

This area addresses the technical infrastructure of high performance programs across the country to enable a consistent approach to tracking talented cricketers from the backyard to baggygreen. This involves the implementation of standardised fitness assessments, medical and physiotherapy screening protocols on a routine basis. National working groups, with representatives from state associations in physiotherapy, fitness and medicine meet annually to review data and assess relationships to injury and performance. Benchmarking current practice against world best practice is an important strategy of these working groups.

A key SSSM Unit function is to provide strength and conditioning services to high performance programs in Australian cricket. This covers the Australian women’s program (AIS Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars), Australian women’s youth squad (Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars), Centre of Excellence men’s program (AIS Scholarship holders) and the Australian U/19 men’s squad. Case management of nationally contracted male and female players and AIS scholarship holders when sustaining injury ensures athletes receive best practice and treatment continuity. This involves working closely with Australian teams and state association medical and support staff to promote an effective return to play for injured athletes.

The Australian men’s cricket team receives long term sport science support as well as servicing on an as needs basis. Longer term projects with the team include quantification of match workloads using GPS technology, innovative methods to supplement skills training and detailed anthropometric profiling to monitor player physical capacities.

Communication and collaboration

To maximize integration of science and medicine in Australian cricket strong collaborations are required between administrators, team support staff, athletes, scientists and coaches. To this end all research and development initiatives are undertaken with a clear understanding of the practical benefits to cricket. Key stakeholders in the Australian cricket high performance system are important for this objective, with national working group members representing a vehicle for a national coordinated approach to science and medicine in Australian cricket.

The Cricket Australia Sport Science Sport Medicine conference is held every second year and is our showcase event to disseminate the latest findings from Cricket Australia’s investment in research and development.

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