Gadgets

adidas’ £250 smartball

Time was, if you wanted to bend it like Beckham you had to thump a ball around the park for hours on end. While practice is still the only route to perfection, adidas have added some handy technology to the process.

This is the miCoach smart ball. While it looks, feels and moves like the regulation size 5 football, it hides a rather clever trick under its skin (though the £249.95 price tag is a bit of a give away).

Integrated into its 32 thermally-bonded panels is a network of sensors, which are in turn connected to a small computer suspended at the centre of the ball. Kick it from a deadball scenario and the array provides a near-instant report on the speed, spin, strike and flight path of your strike - sending the information via Bluetooth to a device running its partner app.

As your style is analysed by the app, coaching tips and pointers are provided to help you develop your curl, foot placement and power. From bending the ball over virtual walls to perfecting the ideal corner, there's even guidance on how to delver a Ronaldo-esque 'knuckleball' - lacking in spin that results in an erratic flight path.

While the ball might promise to turn you into a deadball master, one thing is guaranteed - an unequalled level of gut-clenching loss when you punt it over the fence. Head over to the adidas site to pick one up.