Euro 2016 Football – Allowing Rooney to replenish his chemical energy store and a bit on drugs

I’m hosting #ASEchat tonight on energy as the England and Wales matches are being played so you might want to see the blog on energy  . A football resource I co-wrote with the IOP is at the bottom of this blog

Energy is no longer about transformations it is about transfers from  stores usually through pathways to other stores. Fundamentally energy is about accounting. We have are interested in looking at the amount of energy that is transferred we cant lose or gain any – It must all be accounted for.  How does this translate to football?

Is Wayne Rooney being rested to prevent the depletion of his chemical store?  Will it not be replenished by the weekend?

If we take a player starting the match standing statically, we can look at it in terms of energy.

They have a finite chemical store, mainly composed of fats and carbohydrates. Unless they eat or drink something other than water this will not be replenished in the game. If they chew caffeine gum this will not increase their energy store. Caffeine  will allow them to metabolise the fat store  more quickly hence temporarily increasing their power.  This is the equivalent of increasing the rate of a reaction or the current in an electrical circuit – The battery will not last for as long.

I once had to do a timed swim as part of a beach lifeguard qualification. I’d had flu (ok man flu) just before so my son suggested a Red Bull. Having never had one before I drank one just before starting the swim. I set a personal best time over 200m. Unfortunately the swim was a 400m one and I set the slowest 200m I’ve ever done to just dip under the time required and crawl out of the pool – Devoid of energy ? – No we cant say that !

What about ‘energy drinks’ ?

These will increase the amount in the chemical store There is much further work to be done but it appears that some can improve aerobic endurance  though the widespread use by young people is a cause for concern.

What about Nicotine?

James Vardy was seen with nicotine gum. This does nothing to the chemical store, nor to the availability. It does not enhance physical  performance , but there is some evidence it might enhance cognitive performance.  This is at the expense of being addictive and causing a large rise in blood ressure!

Other stuff on physics and football

Thinking on your feet: Football and physics

This resource was developed in collaboration with Arsenal Football Club and explores eight physics activities linked to the beautiful game. Four schools have trialled the activities as part of the Physics F.C. project, supported by a grant from the John Lyon’s Charity.


Each session is split into two halves of 45 minutes – just like a football match. The first 45 minutes is spent in the classroom, looking at a football idea and then doing a student practical activity that gives insight into what happens on the pitch. The second half of the session applies these ideas to actual football activities.

Physics and football

The resource is split into a teacher’s handbook and a coaching manual:

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