Studies in several sports have shown the benefits of adapting the playing environment to fit junior players. Frequently the changes are pragmatic choices based on space constraints or existing line markings, or the result of simple scaling based on stature. In this study, a method of scaling the cricket pitch length is presented which is based on the age-specific size and performance of the bowlers and batters. The objective was a pitch length which enabled young bowlers to bowl good length deliveries while releasing the ball at a more downward angle, similar to elite bowlers. The steeper release angle has the benefit of reducing the sensitivity of the ball flight distance to the variability of ball release. Based on data from county standard under-10 and under-11 players a pitch length of 16.22 yards (14.83┬ám) was calculated, 19% shorter than previously recommended for under-11s in England. A shorter pitch also increases the temporal challenge for batters, encouraging a wider variety of shots and improved anticipation skills. Pitch lengths scaled in this way to fit the players’ abilities as they develop will enable a more consistent ball release by bowlers and more consistent temporal demand for batters.

References

PubMed