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The Science of Soccer: A Bouncing Ball and a Banana Kick

Overview

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is also an endless scientific panorama. Every movement by the players and each interaction with the ball involves physics, fluid mechanics, biology, and physiology, to name just a few of the scientific disciplines. In a book that targets middle and high school players, Taylor begins with a history of soccer and its physical and mathematical aspects. He then addresses important questions such as how and why a ball bounces, how the ball spins, and what these ...

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The Science of Soccer: A Bouncing Ball and a Banana Kick

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Overview

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is also an endless scientific panorama. Every movement by the players and each interaction with the ball involves physics, fluid mechanics, biology, and physiology, to name just a few of the scientific disciplines. In a book that targets middle and high school players, Taylor begins with a history of soccer and its physical and mathematical aspects. He then addresses important questions such as how and why a ball bounces, how the ball spins, and what these dynamics mean for the game. He introduces readers to the science of kicking, heading, and trapping and looks at the sources of the energy required to run, jump, and kick for an entire game. Taylor then puts it all together by following a sequence of plays and describing the science behind tactical maneuvers. Sidebars and appendices allow those with a more mathematical bent to follow the physics and perform experiments to see the effects of phenomena like drag, bounce, and spin. In addition, key terminology is highlighted, explained in the text, and summarized in the glossary.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Elizabeth Norton
The Science Of Soccer explores the world of physics through the lens of the world’s most popular sport, soccer. Taylor opens with a short history of soccer, then explains how scientific principles, such as friction, drag, and the Bernoulli effect, impact the game. Each principle is explained in great detail, with situational examples that can be found in a soccer game, and experiments are included to allow readers to observe the science. The final chapter delves into biomechanics and the conversion of food and water to energy in the human body and how that energy is used in a soccer game. The Science Of Soccer is well written, and the idea of using sports as a backdrop for studying science is appealing, but overall, this book falls short. The explanations of the scientific principles are thorough but highly technical and difficult to understand, putting this book out of reach of most middle school students. Those looking for a soccer manual will be disappointed. The emphasis on soccer in both the title and the cover art will likely put off those looking for a physics book. The included experiments, while effective, are difficult to find at a glance, as they are presented as sidebars in the text and are not included in the index. Although an intriguing premise, the flaws make this book a secondary purchase at best. Reviewer: Elizabeth Norton; Ages 15 to 18.
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