It's a topic slowly gathering pace, a controversial move that is dividing opinions in Western Europe as it is brought into consideration and even into use in some countries. What is the weighted football?.
Basically a really brief summery of the weighted football is as follows. The ball is a size five ball that is weighted based on age groups. Basically the idea and principle behind it is to get kids at every age group playing with size five footballs. These size five footballs are much lighter than your average size five balls.
The idea behind it is to allow the kids become more comfortable and familiar with that size ball from an early age, it is also claimed that these footballs will help develop better technical ability as a light version of a size five ball offers a wider surface area for control, they are easier to pass, easier to shoot and easier to head and so on.
The Rep of Ireland is one Country where these weighted balls are now in use, their player development plan requested these balls be used as of August 2016.
Claims that the smaller heavier size footballs that have been used for years are effecting development really interested us. Especially given the fact some countries in the past took on the weighted footballs and long since reverted back to the traditional smaller heavier ball for younger footballers. Germany one such example.
We decided to contact some coaches and also get some opinions from the people who matter most 'The Kids' over the past few weeks to gauge what feelings are out there about the weighted footballs.
BELOW ARE SOME VERY INTERESTING THOUGHTS, WE COULDN'T INCLUDE ALL UNFORTUNATELY.
Speaking via social media one coach wrote "Apart from being like balloons they are totally inappropriate for u8s and u9s due to their size. The Germans have stopped using them and Ajax would follow if they weren't so arrogant".
Speaking via social media another coach wrote "In Ireland 2000 clubs will have to buy these footballs, suppose on average each club spends a thousand euro on these new footballs, that's 2 million alone. Where is the evidence and research to justify that sort of dramatic change? These balls are like balloons and causing divided opinion among kids, I didn't see that divided opinion before now about the footballs".
Speaking in person another coach added "We have to have faith in the association, these people are experienced in development and their job is to improve and develop the game. If the weighted balls are going to help develop better technical footballers then I don't see what all the whinging is about".
Speaking via social media another coach wrote: "Show me the research into weighted balls? It doesn't exist".
Speaking via social media another coach wrote: "I've been coaching 15 years every year I have to replace the footballs from the year before so for me the cost argument doesn't make sense you'd be buying new balls anyway".
Speaking via social media another coach wrote: "I think it's a great idea, these light footballs are much easier for kids to kick. My young lad found it difficult to kick the heavier balls, now he is pinging passes and scoring from all sorts of range, his confidence is up and confidence will help him develop and enjoy it more".
Speaking via social media another coach wrote: "In futsal they claim using the small heavier ball helps develop better technique, now they claim a bigger much lighter ball those the same, which is it?"
BELOW ARE SOME VERY INTERESTING THOUGHTS FROM SOME KIDS, WE COULDN'T INCLUDE ALL UNFORTUNATELY, WE GOT A SERIOUS LAUGH FROM THE LAST ONE AND HAD TO STICK IT IN HAHA
"They are deadly, you can kick them way further"
"I use a normal ball on my road at home"
"They are like beach balls just because some of the other teams can't kick a football"
"Give me any ball, I'll score goals with a tennis ball if you want me to"
One thing is for sure, we could talk and talk all day about this but at the end of the day what we need to weigh up is the pro's and con's of both a light size five football vs the small balls that have been used for years and years. Both clearly have advantages and disadvantages so is there really enough of a swing in one direction to justify change? Please give us your opinions we would absolutely love coaches thoughts on this.