With the increased seam length, Goff says there was actually a risk that this ball would be too rough. “Very little changes in those textures can have noticeable aerodynamic effects,” he says. The fact that the Telstar 18 has almost the same drag curve as the Brazuca, with aerodynamic properties changing at about the same speeds, is impressive. “It has to be an engineering and technical challenge,” he says.
Adidas designs every World Cup ball, and on top of being a big seller for them, engineers at the company are constantly a little closer to the perfect ball, Goff says. The ideal soccer ball is a pimple-covered, perfect sphere, its surface just subtly textured enough to keep the airflow around the ball slightly turbulent. Unintuitive as this might sound, the ridges and pimples on the ball make it more aerodynamic, helping the ball to fly through the air more stably.
In 2010, the infamous Jabulani balls for the World Cup in South Africa transitioned from turbulent to laminar flow between 50 and 45 miles per hour, right at the speed for corner and free kicks. The transition between these different types of flow causes even more drag on the ball, which caused the Jabulani to wobble in the air and drop in ways that players weren’t expecting.
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One thing which customers often complain about soccer balls is their poor air retention ability. After a few days on the field, the ball starts to deflate which serves as a big problem for anyone who has to use it on a daily basis. However, there is no such thing with the Top Glider as inside this ball is the butyl bladder which is becoming a norm with the majority of the Adidas soccer ball’s nowadays for better air retention.
Whether it was a size 3, 4, or 5, we found that the Adidas Starlancer performed as it should. This allows beginning players at any age to begin getting a feel for what it is like to have the ball at their feet. There are two color options that come with the Starlancer as well and each performs as it should. For normal passing, crossing, and shooting drills, we found this soccer ball to be true to form. The machine stitching is strong and offers a fairly long lasting performance.
On the other hand, replicas (sometimes called training balls or gliders) are designed to be just like the official match balls but are much cheaper. Their panels are often stitched rather than thermally-bonded and are made of a different material. However, they’re not necessarily less durable than official match balls. So, they’re the recommended option for most players.
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.
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