Wednesday, January 20, 2016

how does a soccer ball swerve

Michael sinker
How do soccer balls swerve
Author: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT
Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Date: June 19, 2014

How do soccer balls swerve, that's a big question. But this is supposed to answer that question. There's a world cup every four years, When famous players from their country. Meet up and challenge each others team to win the ultimate prize the Fifa World Cup Trophy. When there is a penalty kick how do they get that bend on the ball, up and bending around other players. It all starts with the Magnus effect. But before I tell you about that it all starts with the balls.

Every World Cup they change the style of the ball like in Brazuca (2014 ball) the ball has all these funky stitches and different colors. Well let's get started on the stitches. The stitches play a huge part in the curve, the dip, and the shot placement. If the stitches are soft on the top it will be more harder to curve and if you do do it then it will curve the wrong way, and is more predictable for top goalies to save. If it is smooth then it is harder to curve, if it is rugged on the top it is easier too curve like the Azteca it is more rugged on the top.   

Now too the “Magnus effect” Isaac Newton found this out when a tennis ball hit a racket the ball had topspin. It's like a curve ball it depends on the side spin and the backspin and how hard you grip it, and the way you throw it. Like a soccer ball if you are a lefty then you hit the outside of the ball it will spin left to right the way that happens is when you kick it you would think it goes left and stay left but it all depends on the side spin. When you hit the ball it will go left to right and stay that way because the way it's spinning. It will spin counter clockwise if you are a lefty, and it will spin clockwise if you are a righty. So when it's doing that their is a drag force that gives it backspin or front spin. At the end there's one goal and if you get this correct then you will get a goal.


  1. That is really interesting. I've always had a hard time to have the perfect curve when I kick the soccer ball. Did you know, that the harder you kick the ball and the further you go to the side to strike the soccer ball, it gives the ball a bigger curve.

  2. Wow Michael you did a good job on this I didn't know you liked soccer that much.

  3. This is really interesting. I play soccer and have never thought about what makes a soccer ball swerve. I wonder how much it swerves the harder you kick? Or how much it swerves when you kick the soccer ball in different areas? I like how you explained how it is different when lefties and righties kick! Nice job on your current event.

  4. Wow, this is really interesting. I never knew all of that science behind just kicking a soccer ball. I found it interesting that if you are a lefty then the ball spins counter clockwise, and if you are a righty the ball spins clockwise. I thought that the ball just spins depending how hard you kick it. I wonder, does the ball swerve more if you are a righty or a lefty? Nice job!

  5. Wow I didn't know how much the stitches meant to getting the perfect curve on the ball. I have always wondered how the professional can curve the ball so much. Well now I know and I will be sure to try out.

    Thanks, Michael

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