Science can help make World Cup winners
LONDON, May 6: Ken Bray, a theoretical physicist with a doctorate in quantum science, has some important advice for any player taking a penalty in this summer's World Cup.
Aim for the top corner.
It may sound obvious but Bray's advice is backed by scientific research, which he says can help players in everything from taking free kicks to saving penalties.
''Science is important in terms of winning matches,'' said Bray, author of a book on the science behind soccer called ''How to Score''.
Bray has analysed memorable games over the past 50 years and applied research in physics, biology, computing and psychology to the beautiful game.
Using biomechanics to calculate the absolute reach of a goalkeeper diving to try to save a penalty, Bray has identified an area near the posts and in the top corners where the goalkeeper cannot reach as the ''unsaveable zone''.
''If a player were to place the ball in those regions which are 28-30 percent of the goal area there is not a sniff that the goalkeeper can do to get across to them,'' explained Bray, from the University of Bath in England.
He advised goalkeepers to move before the kick is taken because if they wait, the ball will be half way to the goal before they make a move.
He said where the striker places and points his standing foot is a good clue to where the ball will go.
''It's been shown that in about 85 per cent of cases the direction in which that foot points is the direction of the shot,'' he told a news conference in London.