Welcome to the next article in our series focusing on ‘the business of sport’. This month the focus is on a NI company who has developed an innovative ball with a unique grip to help develop a players skill.
The mamba ball has been developed by local firm, LMInnov8s based in Antrim. The idea was actually inspired by the mamba’s inventor when he saw his son playing with a standard ball in the background. He wanted a ball that allowed his son to practice in a small space, so he developed the mamba as a close contact skills and training ball.
The ball is a unique skills training football used to develop touch, control and technique. The grip technology on the outer surface of the ball helps keep the ball closer to the user and has recently been patented by the company and meets FIFA’s regulations in terms of size and weight for a size 5 football.
LMInnov8 launched the ball on 14th November 2014, though the ball has been in development for nearly 6 years. Since it was launched in November, the company have seen the mamba sell to over 35 countries around the world.
Managing Director, Patrick said “For us, the mamba ball seemed like one of those products that was too good to be true. We couldn’t believe that someone hadn’t developed a training ball such as this, but when we realised they hadn’t we decided it was too good an opportunity to miss.
We also realised that there wasn’t another football product on the market that offered the purchaser a football, pump and skills training leaflet as part of a single package. When you buy your mamba we include all the items, as well as giving access to a whole host of training tutorials on our website that help the player develop their skills.”
Patrick continued, “We see that there is an ever growing gap between the top teams and the rest of the teams in the world. This primarily comes down to fundamental skills and techniques that you learn in youth development. The mamba is used as a practice ball for specific drills over a 10-20 minute period. We see this becoming part of a coach’s training regime where they dedicate a set time throughout the session to concentrate on these core skills, and obviously we’d hope that they use the mamba during this time.”
The company is currently developing a size 4 ball which will allow a much broader range of people to use the ball. The smaller ball will be aimed and players under the age of 12. In addition, the firm is currently targeting the US as a key market in 2015 and also looking to expand the brand by introducing a clothing range and a few more ideas that will come to light this year.
Follow the company at mambaball.com and on twitter @mambaball
Geoff run’s his own Sports Consultancy, working with clients such as FIFA across the world. He is also on the board of SportNI. You can follow Geoff on twitter @geoffwnjwilson or Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/geoffwnjwilson