Very few products that cross my desk can be described as unique, but this smart football from Adidas – which also happens to be one of the world’s most expensive footballs by some margin – is just that. The miCoach is a top‑quality match ball of normal size and weight, but loaded with sensors to transmit via Bluetooth to your Apple device (only) details of the ball’s speed, spin, strike and flight pattern after you’ve kicked it.
This is a training aid designed for perfecting your dead-ball technique (although there’s nothing to stop you using it as an ordinary match ball, the data it provides in free play is of no use) and it is absolutely remarkable, both as a robust piece of technology and as a way of tutoring you to, quite literally, bend it like Beckham. It is almost like playing a real-life video game.
I gave my fully charged sample miCoach – you get 2,000 kicks from an hour’s charging in the ball’s dock – to my godson, the renowned Alfred Johnson, captain of the Balham Blazers Under-10 Colts, to test. Alf found it does everything it says, and then some. Brilliant, then, but probably a product for teenagers or adult players rather than children.