Did the Jabulani Ball Cause World Cup Troubles?

I’m sure you’ve seen this ball the past World Cup and heard all the crazy talk about how the ball was so difficult to control. There was a lot of debate over this which I thought was total bunk. I played with some of the best balls in the world but I was actually blown away.

I really didn’t think it was even possible for a ball to be extremely hard to control but this was definitely pretty bizarre. It was light and it was seemingly a large sweet spot on the ball that created a killer knuckle like you see from Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kicks a lot of time. When you grow up you are taught how to kick the ball in the sweet spot, or at least because I had phenomenal coaches, I had known that. Unfortunately, most coaches now don’t really show you this, so players have no idea how to knuckle a ball.

However, after the debut of the World Cup ball it was quite easy to notice from the first few weeks of play just how difficult it was to control the trajectory of the ball. If the best players in the world are not even putting a free kick on goal then something has drastically changed.
While I got to mess around with this ball with a friend here in Orlando, I noticed that even the most simple kicks I made had far more movement than usual. This made trapping long balls more difficult and sometimes unless kicked perfectly on the sweet spot, shooting on goal was actually far more difficult.
But if you ever have a chance to play with this ball, take a few strikes on goal and see for yourself. When you hit it perfectly, trust me you’ll know because the limited amount of panels cause less aerodynamics and thus comes the crazy knuckle.
Have any of you guys had a chance to kick around the official ball yet? I’m sure you know what I mean then. Let me know in the comments section.
Cheers,
-Matt Smith

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