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Football physics: The "impossible" free kick - Erez Garty


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In 1997, Brazilian football player Roberto Carlos set up for a 35 meter free kick with no direct line to the goal. Carlos’s shot sent the ball flying wide of the players, but just before going out of bounds it hooked to the left and soared into the net. How did he do it? Erez Garty describes the physics behind one of the most magnificent goals in the history of football.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

As you have seen in the video there is a lot of physics in soccer. The following article describes more physical principles of soccer kicks! Take a look and see more on how physics is part of any and all soccer games! Then, visit Real World Physics Problems to check out more soccer physics! Do you think knowing Physics can help you be a better soccer player?

This video describes how a Banana kick is done. When you watch it, try to think why is every step done. NASA’s: Bending A Soccer Ball may give you more insight into this type of soccer kick. Go outside, find an unoccupied soccer net, and give it a try! Does the soccer ball have anything to do with all this? National Geographic may have your answer in an article about the new Brazuca ball. 

Several articles were written analyzing the physics underlying Brazilian soccer player Roberto Carlos' kick. Read: Carlos ’97 free kick no fluke, say French Physicists and Bend It Like Magnus to find out more. Do you find Roberto Carlos’ kicking ability amazing? Read this article: “Impossible” Soccer Kick Leads to New Physics Equation.

Love soccer? So does the rest of the world! Watch this TED-Ed lesson: Soccer, the world’s favorite game. Find the physics of sports amazing? These TED-Ed lessons can provide more answers to your questions! Gridiron physics: Scalars and vectors, and An athlete uses physics to shatter world records. Where else do you see Physics in your everyday life?

Educator photo by Dan Offer.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Erez Garty
  • Director Hector Herrera
  • Producer Pazit Cahlon
  • Sound Designer Nick Sewell
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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