What is a footbonaut? It sounds German, it has the word foot in it, but how does it relate to soccer? The footbonaut is a machine that feeds soccer balls at various speeds and angles to one player in a small space. How do you improve your touch and duplicate game like passing? Try the footbonaut.
And the footbonaut is partly why those Borussia Dortmund soccer players are so good and sharp on the soccer ball. And I'm guessing they can speed up the Footbonaut and get the soccer balls flying at you pretty quickly - when you play in a game it might even then even feel slow!
Other German soccer teams have their own Footbonauts too, but they're not cheap, costing in the range of $3.5 million. I'm wondering when the United States or an MLS team will get their own Footbonaut machine...
"The Footbonaut, which is the brainchild of the Berlin-based Christian Güttler, is controlled by a tablet computer and is about 15 square yards. A player enters and takes up residence in a circle at the center of the device’s artificial turf surface. Balls come spitting his way from eight directions and he must quickly hit them first time or settle and then place the ball into one of 72 panels, depending upon which one lights up (think “Hollywood Squares“)." NY Times
"Hoffenheim installed the Footbonaut in 2014 and we play here from the Under-12s all the way to the first team -- so you get a lot of balls inside!" the club's sport coordinator for innovation Rafael Hoffner tells CNN's Alex Thomas.
"We use it all day, so it's completely integrated in our system. I don't know how often Dortmund uses the Footbonaut, but here we use it all day. All teams, all players -- it's a part of our training every day."
The Footbonaut is also used for players coming off an injury, which seems like the perfect case for a tool like this.
Here's video of the footbonaut machine being used by Hoffenheim players:
For young soccer players, one place you can use that might similar to something iike the footbonaut is a racquetball court. With walls on every side of you it's easy to play the soccer ball back and forth at pace and turn and collect it much like a footbonaut machine itself. And especially if it's cold or rainy outside in the winter, a racquetball court is an ideal place to work on your control and passing skills.