Top soccer players good at maths - Study | inside World Soccer

Top soccer players good at maths - Study

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

They may not realise it, but the best soccer players rely on mathematics to reach the top of their game, according to a study.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are 30 percent genius
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are '30 percent genius'

Photo: Getty Images

A sports scientist claims the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo rely on an intuitive understanding of geometry to rule the beautiful game.

University of Bath sports scientist Dr Ken Bray has analysed hours of footage to conclude that as much as 30 percent of a player's technique is down to an intuitive understanding of maths and science.

Dr Bray, working with The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, has developed an expertise in the apparent science of sport.

He said: "Football is an art but it's also a science and every footballer uses geometry, aerodynamics and probability to perform at their peak.

"Maths plays such a fundamental role in the game that elite footballers are combining athleticism with scientific nous to give them a competitive edge.

"An understanding of scientific and mathematical principles could be worth its weight in gold if you want a career in football."

Dr Bray used the example of taking a penalty kick to explain his theory.

He added: "We know the striker's success rate is 80 percent from penalties in normal play, which drops to 75 percent for shootouts.

"However, even the best keepers cannot cover every inch of the goal and 28 percent of the net is actually beyond the goalkeeper's diving reach. Anything hit into that area is unsaveable.

"Statistics show that if the ball is hit within the keeper's reach the chances of scoring are only 50-50. Good penalty kickers understand these odds and play the percentages."

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