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PhD Scholar David Goble wins Best Oral Presentation at SASMA 2015

Date Released: Tue, 27 October 2015 12:06 +0200

David presented on the first phase of his PhD research. This was a pilot investigation into how cricket batsmen process information and how a prolonged batting simulation would affect information processing and hence cognitive performance.

"The relevance to cricket is paramount"


Asked about the relevance of this research for cricket play and performance, David writes: "the relevance to cricket is paramount. What we know from batting studies is that batting periods as short as seven overs is sufficient to induce physical fatigue. Thus short duration batting innings’ have the ability to impact both our physical and cognitive performance. The perforce implications of prolonged batting are less clear. Furthermore, when a batsman is required to face a delivery between 120 - 150 km/h, s/he has approximately 425 -530 ms from ball release to detect the ball, formulate a decision (play/leave), select a response and execute a shot. What this illustrates, is that batsmen are under severe time constraints when facing fast bowlers. However, there have been no studies that have attempted to quantify the demands of prolonged batting on cognition or on a batsmen’s ability to process information. What we lack an understanding in, is how prolonged batting impacts this processing ability and specifically what the implications for batting performance are. The current results suggest that a batsman’s ability to process information is reduced (although not significantly) in response to a fatigue-inducing prolonged batting spell. Hence, the initial time constrains placed on batsmen, become greater as fatigue instills, thus making batsmen more susceptible to errors in decision making."

 "A batsman's ability to process information is reduced"

Further research is always in order, as David concurs: "For me, I would still love to investigate how ball tracking (i.e. visual processing through eye-tracking) is affected by a similar protocol. In my opinion this is an important question to answer, as this may inform us whether or not it is the initial part of the processing chain experiences performance break down. While the CogState test battery suggested that there were significant changes to visual processing performance, I am of the opinion that a physical measure such as eye tracking could shed some light on this topic."

Congratulations David!


David Goble (left) pictured here with Riaad Moosa (SA comedian) and Lee Pote (right) and  at the SASMA conference dinner



An investigation into the cognitive dynamics of batting: Measurement of information processing in amateur cricket batsmen.

David Goble1 (MSc) and Candice Christie2 (BSc (Med) (Hons) Biokinetics, UCT; PhD, Rhodes)

1Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. 2Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Introduction: Batting in cricket is an exceptionally demanding task, requiring physical and mental strength. While batting, players must offset a number of factors to ensure ultimate concentration and performance. While the bowler and the forthcoming delivery are the primary concern; crowd dynamics, field placement, information from the coaching staff and captain, previous performance and personal factors all affect an individuals batting ability. In order to understand how batsmen cope with these factors, we must first understand the basic information processing capabilities of batsmen. These have yet to be established, and as such form the basis of this investigation.

Methods: Fifteen top order (1-5) amateur batsmen from the Eastern Cape of South Africa were recruited for this investigation (mean ± s: age 17 ± 0.92 years; stature 1.75 ± 0.07 m; body mass 78.29 ± 13.21 kg). Participants completed a six-stage, 30-over batting simulation (BATEX©) interspersed with five periods (pre, post 5, 15, 25 and 30 overs) of cognitive assessment (CogState brief test battery, Melbourne Australia). The simulation was selected for its ability to impose match-related demands on batsmen. The cognitive tests implemented were selected for their reliability and their validity in the assessment of cognitive function and information processing.

Results: Prolonged batting significantly (P<0.05) impaired high-order cognitive performance only. The Groton maze-learning task demonstrated that executive function was significantly impaired post batting. Task performance here illustrated a speed accuracy trade-off where significantly (P<0.05) faster processing speed came at the expense higher (P<0.05) error rates. In low order-tasks speed of processing and accuracy responses were unchanged.

Conclusion: We conclude that the duration of an inning is a key determinant of batting performance. Long duration innings’, when combined with shuttle running of the current intensity, are sufficient to instil physical fatigue which impairs higher-order cognitive processing. Contrastingly, shorter duration batting periods show an improved ability to processes task-relevant information. Coaches and managers should therefore utilise both prolonged batting spells and shorter innings’ to simulate these fatigue levels. This may allow batsmen to develop coping strategies when fatigued, which may contribute to match-readiness.

Corresponding Author:

David Goble

Mobile: +27 (72) 225 6909

Email: davegoble87@gmail.com