Every four years there’s a new ball for the World Cup—and every four years players are unhappy with it. Maybe it’s too light and has too much lift, like the 2002 Fevernova. Or maybe it wobbles unexpectedly in the air, making it harder for goalies to predict its motion, like the 2006 Teamgist. Or maybe the ball suddenly changes speed, dropping out of the air and causing accidental handballs, like the 2010 Jabulani.
Well, panels are not any different component. Panels are the segments or octagon quilt that are seen outside the balls. Of course, nowadays you will find some other shapes besides octagon. FIFA official balls usually contain 32 panels. But nowadays you will also find 26, 18, 14, 8 or even 6 panels with different shapes and designs from those of conventional balls.
The Telstar 18, the design for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, is as close to a perfect sphere as you can get. It has subtle pimples and six thermally bonded panels designed to avoid knuckling, which is the characteristic bobbing and weaving movement when a ball is kicked without spin. All 32 teams have been able to play with it since November in preparation for the tournament, which runs from June 14 to July 15. But despite its similarities to the old ball, players have grumbled about the Telstar 18. Compared to the last few World Cup balls, the Telstar 18 is very similar to the ball used for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It won’t fly quite as far down the pitch, and will wobble in the air a little differently, but aerodynamic testing suggests it will be more stable in the air overall.
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We all should keep in mind that the construction of a standard soccer ball is different than a street soccer ball. When you are playing on street or hard surface, you need a rough and tough ball. The shape needs to be spherical, and the cover/panels should be made out of rubber. They need to be scratch resistant as well. Not only that, if the panels are not hand-stitched with the high-quality seam there is a big chance they will not last long.
It depends on its intended use. Soccer ball casings are made from three kinds of synthetic materials. Polyvinyl carbonate (PVC) which is what most less expensive training balls are made from, Polyurethane (PU) which is the preferred ball for soccer tournaments, and a combination of the two. There are also foam and rubber training soccer balls for kids. Some kids' soccer balls are made of 100 percent thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a kind of foamy casing material so the ball is very soft. There are greater and lesser grades of each kind of material. PU-covered balls are generally softer, livelier, and have a better feel to them, and are what most people seek when looking for a optimal performing soccer ball.
Controlling the game is everything. From touch, shape, and movement, to flight of the ball, the construction of your soccer ball can impact how well you command the pitch. Competitive soccer players usually have different types of soccer balls for training, match day or just to kick around. See the options below for choosing the right adidas soccer ball for your favorite type of play.