A soccer ball takes a lot of beating in the game, and as a player, it’s easy to see why they’re so tough. Generally, a soccer ball needs to achieve the perfect balance between its hardness and softness to prevent injury and damage while retaining its bouncing and flight properties. Moreover, soccer balls have varying hardness levels depending on what game you’re playing (professional, friendly, or practice matches).
Soccer balls are supposed to be hard enough to maintain their shape and aerodynamic properties. A rock-hard soccer ball may cause injury to the player, while a soft soccer ball may not bounce back. The outer skin and the ball’s air pressure are the main determinants of how hard it will be.
This article will answer all your questions about soccer balls, how hard they should be, how much air to pump into yours, and how to maintain a safe pressure level for your games.
Why Are Some Soccer Balls Harder Than Others?
Ideally, soccer balls are supposed to be hard enough to enhance their durability and ensure high performance. The materials used to make soccer balls play a major role in ensuring they are as hard as they’re supposed to be.
Some soccer balls are harder than others because they’re manufactured for different purposes. For example, soccer balls used for training are usually harder and more durable since they’re meant to be used for extended periods. Beach soccer balls, on the other hand, are lighter and softer.
Here are the different types of soccer balls:
Training Soccer Balls
Did you know that there are different kinds of soccer balls? Not just the standard black-and-white ball, but ones with special features. Training balls are designed to help you hone your skills and can withstand various surfaces, from tarmac, snow, cement, and grass. They’re made of PVC, latex, or butyl bladder.
Since training balls are meant to be used for extended training periods, they’re often harder, firm, and durable. This may come as a surprise, but you probably grew up with the standard synthetic ball that nearly every child practices with.
Futsal Soccer Balls
Futsal balls are made to be played on hard surfaces. Futsal balls are made to be heavier and have very little bounce to them, a quality that makes them suitable for hard surfaces. Some are harder than others and vary in size and materials used to make them, but overall they’re harder than your standard soccer ball.
Beach Soccer Balls
Beachy, tropical soccer ball designs have grown popular recently. One feature present in beach soccer balls is that they’re mostly water resistant since they are meant to be played in the humid conditions of the beach. Additionally, they’re lighter and softer for bare-footed players.
Indoor Soccer Balls
Indoor soccer balls tend to be smaller and heavier than outdoor balls. That’s because the players need more control and long passes are unsuitable for indoor environments. Some indoor soccer balls also feature striking colors that are more visible than outdoor ones.
This is because indoor games take place in smaller, enclosed spaces with artificial lighting that might not be as strong as sunlight. Indoor soccer balls are also made to withstand rough surfaces.
Professional Match Soccer Balls
These are the standard balls used to play in the Premier League, La Liga, and other professional leagues. Unlike training balls, match soccer balls are designed for professional games and the soccer pitch. Professional match balls are made for high performance, which is why players find them easy to kick, head, pass, and throw.
Professional match soccer balls usually have the FIFA approval logo imprinted on them and must adhere to the set FIFA laws in both their size, weight, and shape. Match soccer balls also cost more than training balls because their quality is generally greater than that of other soccer balls.
How Hard Should a Soccer Ball Be?
When we talk about hardness in the context of soccer balls, we refer to the ball’s texture and internal pressure. The texture or feel of the ball’s exterior is the first thing you’ll notice when you take the ball in your hands; a softer ball will feel spongy, whereas a harder ball will feel denser.
A soccer ball should have a pressure of between 0.6 – 1.1 atm, according to FIFA regulations. How hard a soccer ball should be is dependent on the purpose of the ball. However, generally speaking, soccer balls should be hard but not too hard.
A professional soccer player practicing or training for a game may need to use a hard soccer ball similar to the ones used during the game. On the other hand, people playing football for fun don’t need to use very hard balls. Softer balls are best when playing for fun to prevent injuries.
How Do You Tell if a Soccer Ball Is Properly Inflated?
Before any football game, it’s crucial to check and confirm that the ball you’re using is properly inflated to make sure it’s suitable for playing. This basically means that your soccer ball should neither be under-inflated nor over-inflated.
You can tell if your ball is properly inflated based on its firmness and weight. A properly inflated soccer ball will be firm and have a nice bounce to it when kicked; it will not feel squishy or spongy. If your ball is too soft, it needs more air.
When it comes to the weight, a properly inflated ball will fall within the standard weight range; if it’s either too light or too heavy, it means that it needs more air or needs to be deflated.
Here are a few easy ways to tell if a soccer ball is properly inflated:
- Bounce the ball around. Bounce it on the floor and see how high it bounces back. It should bounce back at least two-thirds of the original distance.
- Feel the ball with your hands. Squeezing the ball with your hands is a much more accurate way to tell if a soccer ball has been properly inflated. Squeeze the ball with your fingers to get a feel of how soft or hard the ball is. This should tell you if the ball has a higher or lower pressure.
- Use a pressure gauge. An air pressure gauge is probably the best and most effective way to confirm if a soccer ball is properly inflated. A pressure gauge allows you to measure your soccer ball’s pressure and provides you with accurate measurements. Simply insert the gauge needle into the ball and check the meter.
Pro-tip: Use a pump with a built-in pressure gauge to inflate your ball if it’s not properly inflated.
Playing with an over or under-inflated ball can mess up your accuracy. On the other hand, a ball that has exceeded the recommended air pressure limit is harder to kick and could result in injury.
Why Does My Soccer Ball Keep Going Flat?
Just like many other balls, soccer balls lose air with time. However, what if you can’t get the ball to stay firm enough for a whole game?
If your soccer ball keeps going flat, there could be a slow puncture that needs fixing. One way to find the location of the puncture is to put the ball under water. Look for bubbles.
You can also undo the stitching to get to the ball’s tube. Once the tube is out, dip it in water and look for bubbles. Air escapes through tiny cracks, tears, and punctures.
How Long Should a Soccer Ball Stay Inflated?
Soccer balls with latex bladders generally offer more air retention. The air retention is increased to approximately one week in balls made with latex bladders. However, generally, there’s no fixed lifespan for how long you should keep your soccer ball inflated. The ball’s lifespan is dependent on its hardness, quality, and how often you use it.
A soccer ball should stay inflated between six months and 2-3 years, provided you play regularly and your ball is properly inflated. If you let your ball sit idly and only use it occasionally, it may only last a couple of months.
Do Soccer Balls Float in Water?
Soccer balls float on water. That’s because they are filled with air, which boasts a density level lower than that of water. However, the ball will likely sink if it has a puncture that allows the air to escape.
In fact, testing whether your soccer ball floats in water is a great way to check for punctures.
So there you have it. Soccer balls can be hard, but it’s important to factor in the player’s comfort and the game’s intensity. What’s important is that everyone enjoys the game and performs their best with the ball regardless of their skill level.
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