During his playing days Roberto Baggio was blessed with a rare ability to be able to manipulate the ball in any way he deemed necessary. Now he’s helped to conceptualise his gifts through a school physics course, in which the great man has written the preface.
‘Football Physics’ by Marcos Duarte and Emico Okuno is a High School course in Italy where students study the principles of physics through the ball and exploits of the players. Baggio’s introduction in the course’s manual states that:
It’s nice to learn the subject matter and develop a love, understanding the laws of physics through football.
It certainly seems an innovative way to teach the laws that govern mechanics, motion and dynamics, which are explained using examples taken directly from the world of football.
The principles which underpin technical and physical attributes such as dribbling, strength, acceleration and shooting are given as examples using real-life players. As Baggio explains further:
Today, by reading this book, we would like to tell you that you are in luck because with physics you will understand why so many things happen in football.
For example: How the unstoppable dribbling of Lionel Messi is possible because of his acceleration; or why a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty struck low at 90km/h is un-savable.
The Magnus Effect is explained using the way the great Diego Maradona used to strike the ball, whilst students are even asked to calculate the average speed of the Argentine fantasista as he ran during the move which ended in him scoring the ‘goal of the century’ against England in the 1986 World Cup.
Modern football technology also forms part of the course: what effects do the latest generation of football boots have, how goal-line technology determines how a ball has crossed the line, and what tests a ball must pass to be approved by FIFA.
If this course was available when we were at school we certainly would have paid more attention!