Japan’s men national soccer team is preparing for the upcoming Olympic Games with an unusual method – using irregular-shaped, odd-bouncing “rice balls”.
Japan uses often unconventional methods and items at trainings, including volleyballs, in order to better prepare its players for the unexpected situations which can occur during games.
The new type of balls are triangular shaped and resemble the traditional Japanese ‘onigiri’ rice ball, wrapped in seaweed. They were first used during training last weekend.
“The ball is irregular in shape so it behaves irregularly through the air too. It sharpens reactions and helps improve concentration,” explained goalkeeping coach Hisanori Fujiwara.
“It was good practice,” goalkeeper Takuya Masuda said. “Hopefully we can apply it in matches.”