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Richard M. Greenwald, Lori H. Penna, and Joseph J. Crisco

Differences in the performance of wood and metal baseball bats, measured as a function of batted ball speed, were quantified in a batting cage study. Two wood and five metal baseball bat models were studied with 19 players of various levels of experience ranging from high school to professional. Batted ball speeds from 538 hits were computed from high-speed 3-D ball position data collected with a commercially available system. In general, metal bats had significantly higher batted ball speeds than wood bats. Of the five metal bat models studied, one outperformed all other models and one bat was most similar to wood bats. The average difference in batted ball speed between wood bats and the highest performing metal bat was approximately 9 mph. Maximum batted ball speeds of 101 and 106 mph were measured for wood and metal bats, respectively. Increased skill level significantly increased the maximum batted ball speeds generated independent of bat model. Players of all experience levels were able to generate batted ball speeds in excess of 100 mph. While the results of this study are limited to the specific bats tested, this is the first study to measure and report differences in batted ball speeds among wood and metal bats.

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Paraskevi Giagazoglou, Athanasios Katis, Eleftherios Kellis, and Christos Natsikas

The purpose of the current study was to examine the kinematic differences during instep soccer kicks between players who were blind and sighted controls. Eleven male soccer players who were blind and nine male sighted performed instep kicks under static and dynamic conditions. The results indicated significantly higher (p < .05) ball speed velocities (20.81m/sec) and ball/foot speed ratio values (1.35) for soccer players who were blind during the static kick compared with sighted players (16.16m/sec and 1.23, respectively). Significant group effect on shank and foot angular velocity was observed during the static kicking condition (p < .05), while no differences were found during the dynamic kicking condition (p > .05). Despite the absence of vision, systematic training could have beneficial effects on technical skills, allowing athletes who are blind to develop skill levels comparable to sighted athletes.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Michael J. Rainbow, and Eileen Wang

In the last decade, dramatic changes in lacrosse stick design are believed to be associated with changes in the play of the game; however, there is a limited understanding of how the lacrosse stick propels the ball. We predicted that the lacrosse stick would perform as a passive extension of the player’s hand and hypothesized that ball shot speed would be equal to the speed at the tip of the stick. Ball and shot kinematics of 16 male and 16 female lacrosse players using four various stick models were tracked at 250 Hz. The speed of the ball was compared with the speed at the tip of the stick, calculated by assuming the stick behaved as a rigid body. Ball shot speeds with men’s sticks were on average 3.5 m/s (7.8 mph) faster than the calculated speed at the stick tip, and ball shot speeds with women’s sticks were on average 0.7 m/s (1.5 mph) faster than stick tip speed. Some lacrosse stick models can shoot the ball significantly faster than predicted when considering the stick as a rigid, passive extension of the player’s hands.

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Peter J. Worthington, Mark A. King, and Craig A. Ranson

The aim of this study was to identify the key aspects of technique that characterize the fastest bowlers. Kinematic data were collected for 20 elite male fast bowlers with 11 kinematic parameters calculated, describing elements of fast bowling technique that have previously been linked to ball release speed. Four technique variables were identified as being the best predictors of ball release speed, explaining 74% of the observed variation in ball release speed. The results indicate that the fastest bowlers have a quicker run-up and maintain a straighter knee throughout the front foot contact phase. The fastest bowlers were also observed to exhibit larger amounts of upper trunk flexion up to ball release and to delay the onset of arm circumduction. This study identifies those technique variables that best explain the differences in release speeds among fast bowlers. These results are likely to be useful in both the coaching and talent identification of fast bowlers.

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Ed Maunder, Andrew E. Kilding, and Simeon P. Cairns

The manifestations of fatigue during fast bowling in cricket were systematically evaluated using subjective reports by cricket experts and quantitative data published from scientific studies. Narratives by international players and team physiotherapists were sourced from the Internet using criteria for opinion-based evidence. Research articles were evaluated for high-level fast bowlers who delivered 5- to 12-over spells with at least 1 quantitative fatigue measure. Anecdotes indicate that a long-term loss of bowling speed, tiredness, mental fatigue, and soreness occur. Scientific research shows that ball-release speed, bowling accuracy, bowling action (technique), run-up speed, and leg-muscle power are generally well maintained during bowling simulations. However, bowlers displaying excessive shoulder counterrotation toward the end of a spell also show a fall in accuracy. A single notable study involving bowling on 2 successive days in the heat showed reduced ball-release speed (–4.4 km/h), run-up speed (–1.3 km/h), and accuracy. Moderate to high ratings of perceived exertion transpire with simulations and match play (6.5–7.5 Borg CR-10 scale). Changes of blood lactate, pH, glucose, and core temperature appear insufficient to impair muscle function, although several potential physiological fatigue factors have not been investigated. The limited empirical evidence for bowling-induced fatigue appears to oppose player viewpoints and indicates a paradox. However, this may not be the case since bowling simulations resemble the shorter formats of the game but not multiday (test match) cricket or the influence of an arduous season, and comments of tiredness, mental fatigue, and soreness signify phenomena different from what scientists measure as fatigue.

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Sophie Speariett and Ross Armstrong

positively correlated to increased ball velocity. 28 Furthermore, the study by Gulgin et al 27 limited the measurement of performance variables to golf swing faults and did not directly measure performance utilizing variables such as a player’s handicap, clubhead speed, side accuracy, ball speed, peak

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Fang-Yu Hsu, Kuei-Lan Tsai, Chia-Lun Lee, Wen-Dien Chang, and Nai-Jen Chang

and badminton, table tennis players are reported to be more agile at side stepping. 3 In addition, table tennis stroke skills are also crucial, which can be quantified by ball speed. Therefore, power, agility, and ball speed play essential roles in a table tennis player’s ability to win competitions

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Matt Greig and Benjamin Child

release speed, while acknowledging a need to retain accuracy. McNamara et al 13 recently commented that bowling at faster velocities is likely to require greater effort and place greater load on the bowler. However, if ball speed can be retained from a shorter delivery, then loading on the bowler could

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Michael J.A. Speranza, Tim J. Gabbett, David A. Greene, Rich D. Johnston, and Andrew D. Townshend

-the-ball and over-the-ball tackle abilities. Over-the-ball tackle ability was positively associated with the proportion of dominant tackles ( r s  = .52; 95% CI, .07 to .79, P  = .03) and average play-the-ball speeds ( r s  = .50; 95% CI, .04 to .78, P  = .03). Furthermore, over-the-ball tackle ability was

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Graeme G. Sorbie, Fergal M. Grace, Yaodong Gu, Julien S. Baker, and Ukadike C. Ugbolue

maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) before and after the golf practice session. The current study also aimed to investigate the changes, if any, in club head speed, ball speed, and absolute carry distance when performing the golf practice session. It was hypothesized that the golf practice session would