Sunday, 13 June 2010

Why the USA drew with England - the Hands theory

For all that The Sun took to opportunity to reinforce the stereotype that the Americans don't get football on their front page yesterday, the USA are rated the World's 14th best team and they proved last night that they are easily able to hold their own against a shoddy England team.

And despite what The Sun says, American sports analysis in general is some of the best in the world and among those who get football, their writing is superb.

Take this piece in today's New York Times. Sitting alongside the normal match report, it's a colour article which takes as its base the 'Hands Theory'. That's the idea that the reason that Americans don't get football is because it doesn't involve playing with your hands. Baseball, American Football and Basketball - the triumverate of US sports - are all played with the hands and American kids all learn the basics of hand-eye co-ordination at a very early age as they chuck a ball around (of whatever size or shape) in the backyard.

(A sidenote to those readers who ask about ice hockey. It's very much the poor relation in US sports terms and the sides are all dominated by Canadians and Europeans. And anyway, the skills are mainly to with control of the puck with a stick held in the hands.)

Back to the Hands Theory. The article notes that the one position in football where hands are all important is the goalkeeper. Tim Howard, Brad Friedel and Casey Kellar were all good performers at 'traditional' US sports and all have more than held their own in the top leagues. In England we have produced some good goalkeepers. But I can't name any since Gordon Banks who would be considered to be world class.

Annoyed with jingoistic English newspaper coverage of the World Cup - look to America.


beanswidow said...

Why are you deleting comments? Free speech?

Alex Folkes said...

I delete comments for abusive language. Contrary comments are more than welcome, just not outright abuse. I tried to contact you to explain deletion, but your profile is not publicly available.

Paul Walter said...

Peter Shilton ought to mentioned as a half decent goalie.