June 26, 2010
Football has a pedigree dating back to mediaeval England, when villagers hoofed an inflated pig’s bladder around a muddy paddock. Today, though, the 22 football players on the pitch are supported by a ghost squad of scientists drawing on biomechanics, physics, nutrition, psychology and other performance-enhancing disciplines.
The Bangkok Post presents 10 illustrative examples of how science has helped to change football, answer riddles and end hearsay!
THE BANGKOK POST REPORTS:
“DIGITAL FUTURE? – Punters looking for a tip on this year’s World Cup winners might be advised to take a close look at players’ hands. John Manning from Britain’s University of Liverpool suggests there is a link between the lengths of a footballer’s fingers and his ability as a player. Looking at British players, Manning found that the footballing elite had longer ring fingers compared to their index fingers. Manning’s theory is early exposure to testosterone in the womb is a key to heart formation and spatial judgement and finger length, which is why digits can be a telltale, but not a prediction, of prowess.”
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
How reliable is finger length in issues of athletic ability? Another experiment with five athletes: all 100 meters specialists… the outcome is again rather remarkable!
VIDEO SUMMARY (TRANSLATED):
This video – broadcasted in Spanish language – includes e.g. scenes from Discovery Channel. Professor John T. Manning explains how finger length is related to athletic ability. Finger length ratios are established in utero under the influence of testosterone. Testosterone plays an important role in the early development of the heart and lungs – the ‘motor’ of every athlete! But it is very hard to say how much in utero testosterone is involved in the early development of individuals. However, the 2D:4D finger length provides an indication for the amount of in utero testosterone.
In the second half of this video Mannings describes that the five athletes all must have had large amounts of testosterone during their early development in the whomb – because their ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ is rather low (for males). But in only one athlete the ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ is exceptionally low – and Manning explains why he expects that this athlete (no.5) has the best chance to win the race.
Then the moment of truth arrives… the athletes are prepairing to start the race. Who will win? The movie shows clearly that athlete no.5 was by far able to make the fastest start… during the race athlete no.2 becomes very competing… but at the finish athlete no.5 is still ahead, and wins the race. Manning made the right prediction!
At the end of the video Manning explains his prediction again, but he also points out that the proceses in the womb do not explain everything.
Feel free to watch the video again – knowing the succesfull outcome of the experiment should make you enjoy watching this video, and it should be easy to remember the outcome again!!!
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
How to measure the ‘digit ratio’? (= 2D:4D finger ratio) – Measure from the crease at the base of the finger to the tip. Divide the number from the index finger (2D) and divide it by the number from the ring finger (4D).