Mixed-method pre-cooling reduces physiological demand without improving performance of medium-fast bowling in the heat

Geoffrey M Minett, Rob Duffield, Aaron Kellett, Marc Portus
Journal of Sports Sciences 2012, 30 (9): 907-15
This study examined physiological and performance effects of pre-cooling on medium-fast bowling in the heat. Ten, medium-fast bowlers completed two randomised trials involving either cooling (mixed-methods) or control (no cooling) interventions before a 6-over bowling spell in 31.9±2.1°C and 63.5±9.3% relative humidity. Measures included bowling performance (ball speed, accuracy and run-up speeds), physical characteristics (global positioning system monitoring and counter-movement jump height), physiological (heart rate, core temperature, skin temperature and sweat loss), biochemical (serum concentrations of damage, stress and inflammation) and perceptual variables (perceived exertion and thermal sensation). Mean ball speed (114.5±7.1 vs. 114.1±7.2 km · h(-1); P = 0.63; d = 0.09), accuracy (43.1±10.6 vs. 44.2±12.5 AU; P = 0.76; d = 0.14) and total run-up speed (19.1±4.1 vs. 19.3±3.8 km · h(-1); P = 0.66; d = 0.06) did not differ between pre-cooling and control respectively; however 20-m sprint speed between overs was 5.9±7.3% greater at Over 4 after pre-cooling (P = 0.03; d = 0.75). Pre-cooling reduced skin temperature after the intervention period (P = 0.006; d = 2.28), core temperature and pre-over heart rates throughout (P = 0.01-0.04; d = 0.96-1.74) and sweat loss by 0.4±0.3 kg (P = 0.01; d = 0.34). Mean rating of perceived exertion and thermal sensation were lower during pre-cooling trials (P = 0.004-0.03; d = 0.77-3.13). Despite no observed improvement in bowling performance, pre-cooling maintained between-over sprint speeds and blunted physiological and perceptual demands to ease the thermoregulatory demands of medium-fast bowling in hot conditions.

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