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Soccer has come on leaps and bounds from the days of black and white soccer balls and grayscale television broadcasts.
Nowadays, modern sports equipment is integrated with the latest technology to provide a seamless experience for buyers, and this is clearly evident when it comes to soccer balls.
The smart soccer ball made its entry into the market almost a decade ago, and in the last couple of years we’ve seen this product grow from strength to strength with every new iteration.
In today’s article, we’re going to be rounding up the best smart soccer ball options for players looking to improve their skills with the help of technology.
Here are the standout picks:
DribbleUp Smart Soccer Ball
Augmented reality technology
Live training app
SenseBall Soccer Kick Trainer
Ergonomic contact handle
Didactical training program
Smart Store Counter Soccer Ball
Impact activated counter
Interactive lights and sounds
Quickplay Replay Soccer Training Ball
Ball return system
Adjustable cord length
The DribbleUp Smart Soccer Ball wins hands down because of the amount of access buyers get when it comes to after-sales support. You get to view a huge library of hundreds of hours video footage on specific drills, along with the opportunity to follow instructions from expert coaches in real-time. With a dedicated mobile application on Android and Apple devices as well, this product really can’t be beat.
- How we selected the best smart soccer balls
- How the best smart soccer balls were tested
- 1. DribbleUp Smart Soccer Ball with Training App
- 2. SenseBall Soccer Kick Trainer
- 3. Smart Store Counter Soccer Ball
- Factors to consider before buying a smart soccer ball
How we selected the best smart soccer balls
Choosing the best smart soccer balls was by no means an easy feat, as we had to trawl through numerous product listings on major online retailers such as Amazon.
This entailed forming a differentiation between soccer balls that came with their own mobile application to accompany the product offering, and rudimentary soccer ball trainers that only accommodate basic hand to feet practice.
Once that was done, we identified the top choices through analyzing reviews from people with hands on experience of the products in question.
Ultimately, we settled on a shortlist of three fine smart balls, each with their own set of distinguishing features that make them worthy options for prospective buyers.
How the best smart soccer balls were tested
Our testing procedure involved looking at the following set of criteria:
- Android and iOS mobile app integration;
- Interactive light and sound activation that reinforces key player milestones;
- Different practice drills that players can use for skill improvement; and
- Challenging game modes that one can make use of when participating with friends
Now, let’s get right down to business by reviewing the aforementioned products in greater detail.
1. DribbleUp Smart Soccer Ball with Training App
DribbleUp is a family-centric company that builds smart sports products that other families can enjoy and make the best out of.
Their range of products have been specially designed to synchronize with your mobile phone or tablet, which is great because that fits in with the general direction of where products are going.
With DribbleUp’s Smart Soccer Ball, you get the chance to make use of their virtual training programs to take your soccer skills to the next level.
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Have a look at the features that make this smart soccer ball a standout product:
Augmented reality technology
When a player uses this smart soccer ball, thousands of data points about their touches are synthesized in real time.
DribbleUp’s advanced computer vision technology tracks every movement a player makes with the ball and accurately records repetitions in real-time.
This is then used to provide tailored feedback that the player can use to improve their form.
Live training app
You can improve your soccer skills and gain even more confidence as a player by making use of DribbleUp’s interactive training library.
This archive has hundreds of soccer drills and video sessions that one can use to refine parts of their technique.
Some of the practice drills available via the mobile application include:
- Step overs;
- Sole flicks;
- Sideline pulls; and
- L turns
The application is also quite handy for parents as they can keep track of their child’s progress through graded performance breakdowns, as well as set achievable goals that will help keep their young talents motivated to continuously improve different facets of their game.
World class soccer trainers
What’s even more impressive is the fact that the company has hired expert coaches to deliver the training sequences, with each session tailored to a child’s skill level.
These trainers go live on camera each and every day to offer a variety of practice drills and soccer instructions, with up to 30 new classes offered on a weekly basis.
