On a whim, I dug up this long article on the science of how the likes of David Beckham do such clever free kicks: Engineers Discover Secrets of Soccer Free Kicks.
Eminent scientists have gone to some trouble with this.
And you’ll be pleased to understand that
A combination of wind tunnel experiments high-speed video camera analysis, trajectory simulations and computer modelling techniques like Computational Fluid Dynamics is a very potent way of explaining what is happening.
There are a few people around who might argue, in light of this very complicated information, that in future only fully qualified scientists, or those deemed by human resource professionals to have the appropriate “competences”, should be allowed to attempt free kicks. No doubt this would increase vastly the productivity of many adolescent boys, liberated from the pointless activity of enjoying a kick around in the park.
I’m often reminded of this when I read a lot of how-to books and websites, claiming to reveal the expensively-researched “secrets” of various forms of success. I also get the same feeling when I see most diagrams purporting to explain ways of managing people. I don’t doubt that producing such artifacts is a source of great comfort to the authors… but perhaps I can be forgiven for questioning their value to anyone else.
Bonus link: When too may variables exist in decision-making
Self-referential link: Pitfalls of explicit learning