EuroCup 2020 is here! Wait… does anyone else find it weird that they insist on calling it EuroCup 2020? Haven’t we all agreed to discard that year and never speak of it again? Anyway, not only is the assortment of football (soccer?) matches airing daily a welcome escape during these indoor summer days, but it can also be a learning opportunity during these indoor summer days. At the risk of being the guy who ruins football matches for you, there is actually a ton of math involved in any fixture! It can fun to discuss some of it with your children as you watch together, no doubt cheering on the German squad like I am…. *crickets*. Let me help you along with a few talking points!
1. THE GEOMETRY
Shapes are all around us, and one can’t help but see them ever so clearly drawn out in fresh white lines across a healthy green field during the EuroCup. Try to discuss the dimensions of the field itself — which is pretty much different for each stadium – and what that means for the team and their strategy (wider fields allow more attacks from the wingers, bigger areas will require more endurance from all players, etc). On the field you have the penalty area, goal area, and the center circle, all arranged with specific dimensions that one must account for. The penalty spot is just 10.97m from the goal line; can you compare that to something in the room? As you can see, there are endless geometric elements to talk about, and that can help all of us learn a little while watching!
2. THE STATISTICS
Aside from the more evident numbers we can add up in a match (goals scored, time elapsed/remaining), there are a ton of statistics that can be fun to chat about. Comparing the shots and shots on target is a great way to gauge a team’s actual performance. It’s also fun to see how sometimes one shot on a target produces a goal while other times 8 shots on target yield no goal at all. Possession, usually given as a percentage, is another terrific stat to learn that can be understood quite easily in the match context. For example, if a team had possession for 70% of the time, and the total time is 90 minutes, then they had possession for 63 minutes. You also have passes completed, pass accuracy, comparing the number of corners the teams were awarded, and many other details that are a good way to relate to a team’s performance while also learning some math.
3. SPEED, DISTANCE AND TIME
I always remember what my old football and basketball coaches used to tell us: “The ball moves faster than the man… so pass the ball!” That’s why passing is so important: you can move the ball around faster than your opponent can intercept it. Faster speeds reduce the time taken to cover the same distance (like two players shoulder-to-shoulder rushing towards a loose ball, or a zipping through pass versus a lobbed in ball). It’s interesting to see the difference that distance makes in the time pass can be completed. Think of a long ball from the goalkeeper beyond midfield compared to the time a corner kick takes to make it to its target; their distances are dramatically different, as are their trajectories. The relationships between speed, distance and time are everywhere in a match, so make sure to point them out!
JUST FOR LAUGHS!
Everyone should be like this guy!
Until next time!