World Cup 2014: The 'Brazuca' soccer ball

Hello everyone the FIFA WORLD CUP is approaching with less than one month away. The official starting date is Thursday, June 12th and ends Sunday, July 13th.  What is different about this years world cup is the type of ball they are using called the 'Brazuca'.

In the last world cup the official ball was called the 'Jabulani'. This ball was criticised by many players because of its unpredictable ball trajectory especially when a knuckle ball is hit. Experts in the field of aerodynamics have explained there are several major components to how a ball will behave in flight.

1. The roughness of the ball. 
The amount of roughness will determine at what critical speed is needed to create the 'knuckling' effect on the ball.

Knuckling effect: when the ball does not spin or spins very little.
Magunus effect: when the ball spins like a 'banana kick'. 

For the Jabulani which is a more smoother ball with more seams compared to the Brazuca, experts have stated that the seams affects the accuracy of the ball path.  The smoother the ball the higher speed at which the ball knuckles.

Just to compare some figures, the older more traditional balls stitched internally had 32 panels where the knuckling effect occurred around 48km/h.
With the smoother Jabulani ball the numbers were more like 50km/h. (during a free kick.)

This year the Brazuca ball is more rough textured and has dimples on the outside which will help stabilised the ball better.

2. The Geometry of the ball
  • The number of seams on the ball plays a big role on determining roughness.  
The Brazuca has 6 thermally bonded propeller-shape panels which is 8 less than the Jabulani. Compared to other balls 14 less than the 'Teamgeist' and 32 less than historical balls. 
  • Also the depth of the seams also influence the aerodynamics. 
For the Brazuca the seams are 1.56 mm deep versus the Jabulani's  .48 mm. 
  • Length of the seams 
Jabulani seam length 203cm vs Brazuca 327cm which in essence make the Brazuca ball behave more like a traditional ball. 

Brazuca: RIGHT  and Jabulani LEFT

Final Thoughts:
I am not a physicist and when talking about low pressure and wake I became a bit lost, but basically a  rougher balls travel further through the air more efficiently  for example, how the football seams agitates the air, the dimples on a golf ball, or the fluff on a tennis ball. The agitation is necessary for fast and reliable flight path. A perfectly smooth ball experiences large amounts of drag force.


Staff Introduction:
  Shinichi George Kidera  APF ACADEMIES COACH

"I think its going to be really interesting to hear how the players respond to the new ball this year! I wonder if the organisers of the tennis federation ever experiment with the seams of a tennis ball. There is so much science behind it!"

Back into the swing of things in 2014! My goal is to definitely learn more Thai this year, play more tennis, get into great shape, and as always inspire those who want to become better tennis players. Have a great start everyone to your new year and keep your goals alive and in-line.

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