Sensor-packed ​Adidas miCoach Smart Ball fine-tunes your free kicks

The €299 ​Adidas miCoach Smart Ball bristles with sensors and connects to an iPhone app so you can practise your passes and perfect your penalties.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Spain's Álvaro Negredo with the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball. Adidas

If you want to brush up on your soccer skills ahead of the World Cup, you can now be coached by the ball itself with the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball -- a ball that's so smart, when you kick it over your neighbour's fence it throws itself back.

OK, that's not true. But it is filled with sensors that record your kicks and talk to your iPhone to track your progress as you work on your passes, penalties and free kicks.

Chile's Claudio Bravo is a safe pair of hands for the miCoach Smart Ball. Adidas

The ball bristles with sensors that detect and relay data on where and how hard it has been struck, enabling the app to show the amount of spin and map the ball's trajectory as it arcs through the air. The ball and app are designed for training on precision shooting and long passes or dead-ball plays such as penalties, free-kicks, corners, and goal kicks.

To help players nail each pass or free kick, the free miCoach Smart Ball for iPhone and iPod touch includes tutorials and tests, recording your progress as you train. The "Challenge yourself" section of the app sets you to work kicking the ball at a certain speed, bending it around a wall or having a crack at the type of free kick a pro would have a go at. As with all good fitness apps you can save and record your kicks, and share them to social networks.

The ball talks to your phone via Bluetooth, and charges without a cable on a wireless charging dock. Pretty much all it's missing is a Find My iPhone-style tracker so when you toe-poke it into the hedge, you don't have to spend half an hour hacking through the underground before your game of three-and-in can resume.

Adidas has created the official Brazuca match ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, kicking off in São Paulo on 12 June with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia. The world's top teams, including England, Australia and the USA, will then join holders Spain in battle of 64 games across 12 stadiums to take the trophy.

For a pitch-level view of the action, Adidas also added six GoPro-style HD cameras to the Brazuca to create the Brazucam ball, capturing 360-degree views of the beautiful game as it's booted about by the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Dani Alves and Cristian Tello.

The miCoach Smart Ball is on sale now in the US and Europe for $299 or €299 at adidas.com or from Apple online or in stores. This converts to £180 and AU$320.