As a general rule, a soccer ball should be inflated to a pressure between 9 to 15 PSI (pounds per square inch).
We’ve all been there, a soccer ball is as hard as a bowling ball or as flat as a deflated balloon. It can really affect the way you play.
You crush a softer ball and it nosedives into the ground. Or, you take a touch on an overinflated ball and it goes 2 feet further than it normally would. Both situations are frustrating!
In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into what makes a soccer ball hard and how it can impact your game.
What is the Ideal Soccer Ball Pressure?
As long as you are between 9 and 15 PSI, you will be ready to go.
The ideal pressure of a soccer ball depends on several factors, including the type of ball, playing surface, weather conditions, and personal preference.
Sometimes you’ll want to adjust the ball’s pressure depending on the surface you are playing on.
For example, if you are playing on a hard surface, such as concrete or asphalt, you may want to inflate the ball to a slightly lower pressure to reduce the risk of injury and improve control.
On the other hand, if you are playing on a soft surface, such as grass, you may want to inflate the ball to a slightly higher pressure to ensure that it bounces properly.
It is also important to consider the weather conditions when inflating a soccer ball.
- In hot weather, the air inside the ball will expand, causing the ball to become overinflated.
- In cold weather, the air inside the ball will contract, causing the ball to become underinflated.
In addition to these factors, personal preference also plays a role in determining the ideal pressure of a soccer ball.
Some players prefer a softer ball that is easier to control, while others prefer a harder ball that travels farther and faster.
What Factors Influence the Soccer Ball Pressure?
Altitude is one of the most significant factors affecting soccer ball hardness. As the altitude increases, the air pressure decreases, which results in the ball becoming harder.
As you were taught in science class (assuming you weren’t snoozing 😴), the air inside the ball expands at a lower pressure, which causes the ball to become more inflated and, consequently, harder. Therefore, it is crucial to adjust the ball’s pressure before a game if the altitude is high.
As the temperature increases, the air molecules inside the ball expand, causing the ball to become softer.
Conversely, as the temperature decreases, the air molecules inside the ball contract, making the ball harder.
Therefore, it is essential to store the ball in a cool and dry place to maintain its hardness.
Humidity is also a factor that can affect the hardness of a soccer ball. When the air is humid, the water molecules in the air can penetrate the ball’s surface, making it heavier and softer.
In contrast, when the air is dry, the ball remains harder and more inflated. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the ball dry during storage and gameplay to maintain its hardness.
Effects of Overinflation and Underinflation
What Happens if a Ball is Overinflated?
When a soccer ball is over-inflated, it becomes too hard and bounces excessively.
The ball may become difficult to control and can lead to injuries, especially when heading the ball. Overinflation can also cause the ball to lose its shape, making it difficult to kick accurately.
Overinflation can also affect the lifespan of the ball. Excessive pressure can cause the ball to wear out quickly, leading to the need for frequent replacements.
What Happens if a Ball is Underinflated?
When a soccer ball is underinflated, it becomes too soft and loses its shape. Underinflation can also cause the ball to lose its bounce, making it difficult to play on certain surfaces.
When a ball is underflated it makes a noticeable thud noise.
Additionally, underinflation can also affect the lifespan of the ball. The lack of pressure can cause the ball to wear out quickly, leading to the need for frequent replacements.
Measuring Soccer Ball Pressure
Measuring the pressure of a soccer ball is a simple process that can be done with a pressure gauge.
This type of gauge provides a more accurate reading compared to a manual gauge, which can be affected by human error.
When measuring the pressure of a soccer ball, it is important to ensure that the ball is at room temperature. As I’ve already stated, the temp can affect the pressure of the soccer ball.
To measure the pressure of a soccer ball, I first insert the nozzle of the pressure gauge into the valve of the ball. I then wait for the gauge to display the pressure reading. Easy enough!
If you don’t have a gauge, you can just test it by squeezing the ball with your thumbs. This will take some experience to know what is too soft and too hard. But, for seasoned soccer players, you can get a good idea of what ball is properly pumped up!
Here’s a helpful video…it’s as simple as that!
Final Thoughts on Ball Pressure
It seems like a ridiculous topic for me to write about but the pressure of a soccer ball affects the ball’s trajectory, speed, and overall performance.
When pumping up your ball, consider things like playing surface and weather conditions.
If I had to choose between the two (too inflated or deflated), I would pick the ball being too inflated. It tends to be harder to control so the next time you play with the right pressured ball, it will feel easier! Just my two cents 🙂
Lastly, there are only a few pieces of equipment that a soccer player needs so you might as well put your effort into making your soccer ball playable!