Study shows how crucial water is for cricketers' performance

Hydration is hugely important for cricketers - whatever level they play at
Hydration is hugely important for cricketers - whatever level they play at
©REUTERS / Action Images
 
The study revealed a significant drop in performance in players who had their fluid intake restricted
The study revealed a significant drop in performance in players who had their fluid intake restricted
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

Scientists from the University of Stirling have shown how dehydration impairs the motor skills of cricketers and significantly impacts their on-field performance.

The first study which fully assessed the effects of dehydration on skills specific to cricket, including throwing and bowling speed and accuracy as well as running speed found that both speed and accuracy was reduced when players were moderately to severely dehydrated.

There was also a significant reduction in throwing speed and accuracy for overarm and sidearm throws and sidearm accuracy dropped by some 22 per cent.

The researchers from Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence found bowlers experienced a drop in bowling speed and accuracy. The drop in accuracy was an average of 20 per cent.

Batsmen were not as severely affected by dehydration but they did take longer to complete three runs and they slowed down by an average of two per cent.

Commenting on the study, Dr Stuart Galloway of the Faculty of Health and Sciences and Sport said:

"The large majority of players we observed suffered diminished abilities in fielding and bowling when dehydrated.

"In particular, 85 per cent of the fielders and bowlers we studied were unable to maintain levels of speed and accuracy when dehydrated.

"It is crucial that cricketers take sufficient fluids during prolonged periods of play as we now know the true impact this has on performance across different aspects of the game.

"Playing in hot, humid conditions means players can lose a lot of fluid quickly. They need to consider how best to keep hydrated so their performance does not suffer.

"We suggest keeping body weight loss to within one per cent of initial hydrated weight, so the average male would not want to lose more than around 750ml of fluid."

A group fo 30 elite cricketers from the Sri Lankan national training squad conducted the trials in two field trials which were held seven days apart.

In each trial, a two-hour standardised training session with skills assessed before and after each session.

Cricketers training in hot and humid conditions were hydrated properly in one session and then had their fluid intake restricted in the other.

© Cricket World 2016