There can hardly be any soccer activity without a soccer ball. Ironically, the fans will admire the players, the pitches, but rarely the ball.
Perhaps, only the soccer players appreciate the balls and can tell a good from a bad one. Well-pumped soccer balls can make all the difference in a match.
Soccer balls have variations depending on the types of soccer they are made for. In other words, soccer balls come in different shapes and sizes to suit the purpose of every soccer variation.
Interestingly, even within association football, there is usually more than one variation depending on the age group. Besides the shape and size, their pressures also differ.
To achieve the right pressure, some soccer players break in new soccer balls. This is a useful hack that can improve the overall experience with the ball.
For effective use, matchday and casual soccer balls need to be inflated to certain pressure levels as prescribed by their manufacturers or according to the acceptable FIFA standard.
If a soccer ball isn’t inflated properly to the right pressure, it will not have the required bounce. On the other hand, a soccer ball will be difficult to play or kick when it is overinflated.
It is also likely to cause injuries to a soccer player when overinflated. Furthermore, soccer balls are said to last longer if they have the required amount of air pressure.
We understand that not all soccer players or enthusiasts know how to properly check soccer balls’ pressure which is why we decided to put together a useful guide.
Continue reading and you will discover how not to only check soccer ball’s pressure with different techniques and effective methods but also the standard pressure for soccer balls used during professional soccer matches and other soccer activities.
How to check soccer ball pressure?
How to check soccer ball pressure has always been a matter of concern among soccer enthusiasts all over the world, especially those who enjoy playing the sport during their leisure hours.
To effectively curtail this problem, many soccer ball manufacturers clearly state the recommended air pressure for each ball somewhere on the body of the ball. Most people who buy new soccer balls don’t usually notice this important piece of information.
The world’s governing body on soccer, FIFA, has a laid down guide on air pressure in pounds per square inch (psi) for the different sizes and categories of soccer balls. It recommends that soccer balls used for professional matches should be inflated between the range of 8.5 PSI and 15.6 PSI.
Below is a table containing a collection of FIFA-recommended PSIs as compiled by Samuel Waihenya.
|Ball Size||Recommended psi||Use Case|
|Size 1||Less than 6||Toddlers and kids|
|Size 2||Less than 6||Kid play|
|Size 3||6 to 8||Casual kickabouts|
|Size 4||8.5 to 11.6||Training games and futsal|
|Size 5||8.5 to 15.6||Professional match standard|
To effectively check a soccer ball’s pressure, you can adopt one or all of the methods listed below. This way, you’ll be assured of an almost accurate result.
Squeeze the soccer ball
This is the most commonly used method for checking the pressure of soccer balls. It is very practical because all you have to do is use your hands.
The hands are used to firmly hold the soccer ball, then a gentle squeeze is used to determine the level of air pressure in it. If the hands easily squeeze the soccer ball in, then it is likely to be underinflated. On the other hand, when it feels hard like a rock, it is likely to be overinflated.
While the effectiveness of this method remains a debate among soccer spectators, it seems to be widely accepted and often used during important matches.
Some referees can often be seen squeezing soccer balls shortly before the commencement of a game in an attempt to check their pressure.
Coaches and players aren’t left out in this. You can often see them checking soccer balls’ pressure during soccer training or practice using the squeezing method.
There are speculations that the more you check the pressure of soccer balls using this method, the better you will become in figuring out if a ball is properly inflated or not.
While this is a far from accurate technique and relies on the knowledge and experience of the checker, it serves the purpose in most scenarios.
- It doesn’t require the use of any special device
- It cost little or nothing in terms of money
The disadvantages of this method
- Takes a lot of time to learn and perfect
- Accurate results can’t be guaranteed
Make use of an air pressure gauge
If you want to check a soccer ball’s pressure and achieve the utmost accurate result, you have to rely on pressure measuring devices. There is usually a wider margin of error when you rely on human senses because there is so much that the human body can tolerate.
An air pressure gauge is a mechanical device that can be used in checking the amount of air pressure in a soccer ball. It is designed to translate the pressure exerted on it into a human-readable form, as calibrated by the device’s indicator needle.
Some of these devices are digital, displaying the result as numbers. However, a majority of the air pressure gauges in use are still analog and rely on needles.
This is one of the most effective methods used in checking the pressure of soccer balls. Although checking soccer balls’ pressure is often trivial, it is imperative to always check them after inflation and before use.
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- It is a fast and effective method
- Takes a short time to learn how to use pressure measuring devices
- Getting this device will cost you some money
- Pressure measuring devices can give false results when they malfunction
Let the soccer ball drop from a height
This method involves allowing a soccer ball to drop from a certain height and observing the way it bounces back up. The height at which it bounces back up is used to judge or check if it is overinflated or underinflated.
Specifically, you let the soccer ball drop from a height of about 80 inches. If it bounces back up to a range between 45 inches and 65 inches, it is considered to be properly inflated. Below this range, the ball is underinflated and above this range, it is over-inflated.
Alternatively, a soccer ball can be let down from any desirable height. If it bounces back up to about two-thirds (2/3) of its original height, it is considered properly inflated.
While this method seems to be handy and more scientific than the use of the hand, other factors like the nature of the surface and wind speed can affect the rebound of the ball.
Some soccer spectators only use this method when there are no other options available—and you should too.
- It’s handy and does not require any devices
- More reliable than the use of hand
- There is a higher margin for error compared to the use of a barometer
- Can be influenced by the type of ground used
- Outcomes can be influenced by weather
The soccer ball is no doubt an important tool and its importance in soccer cannot be overemphasized. It is important to mention that soccer balls can explode when overinflated.
In situations like street soccer in the slums where the number of available balls is usually limited (sometimes to one), this can be really costly.
Overinflation of soccer balls is also bad news for goalkeepers because they will need more force to stop the ball. For goalkeepers that choose not to wear gloves, overinflated balls can cause them more injuries.
For optimal performance, soccer balls must be inflated according to the manufacturer’s specification or according to the laid down guideline of the governing body.
Underinflation is just as bad as overinflation. However, in this case, rather than the ball exploding, the soccer players will be the ones suffering the consequences.
When a soccer ball is underinflated, players will have to put in twice the amount of energy they will need for a properly inflated ball to move it through the same distance.
It will also be harder to score goals when the ball is underinflated. Generally, this will kill the spirit of the game for both the players and the fans.
It is important to know how to properly check the pressure of your soccer balls. When you leave soccer balls overinflated or underinflated, you will only be shortening their lifespan.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!