Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ball Philosophy - pushing the rule limits UPDATE ? Part one!


Do You know the Ball rules in Floorball? Well let us take a look at them and try to understand them a bit better. First we have a general question - are these rules designed to describe something that already existed - or are the rules designed to present or define what could be described at the most optimal Floorball ball yet? 
Yes, this turns a bit philosophical and sometimes we do not have clear answers - but we are of the optimistic view that a question sometimes tells more than an answer..

All rules are posted here as a copy of what the IFF have published online per today's date

2.2 Ball
The balls (10 of each type) are tested according to the SP-method 1506, point 5.3 (see appendix 1),
and are assessed according to the following requirements. The ball can have only one colour outside
and can have a second colour inside. IFF approves balls for IFF events and will only use one coloured
balls. National federations can approve other than white, vanilla or red balls for play in national series.
All of the tested balls are to meet the requirements.

The testing part seems to make fully sense. The logic behind the color selection is not obvious since the few times we have played with multicolored balls it worked fine and in some cases a multicolored ball is better if you want to better see the spin on the ball, but we guess some good reasons are behind these rules. The spelling by the way is British English and they spell like this in Europe.

2.2.1 Ball Weight
The ball is to weight 23 ± 1 grams. P's Certification Rules for IFF-marking of Floorball Equipment – SPCR 011 – September 2011 ©. 16

This makes sense since the weight difference if you play Floorball on Svalbard or on the Equator - at sea level or high up in the Andes or in the Himalaya's - well these differences is well below the tolerances provided in the rules. The more adequate question is however - why 23 grams - and is that the perfect weight for a Floorball ball - if not should it be heavier or lighter... all in the interest of game developments? 

2.2.2 Ball Dimensions
The ball is to be designed with dimensions according to appendix 11. http://windows3.salibandy.net/Liitetiedostot/Regulations/Material%20Regulations%20Edition%202012%20Appendixes%209-25.pdf
The dimensions must conform to the standard.
a) ball diameter 72 ± 1 mm
b) hole diameter 10 ± 1 mm
c) the hole's internal placement at joint no requirement
d) the hole's internal placement over joint c/2 ± 2 mm

The diameter rule makes sense - but only as long as we are rooted in the idea that a ball should be of this size as the optimal ball measurement. More about that later on in part two.
C) and D) are perhaps more interesting... First joints are sparsely described in these rules. And we know manufacturers have added extra joints to improve the ball so it is interesting that the joint is not more described... How many joints can a ball have up to 8 or more... and would such a ball be better? - or can a ball be made without a joint? The joint also connects to another matter eg the thickness of the shell... it seems to only be regulated by the weight?
Then the placements of the holes... hm traditionally they look the same, with two symmetric halves but as they are merged the ball has a rather asymmetric pattern. If we interpret the rules right they leave a rather open plying field for the placement of the holes - hm maybe time for some experiments here? to optimize the hole symmetry? or asymmetry? UPDATE and even more interesting observation is perhaps that the illustration, see link above, indicates that C is a distance: left unspecified - so in principle C may be huge or very small - the main requirement is then that D is half C within some tolerances - the rule maybe looks strict - but perhaps by playing around with the placements of the holes - the ball could look fairly different but still comply to these rules? Hmm.

2.2.3 Ball Surface Fineness
The ball's surface is to be even, negative embossed pattern up to 0.5 mm are allowed, but the surface
and negative embossed pattern fineness is to be between Ra 1—5 μm. Any protruding unevenness
over 0.5 mm from the surface of the ball should not be present at the joint.

It makes fully sense and we may not add anything clever to this.

2.2.4 Number of Holes
The ball is to have 26 holes.

Why? Because this is the best? And the word hole is not perfectly defined either - would different oval or octagon holes for instance be legal UPDATE Maybe we read the rule as the devil reads the Bible  but in rule 2.2.2 is states clearly hole diameter 10 ± 1 mm - this plus minus one eliminates the oval holes right? since it does not say average hole diameter.. but still a 4 - 6 - 8 or 10 sided hole could be considered to have a 10 mm diameter if the envelope is to be pushed - or an even better question - could differently shaped holes improve the ball in some way? Then what is improvement?

2.2.5 Breaking Stress
The ball's material is to tolerate a breaking stress of 6.0 N/mm2
 as a minimum, and 1.5 N/mm2 over the joint.

OK

2.2.6 Rebound
The ball's rebound is to be 650 ± 50 mm.

We do not understand this rule? Should the ball rebound 650 mm as it is being shot hard into something? Or is this measurement as it falls from 100 cm or 10 m? Then we think that the material the ball bounces off also must be defined - is it steel, or some padded surface maybe like a soft sports floor? The tolerance is further rather large at almost 15%, if our calculator worked right... Maybe this test should be tighten up a bit? And we miss another perhaps more vital specification... more on that later.. in part two.

2.2.7 Ball Marking
The ball is to have a negative IFF embossed print (see also point 1.3.2.4). The marking is to be of such
proportions and design that the information is clearly visible and is not removed under play. The
negative embossed print is to have the same colour as the ball.
The ball can have one print or negative embossed print in direct connection to the joint; showing the
manufactures name or the product name. The font size has to be maximum 5 mm in height. The print
or negative embossed print can have a different colour. The prints should not take up more than 1/10th
of the ball's surface.

This fully makes sense since this is the main marking for the quality sport Floorball. 

We have some additional comments or reflections on this in terms of the philosophy to push the limits a bit - as we want to discuss what perhaps can be done better in terms of defining the most perfect Floorball ball. We will wrap these questions up in part Two post,,,,,,, that comes soon - so stay tuned...
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Caution

Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!