Sport

Ball that does all

GREAT Harwood's Mark Litherland is hoping his football will help youngsters bend it like Beckham.
MARK Litherland's coaching ball.

GREAT Harwood's Mark Litherland is hoping his football will help youngsters bend it like Beckham.

Mark, a professional football coach, has developed a coaching ball enabling youngsters to sharpen their shooting and passing skills from as soon as they can walk.

The coaching ball has brightly coloured patches labelled with simple directions - including "strike", "loft" and "swerve". The ball is placed on the floor and the relevant panels kicked according to the required shot.

Mark, 33, trained for his coaching badge at Burnley FC, and has coached Accrington Stanley's youth team and other local clubs.

He said: "The coloured panels allow learners to identify the exact area of the football to strike in order to make the desired pass."

"They are ideal for very young beginners as well as people for whom English is a second language."

The idea came after Mark went football coaching in Japan.

"I struggled to communicate to the students exactly where to kick the ball so this seemed a good idea. Also while coaching adults during one-on-one tuition, it was hard to explain the exact area to kick the ball when I was 20 foot away. I've also used the design with young children."

Mark is offering free demonstrations to schools and clubs. For further information ring 1254 607539.