Sunday, November 20th, 2011
With the great success of Vibram FiveFingers it was only going to be a matter of time before one of the big brands created a similar product. The Adidas AdiPure gets over the patent by changing its toe construction – perhaps?
Friday, September 16th, 2011
For those of you that have grown up playing the beautiful game (soccer, Global Football, or just football), I wonder how many weeks, hours or minutes you have spent being coached how to strike the ball? From my personal experience, albeit not at a professional level, I remember having 2 training sessions as a youngster. These involved demonstrations and being told in detail how to strike the ball for both power and curling kicks (as an aside the curling kick was introduced to the world in the 1950’s when a Brazilian by the name of Didi unleashed his revolutionary strike).
Now that I come to think about it, striking the ball is such a key component of the game, how did I not receive more training on the intricacies of striking the ball? Of course individually and as a team we did practise striking the ball… a lot, however the feedback on the kick was always based on the outcome of the kick rather than analysing the technique of it! Undoubtedly practice does make perfect, proven beyond any doubt to anyone who has read the book Bounce by Matthew Syed, however the overwhelming message in the book is it’s not just about practising, but more importantly practising with purpose, continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
To illustrate the complexities involved with striking the ball, David Beckham’s free kick has been analysed by experts citing that it is the topspin that he is able to impart upon the ball that allows it to dip. To the novice and some experts, this sounds like a reasonable explanation (anyone who has played tennis or table-tennis will also appreciate the noticeable effects of imparting top spin onto the ball). However according to Bartek Sylwestrzak’s analysis of the Beckham free kick, ‘He actually puts very little topspin on the ball, and often none at all’. It is gravity (evident in all shots ever taken by any level of footballer) that allows Beckham’s shots to dip. As his shots have little or no top spin on the ball, his best free kicks are more often than not taken from long range, rather than from the very edge of the box.
A player that has no problems striking the ball from the very edge of the penalty box, as he is able to place topspin on the ball is a Brazilian by the name of Juninho Pernambucano. Check out the video clip showing some of his goals from last season… Watch out for the strike from just outside of the 18 yard box whereby the ball goes over the wall and then bounces before the goal line, before going in, not something I was ever taught to do. And yes you are right this is possible due to the dip he gets on the ball by applying topspin. His free kick taking stats are incredible, at Lyon alone scoring 44 goals in 8 seasons; please let us know if anyone else in the world at the elite level has a better free kick record.
I am very impressed by Juninho’s striking ability, it must be stated that Marcos Assunçăo is another Brazilian maestro of kicking the ball with great technique and capable of imparting topspin onto the ball, but who is teaching these guys to strike the ball in such a way? I’ve tracked down a coach that does understand the intricacies of striking a dead ball, it would be great if England’s current and future free kick takers could learn from him…
As a final point, having watched the English Premier League over the past few seasons Xabi Alonso and Charlie Adam seem to effortlessly, consistently and with great accuracy stroke the ball around the pitch. As a sports engineer it to me seems very apparent that there is a severe lack of technology and coaching expertise being used by professional and amateur football clubs alike to assist young aspiring footballers to hone their abilities when it comes to striking the ball in order to replicate top professional such as Alonso, Adam, Juninho and Assunçăo.
Article by Jouni Ronkainen
Thursday, August 18th, 2011
New iphone app to measure your feet before going online. Have a look!
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
I purchased these boots prior to playing a 2 day Ultimate Frisbee tournament. This was the teams biggest tournament of the year and without any time to ‘wear’ them in, the boots needed to be comfortable and supporting whilst being waterproof and allowing efficient foot movement and control. There was no bigger stage for me to test the new boots, which largely fulfilled my expectations.
Moisture magnet and breathability
Keeping the foot cool and dry reduces weight and boosts total efficiency. Under Armour HeatGearTM technology has been placed in the upper and performance meshes throughout the shoe to speed up moisture transport and accelerate evaporation. This technology maintains a dry, light microclimate next to the skin, moving moisture away from the foot to the shoes exterior. The tongue is constructed from a highly breathable air mesh which helps accelerate moisture transport and enable ventilated comfort.
Dual Plate Technology
The dual plate design splits the outsole into two components to reduce bulk and complements the foots natural motion. It is claimed to maximise agility and minimise weight, through material reduction. The dual plate design keeps the foot low to the ground for precise moves and explosive acceleration. The insole boards disperse cleat pressure and bridge the space between heel and forefoot, ensuring lightweight mid-foot support and forefoot flexibility. The shoe has been engineered to propel the user forward and reduce the impact on the body.
Progressive traction reinvents the traditional round football stud, implementing a built-in directional blade at the base of each stud. The round portion penetrates the ground and maintains rotational capability, while the blade offers additional directional traction.
After wearing these boots for prolonged periods of game time over the course of two days, I can firmly say that I have no issues with comfort. The support and traction provided by the boot both when sprinting into a jump and making hard cuts seemed was second to none and there were no obvious cases of slipping or ankle turning. This is more so highlighted when taking into account the playing conditions I encountered. Following heavy periods of rain, the ground was very muddy and soft, conditions that worsened as the weekend progressed with more play and bad weather. In such conditions it wouldn’t be surprising for water to infiltrate the boot, however at the end of the weekends play this problem had never transpired, with the breathability and waterproofing of the shoe proving to be very successful.
Where I felt the downfall of the shoe came, was in its weight. The show was marketed as being very light, I however did not find this to be the case. The increased weight probably does help with the stability and structure of the boot, but I suspect that when running over dry hard ground the weight of the boot would severely affect the performance of the user.
Overall I feel the boot is very good and provides value for money. However I would suggest that this boot is best suited for use in winter where the ground can soft and muddy in unpredictable weather conditions. Levels of ankle support are high, and I would recommend the boot to a user that participates in a sport which requires jumping, cutting and pushing.
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Most of you know that Phil Knight rarely does an interview, so take this opportunity to watch a few snippets on http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Nikes-Phil-Knight . Phil talks about the Nike name, the “swoosh”, branding and how he is trying to develop sport through technology and innovation. There is also a brief video on Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregan. Great facilities which look like a dream to future employees, wink wink nudge nudge.