Sorry for lack of posts recently!

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Sportstechreview is going through a bit of a redesign at the minute, we will keep adding good quality content but not at the same rate as before for the next couple of weeks.
Thanks for your patience,
Bryan

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In Search of the Perfect Free Kick

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…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa2NkUW6WLE

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

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Posted in Balls, Boots, Football and soccer, Goalkeepers, Jouni Ronkainen, Shirts, Sports Technology Videos, Training equipment | 1 Comment »

Gilbert aims to produce the most consistent ball ever

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The Rugby World Cup has produced many memorable moments for fans across the world! Perhaps some of the most prominent images come from the finals of the 1995 and 2003 competitions, both of which were decided on drop goals in the dying moments of extra time. Part of the key to these successes has always been the quality of the ball. For the 5th competition in succession Gilbert has won the right to produce the World Cup ball.

The 2011 Virtuo has a number of similarities and changes compared to its 2007 predecessor the Synergie. For example, the pimple pattern and compound of the outer part of the ball is exactly the same. The ball’s main change occurs internally, with a different type of bladder that maintains the air inside the ball at the same pressure for the duration of the match. The bladder which has a different shape and increased weight also helps to increase ball stability in the longitudinal axis. The shape and weight of the valve have also been changed helping the ball to spin on its longitudinal axis, these features are especially useful for torpedo kicks or spin passes. These characteristics also help to increase the consistency of the ball throughout the game and when different balls are used.

This is the first tournament ball that has design that symbolises the culture of the host nation. The Maori pattern incorporates a fern shoot and hammerhead shark that interlock together at each end of the panels.

Rugby World Cup ball 2011 Gilbert New Zealand

384 individually hand stitched balls will be used during the World Cup, but they won’t be completely new to the competing teams. They have been used internationally since Autumn 2010, with large amounts of positive feedback. England World Cup winner and former fly half says that, ‘If you hit it sweet, the ball will hold its line and do exactly what its meant to do’. Statistics have also shown an improvement in goal kick success rates, since the balls introduction. Success at a World Cup is ultimately down to player ability, but this ball is bound to create many more wonderful World Cup memories!

 

Article by James Jones

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Mind controlled gear shifting on a bike Toyota Prius Parlee Cycles

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Mind controlledgear shifting is here. Powered by EEG this wonderful design by Parlee Cycles and Toyota is a fantastic example of great minds can create great sports technology. You got to see the video on bike radar!

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/mind-powered-gear-shifting-is-here-31508

http://bcove.me/s4zqgt8r

Mind shifting gears Toyota Prius Parlee bikes

Article by Bryan Roberts

 

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Posted in Bryan Roberts, Cycling, New Bikes | 1 Comment »

Could this be the new tracking system of the future – imagine ice hockey, or soccer (on the pitch?)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Cuelight from Obscura Digital on Vimeo.

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Posted in Bryan Roberts, Football and soccer, Rugby, Sports Business, Sports iPhone Apps, Sports Technology Videos | No Comments »

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