How Hard Should a Soccer Ball Be?
How hard should a soccer ball be? As a general rule, a soccer ball should be inflated to a pressure between 9 to 15 PSI (pounds per square inch).
FIFA regulations say that soccer balls should have a pressure between 8.8 and 16.1 PSI.
The English Premier League (EPL) recommends PSI for match games to be between 8.7 and 16.0 PSI.
We’ve all been there, a soccer ball is hard as a bowling ball or flat as a deflated balloon. It can really affect the way you play. You crush a soft 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.
In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into what makes a soccer ball hard and how it can impact your game.
Understanding Soccer Ball Basics
Size and Weight of a Socccer Ball
Soccer balls come in different sizes and weights, depending on the age group and level of play. The standard size for adults is size 5, which weighs between 14 and 16 ounces.
For children, the sizes range from size 1 to size 4, with size 1 being the smallest and size 4 being the largest.
Here’s some more info about soccer ball sizes.
Inflation (not what you read about in the news)
A soccer ball that is underinflated will not bounce correctly, while an overinflated ball will be challenging to control.
For youth soccer players, I think you’re safe if the PSI of your ball is anywhere between 9 and 15.
The hardness of a soccer ball is a crucial factor that affects its performance. A ball that is too hard will not have enough grip, making it difficult to control and pass accurately.
On the other hand, a ball that is too soft will not have enough bounce, making it challenging to kick and shoot accurately.
Sometimes it can be the ball’s material that can affect the hardness of it. Or, at least, the feeling of how hard it is.
Soccer balls are made of different materials, with leather, synthetic leather, and rubber being the most common.
Leather balls are the most expensive and offer the best performance, while rubber balls are the cheapest and are ideal for beginners.
Ideal Soccer Ball Pressure
When it comes to soccer ball pressure, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The ideal pressure of a soccer ball depends on several factors, including the type of ball, playing surface, weather conditions, and personal preference.
Here are the recommended PSIs for each soccer group.
- All non-professional players: 9-15 PSI
- FIFA-sanctioned soccer matches: 8.8 and 16.1 PSI
- Premier League: 8.7 and 16.0 PSI
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.
Of course, you’ll still have to be in the range if you are playing a game but you have a bit of ley way depending on your preference.
Factors Influencing Soccer Ball Hardness
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.
Measuring Soccer Ball Pressure
Measuring the pressure of a soccer ball is a simple process that can be done with a pressure gauge.
I typically use a digital pressure gauge to measure the pressure of a soccer ball. 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.
Effects of Overinflation and Underinflation
When a soccer ball is overinflated, 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. The excessive pressure can cause the ball to wear out quickly, leading to the need for frequent replacements.
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.
In conclusion, it seems like a ridiculous topic but the hardness of a soccer ball is a crucial factor that affects the ball’s trajectory, speed, and overall performance.
In summary, a soccer ball should be 9 to 15 PSI for youth soccer players. There’s a range so you can inflate it to your preference.
When pumping up your ball, consider things like playing surface and weather conditions.
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!