WRITTEN BY: COACH BRUCE LOVELACE
UPDATED ON: JANUARY 6, 2024
There are several reasons why it is important to have your soccer ball inflated to the correct pressure. and be difficult to control. A ball that is too soft will not travel as far and will be more difficult to pass and shoot. The correct pressure will help to ensure that the ball bounces predictably and that it can be easily controlled by players.
It's a question you were just wondering about. What's the regulation soccer ball pressure in psi, pounds per square inch for the various sized balls? FIFA says the air pressure in a regulation soccer ball must be between 8.5 psi and 15.6 psi. You don't want your soccer ball to be inflated to the wrong pressure for several reasons.
Here's why it's important to have your soccer ball properly inflated to the right air pressure.
If a soccer ball is overinflated, it is more difficult to kick and impact with a player's head or body is more severe. A ball that is too hard will bounce too high. If a soccer ball is underinflated it will not travel in a straight direction and it won't go as far. A ball that is too soft will not travel as far and will be more difficult to pass and shoot.
Soccer balls last longer if they are properly inflated. This post will help you understand all you need to know about inflating youth soccer balls to the correct pressure.
Admittedly, that's a wide range of acceptable pressures for a soccer ball to be inflated to, but that's the official rule of FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. The huge publicity/controversy nicknamed "Deflategate" that surrounded Tom Brady and the New England Patriots American football team makes you wonder if a deflategate could happen in soccer too. Could a purposefully under inflated ball be used for one team to gain an advantage?
Quick answer: no.
Both teams play with the same ball, so any under-inflated or over-inflated ball would be noticed immediately by the players or one of the officials who examines the ball before the match starts. An improperly inflated soccer ball would be replaced with a properly inflated ball before any play would continue. What else do you need to know about soccer ball pressure?
You've got the simple answer to what's the best air pressure for soccer balls, but there are also some other important things to know about the soccer balls you want to use for your kids. These include the 3 ways on how to measure the pressure of a soccer ball, the best way on how to inflate a soccer ball properly, how to deflate a soccer ball, how pressure affects the behavior of the soccer ball, and what soccer balls are inflated with.
A good referee should check the soccer ball before each game to make sure it is suitable for playing a game. Weather and field conditions and the age of the soccer players may affect the referees judgement on the exact pressure she feels is best for all concerned.
How does a referee or the home team coach make sure the soccer ball is properly inflated? There are 3 ways to measure soccer ball pressure.
By far the easiest way to initially pump up your soccer ball is to use a pump that has a built-in pressure gauge. I bought one of these when my oldest first started playing recreational soccer in our home town and it lasted many years before finally breaking down, maybe 15 years later.
The biggest mistake coaches and parents make when inflating a soccer ball revolves around the needle. It should be lubricated first and then inserted at a direct angle toward the center of the ball. Failure to do this right might result in a damage to the soccer ball valve or internal bladder.
Here's a quick video with a few tips on inflating your soccer ball to the right pressure.
As a side bar (pun intended) you should know that soccer ball pressure can be stated with a BAR or a psi number. Interestingly enough, BARs (and millibars) are used by meteorologists when they talk about air pressure and 1 BAR is about the same as normal atmospheric air pressure. Normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7psi.
A bag of inflated soccer balls can take up a lot of space. You may need that valuable room in your garage for something else and want to reduce clutter during the off season. No, don't stab your ball with a knife. There is a proper way to deflate your soccer ball by letting out the air. Here is the 4-step method of deflating your soccer ball:
You can deflate a soccer ball using other objects , but I cannot with good conscious recommend this method. It's so easy to damage the valve and then your ball is next to worthless. People have successfully deleted a soccer ball without a needle by using a paperclip and lubrication, but you're flirting with disaster.
What are professional soccer balls filled with? There is an old myth that soccer balls are filled with helium. I had never heard that one until doing research to write this post.
Supposedly some people still believe this, but regular old breathable air is used. It's a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and a few other trace elements. If helium were used to inflate soccer balls the process would be more complicated and add an unnecessary expense to playing soccer.
You might be wondering how the pressure of a soccer ball affects the kicking distance as well as the control of the ball. The higher that the pressure is inside the ball the farther it will travel when kicked.
Here's the geeky explanation. When a ball is stiffer more of the energy from a child kicking it is moved into the ball. Softer balls, when kicked, lose more energy in the deformation of the ball's surface. How air pressure affects a kicked soccer ball travel would make a great science project for your young soccer players in your family.
The best way to do this would be inflate your soccer ball to 1)very firm, 2)slightly soft, and 3)very soft pressure levels. In addition to ball pressure, realize there's one more important factor that determine how far it will go, the weight of the ball.
I hope this article on youth soccer balls and pressure was helpful. To search for other soccer articles on this website use the search box below. For more information about soccer balls use one of the links below my signature.
Keep it fun!
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