Member Article

World Cup footballs set to put off goalkeepers

The new footballs used in the World Cup are likely to ‘bamboozle’ goalkeepers, scientists have observed. The ball, which has an unusual pattern of panels, has already been criticised by England and Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson for its light weight and unpredictable behaviour. The Adidas Teamgeist football has just 14 panels, making its surface considerably smoother than conventional footballs which have 26 or 32 panel hexagon-based pattern. This, according to scientists, makes the ball less aerodynamically stable, giving it a more unpredictable trajectory in flight.Dr Ken Bray, a sports scientists at the University of Bath and author of ‘How to Score – Science and the Beautiful Game’, said: “Because the Teamgeist ball has just 14 panels it is aerodynamically more similar to the baseball which only has two panels.” “In baseball, pitchers often throw a ‘curve ball’ which is similar to a swerving free kick and the rotating seam disrupts the air flow around the ball in much the same way as a football does. “Occasionally though, pitchers will throw a ‘knuckleball’ which bobs about randomly in flight and is very disconcerting for batters. “It happens because pitchers throw the ball with very little spin and as the ball rotates lazily in the air, the seam disrupts the air flow around the ball at certain points on the surface, causing an unpredictable deflection.“With the world’s best players in Germany this summer, there are bound to be plenty of spectacular scoring free kicks. “But watch the slow motion replays to spot the rare occasions where the ball produces little or no rotation and where goalkeepers will attempt to keep up with the ball’s chaotic flight path.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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