Check out the footage below as it showcases how this smart soccer ball performs from a visual perspective:
- Ball material – polyurethane
- Ball size – 4 and 5 available
- Screen casting – Apple TV+ and Google Chromecast integration
- Software compatibility – works with phones/tablets on iOS 13+ or Android 12+
2. SenseBall Soccer Kick Trainer
- ⚽ Improve Your Game: The SenseBall dramatically improves foot-eye coordination and ball control, transforming any player into a soccer superstar in no time! Soccer training made fun, it is an essential piece of soccer training equipment for kids 8-12 that drastically improves foot-eye coordination and ball control, making it a wonderful soccer gift for boys 8-12.
- 🎯 Perfect Practice: Encourage daily practice for your child. The more they use it, the better they get. It's a fun way to hone their soccer skills!
- 🏡 Indoor Soccer Trainer: Keep the soccer game indoors without the fear of breaking anything. With this handy soccer gear, no worries about the weather or valuables in the house. Enjoy soccer fun anytime, anywhere!
Firmly in second place we have the SenseBall Soccer Kick Trainer.
The company behind this product – SenseBall Exploitation S.A. – are responsible for the technical development of it and the exercise videos that accompany the item when you purchase.
They’ve collaborated with a professional soccer coach from Belgium called Michel Bruyninckx, who has spent most of his working life teaching young players about the sport.
You also get the sense that this product also receives a lot of professional endorsement from clubs and players around the world, as athletes in clubs and academies like AC Milan, Leicester City, Rangers, and Real Sociedad can attest to its quality.
Here’s what the SenseBall has to offer:
Ergonomic contact handle
With this smart soccer ball, you get an ergonomic handle that allows one to train with either your right or left hand.
The handle is conceived to allow quick adjustment of the length of the string in relation to the player’s overall height.
Bilateral training activity
Overall, the ball is a great option for players looking to improve their ambidextrousness (i.e. ability to play with either foot).
Because it’s designed on the principle of bilateral activity, players get to constantly alternate kicking the ball with their left and right foot, which over time will improve their ability to:
- play with both feet;
- concentrate and coordinate their movement; as well as
- eliminate wild and aggressive kicks
The team at Senseball have done their research and concluded that during the course of a soccer season, a person using this smart ball will take approximately 500,000 touches within that period.
With that sort of volume when using the left foot as much as the right and moving through space in a balanced way, a player is bound to retain certain information about their foot movement in their long-term memory through a process called myelination.
Whether done individually or as part of a group (and so rhythmically), the SenseBall enables one to developing specific skills and reacting quicker to on-pitch events.
Didactical training program
Buyers also get the privilege of access to a series of 50 training videos which accompany their purchase.
The content in these videos gets increasingly complex over time and in accordance with the specific needs of each player.
Each exercise contains an in-depth explanation of how to perform the task and the details to focus on, either as a player or a coach.
Video conferences with Michel Bruyninckx
The value doesn’t stop there, as Senseball also offers exclusive access to two video conference sessions with the world-renowned coach who was behind the making of this product.
Each video conference session is one hour each and they introduce to the key concepts of CogiTraining and mastery of the principles behind SenseBall, so that players can optimize their use of the product and tailor their training to improve their performance.
Here’s a look at what the ball is like as well as how it feels to use on the grass:
- Ball material – thermoplastic polyurethane
- Ball weight – 260 grams
- Ball size – 3
3. Smart Store Counter Soccer Ball
- AMAZING SOCCER BALL: Introducing the latest innovation in football, Smart Ball Kick Up Counting with lights and sounds. This amazing soccer ball allows you to challenge yourself and your friends to see who can pull off the most tricks. Use your feet, legs, knees, chest and shoulders to prevent the smart ball from hitting the ground and it will count every time it makes contact with you.
- Light & Sound Features: As you reach key milestones, the smart ball will speak words of encouragement to cheer you up as you challenge yourself to keep the ball in the air, and for even more fun, the smartball lights up every time it comes into contact with your body.
- Challenge Friends: Compete with your friends to see who can get closer to magic 100 kickups
Last up we have this simple Smart Counter Soccer Ball.
It’s a great option for young kids who are still in the early stages of their soccer skill development due to the gamification options it offers players.
