The use of wearable microtechnology to monitor the external load of fast bowling is challenged by the inherent variability of bowling techniques between bowlers. This study assessed the between-bowlers variability in PlayerLoad, bowling velocity, and performance execution across repeated bowling spells.
Seven national-level fast bowlers completed two 6-over bowling spells at a batter during a competitive training session. Key dependent variables were PlayerLoad calculated with a MinimaxX microtechnology unit, ball velocity, and bowling execution based on a predetermined bowling strategy for each ball bowled. The between-bowlers coefficient of variation (CV), repeated-measures ANOVA, and smallest worthwhile change were calculated over the 2 repeated 6-over bowling spells and explored across 12-over, 6-over, and 3-over bowling segments.
From the sum of 6 consecutive balls, the between-bowlers CV for relative peak PlayerLoad was 1.2% over the 12-over bowling spell (P = .15). During this 12-over period, bowling-execution (P = .43) scores and ball-velocity (P = .31) CVs were calculated as 46.0% and 0.4%, respectively.
PlayerLoad was found to be stable across the repeated bowling spells in the fast-bowling cohort. Measures of variability and change across the repeated bowling spells were consistent with the performance measure of ball velocity. The stability of PlayerLoad improved when assessed relative to the individual’s peak PlayerLoad. Only bowling-execution measures were found to have high variability across the repeated bowling spells. PlayerLoad provides a stable measure of external workload between fast bowlers.