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The Science of a Soccer Kick
We have scoured the web to find the best info on kicking a soccer ball.
We hope you find the info useful.


MSC.Patran Used By Researchers to Model Complex Physics of Soccer Free Kicks

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- May 31, 2001 -- MSC.Software Corp. (NYSE: MNS), the leading global provider of simulation software, services and systems, today announced that MSC.Patran was used by researchers to help solve the mystery of ‘trick’ or ‘bending’ free kicks in soccer. Through the collaboration of three research groups, researchers at the University of Sheffield's Sports Engineering Research Group, Yamagata University's Sports Science Laboratory and Fluent were able to simulate the complex physics acting upon the ball and determine how world-class soccer players fool defenders and goaltenders with kicks that change trajectory in mid-flight. Dr. Takeshi Asai of the Yamagata University’s Sports Science Laboratory used MSC.Patran to model the stress and deformation of the foot and ball as the player strikes the ball. This simulation, combined with the computational fluid dynamics research done by Fluent and wind tunnel and trajectory modeling done by the Dr. Matt Carré of the University of Sheffield Sports Engineering Research Group, allowed the research teams to determine the actual physics governing free kicks in soccer.

“The use of simulation software is continuing to grow around the world, especially in industries like sports and recreation who traditionally haven’ t used advanced simulation to understand how their products really function,” said Frank Perna, chairman and chief executive officer of MSC.Software. “We are proud to be a small part of this research into soccer ball flight and are looking forward to seeing these complex physical interactions on the field during the World Cup.”

Soccerball Windtunnel
Smoke Test Soccer Ball Wake Pathlines

When a soccer ball is traveling through the air, its trajectory is influenced by a number of factors, including wind flow, air speed and pressure. As the player strikes the ball, the drag and force experienced by the ball strongly influences its trajectory, especially if the ball is spinning. When a player strikes the ball attempting to induce a shot that bends, a reaction known as Magnus Force causes an imbalance of pressure to occur. This imbalance can be so pronounced at the end of a ball’s flight that the sideways ‘spin’ force and ‘drag’ force causes the ball to alter its trajectory considerably near the goal.

"The computer modeling techniques my group has developed with MSC.Patran will help us design better soccer boots in the near term and explain how a soccer player's foot deforms as it interacts with the ball,” said Dr. Takeshi Asai of Yamagata University’s Sports Science Laboratory. “This has important implications for kicking techniques and preventing injuries to the foot and improve the overall understanding of the science of soccer.”

CFD prediction of flow separation pattern
behind a non-spinning soccer ball

“We believe that our research into the underlying physics of soccer balls is crucial to helping us explain more about soccer free kicks than ever before," said Dr. Matt Carré from the University of Sheffield Sports Engineering Research Group. “The work we are doing will lead to insights that can be applied to making better soccer balls and in improving the techniques of young soccer players.”

MSC.Software and Fluent Inc.  All images and animations Courtesy of University of Sheffield's Sports Engineering Research Group, Yamagata University's Sports Science Laboratory and Fluent Inc.

David Beckham's Free Kick-England vs. Greece October 2001, Actual Footage

David Beckham's Free Kick-England vs. Greece October
2001, Animated Footage

Trajectory Charts of Kick

Foot Kicking Ball, High Speed Footage

MSC.Patran Model of Foot
Kicking Ball Animation

MSC.Patran Skeletal Model of
Foot Kicking Ball Animation




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