These are as follows:
Impact activated counter
You can challenge yourself and your friends to see who can keep this soccer ball from hitting the ground with the impact activated counter.
The smart ball is fitted with a counting sensor (going up to 100) that is triggered on every touch with the feet, legs, chest, head, knees, chest or shoulders.
So, the way that this would work is that someone would juggle the soccer ball, with it recording the amount of touches made by the person in question.
Once the ball makes contact with the floor, the score can then be recorded and the next person can have a try.
Interactive lights and sounds
This smart ball is also great for positive reinforcement as it’s able to voice words of encouragement to players as they meet key milestones in their practice.
For example, if you’re performing well at keeping the ball up in the air, the ball can let out a cheer as you attempt to control the ball.
Also, it comes with flashing lights that display when you make a touch.
- Ball material – plastic
- Color – white and blue
- Additional components – batteries included
Smart Store also have another smart soccer ball that’s worth looking at, as you can see below:
- Measure the speed of your kick! Hi-tech smart ball can measure kick speeds of up to 100 kph. Can you reach the max?
- Tells you your speed. Talking ball is a novel training aid. Great gift for footy fans ages 6 up
- Easy to use. Put the ball on the kick-off base, just one click and it’s time to kick! Ideal Gift
The way this one works is that it measures the speed in which one strikes the ball, due to the fact that it can measure kick speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
All you have to do is switch on the sensor and wait for the countdown to elapse before proceeding to strike the ball as hard as you can.
Overall, you get a great option for aspiring professionals who are working to improve the power of their shots.
Factors to consider before buying a smart soccer ball
Before you get your wallet out, there are a couple of things that you need to be aware of as a buyer prior to selecting a smart soccer ball.
Availability of training programs
The best smart soccer balls come with dedicated training programs that players can watch and listen to.
It’s all well and good to be able to train on your own, but the coaching and guidance from people who have played the sport at a high level is critically important.
This is because you can watch what these experts do with the ball and try to replicate that on the training pitch, as opposed to just performing your own drills without any form of instruction from a coach or professional.
Mobile app functionality
A good smart soccer ball will have an accompanying mobile application that you can use to supplement your skill development.
These applications should run on the latest flagship devices from Apple, Samsung, Nokia and other smartphone brands.
One other thing to note is that these mobile applications should have a good amount of positive reviews on the Apple Store or Google Play Store, not to mention being regularly updated for bug fixes and feature improvements.
Professional player endorsements
One thing that’s often overlooked is the level of backing that a sports product has received from professionals in the relevant industry.
You should look out for endorsements from players and clubs that compete in the biggest European leagues, as smart soccer balls that have the support of professional players are likely to be of much higher quality.
At the highest level, organizations want to equip their playing staff with the best tools, so if you spot such recommendations you know that the item in question has undergone rigorous evaluation in order to be used as part of a training exercise for a professional team.
That wraps up our coverage of the finest smart soccer balls.
Hopefully you can use this insight to make an informed buying decision when the time comes.
On the other hand, should you be interested in purchasing a traditional soccer ball that doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of smart features and technology, then you can have a read through our post on the best soccer balls instead.
Finally, before you go, you should check out our eBook on Soccer Ball Care.
Within this monster of a resource, we tackle all there is to know about looking after a soccer ball and maximising its useful life right from when you purchase this type of product.
This eBook covers a plethora of different topics, such as:
- soccer ball construction;
- inflation and pressure management;
- cleaning and maintenance;
- soccer ball storage; and
- how to extend the useful life of your ball
In just a couple of hours, you’ll have more knowledge on what is good and bad for your soccer ball than you could ever fathom!
You’ll learn how to inflate your soccer ball to the correct level of air pressure based on the size of ball you have, as well as know how to clean and store your soccer ball properly after games.
But I don’t think there’s anything better than being able to effectively troubleshoot problems with your soccer ball and fix them yourself!
So, you can finally take care of your soccer ball for many months to come, which without a doubt will save you time and money as won’t be searching for and buying a replacement any time soon.
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