Previous experiences can influence individual cricket spin bowlers’ perceptions of affordances in the performance landscape

Rian H. Crowther, Ian Renshaw, Wayne A. Spratford, Mark G. Sayers, Adam D. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ecological dynamics framework emphasises that movement solutions are guided by the relationship that exists between the performer and their environment, scaled to an individual’s own action capabilities. This suggests that representative practice tasks should be used in high performance settings to encourage individually optimised movement solutions for both team and individual sports. This study specifically focuses on individual cricket spin bowlers and aims to understand the influence of their prior learning experiences on their perceptual attunement strategies when tasked with performing on a familiar Australian cricket pitch and a less familiar bespoke international (Indian) pitch. Two right hand leg spin bowlers that were part of a group of eight emerging expert spin bowlers were chosen for individual analysis. Bowler A reported 80 prior experiences of bowling on subcontinental (i.e., India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh) pitches whereas Bowler B had only 20 prior experiences. Overall, both bowlers’ outcome performances either met or exceeded their expectations. Bowler A chose to calibrate his bowling style on the less familiar pitch to improve the fit between his delivery characteristics and the environmental pitch conditions, whereas Bowler B maintained his bowling style, even though he recognised a difference in the pitch conditions. Therefore, Bowler A maintained stable performance outcomes by implementing flexible movement solutions. In contrast, while Bowler B achieved his expected performance outcomes, his lack of diverse learning experiences may limit his action capabilities, although more performance trials are needed to confirm this conclusion. Regardless, this study demonstrates that there is valuable information in knowing how a player achieves a successful result, which should be coupled with performance outcomes to help create individualised development strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1742
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2023


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