String figure glossary

Footballer

string figure Invented by Martin Probert 2003. Construction time: 15 seconds. This moving figure shows the ball driven towards the goal. An action replay takes place in slow motion.

  1. Use a 0.80 metre wide loop.
  2. Place the left thumb and left index into the loop. Let the loop hang down over the palm of the left hand.
  3. With the right hand, take hold of the short thumb-index string and pull it to the right.
  4. With the left little finger, pick up the near left index string.
  5. Release the right hand.
  6. Touch the tips of the left thumb and left index, and slide the loop off the thumb and onto the index.
  7. Insert the left thumb from below into the double loop on the left index. Spread the thumb and index to widen the double loop.
  8. Insert the right thumb from below into the left little finger loop, and separate the hands.
  9. Rotate the right thumb away, down, towards you under the thumb loop, and up.
  10. Insert the right little finger from above into the right thumb loop and pick up the near thumb string.
  11. Insert the left index from above into the right little finger loop and pick up the far string of the right little finger. Separate the hands.
  12. Insert the left middle finger from above into the right little finger loop and pick up the right palm string. Separate the hands.
  13. Insert the right little finger from below into the right thumb loop and pick up the far thumb string.
  14. Release the left middle finger.
  15. Navaho the right little finger loops.
  16. Pick up the navahoed string with the right thumb.
  17. Navaho the right thumb loops.
  18. Release the double loop from the left thumb and index. Single loops remain around the left index and left little finger, and also around the right thumb and right little finger.
  19. Hold the hands with the palms facing each other, and the fingers pointing away from you.
  20. A small loop surrounds the lower transverse string near to the left little finger. This is the 'foot' of the player. Insert the left thumb into the 'foot' and wiggle it about until the football player forms neatly, then remove the thumb.
  21. Insert the left thumb into the large loop (the 'ball') near the right hand and pull it left towards the middle of the figure.
  22. Draw attention to the football player and the ball. A penalty kick is about to take place.
  23. Insert the left thumb into the 'football' and pull it left towards the player's 'foot', then insert the left thumb into the foot as well as the ball and pull both to the left, then move the thumb to the right as far as it will go, and release the thumb.
  24. The player is about to take the penalty. The whistle blows ("Pheeep!"), the ball is shot to the right (pull with the right hand), and "It's a goal - hurrah!"
  25. Insert the left thumb into the 'football' and pull it left towards the player's 'foot', then insert the left thumb into the foot as well as the ball and pull both to the left, then move the thumb to the right as far as it will go, and release the thumb.
  26. It's time for the slow action reply. The whistle blows ("P-h-e-e-e-p!"), the ball travels s-l-o-w-l-y right, and it's a goal again, "H-u-r-r-a-h!"
  27. To dissolve the figure, release the right thumb and left index, and separate the hands.

Copyright © Martin Probert 2003
HOME PAGE: The Survival, Origin and Mathematics of String Figures