How to Deflate a Soccer Ball (With a Pump or Without)

How to Deflate a Soccer Ball (With a Pump or Without)

Inside of a Soccer Ball

You may run into times when a soccer ball needs to be deflated. Whether it’s squeezing the air out of it to fit into a bag or simply because the ball is too hard. In these times, it’s important to know how Preview Changes (opens in a new tab)to deflate a soccer ball.

Also, deflating a soccer ball is an essential part of maintaining it in its optimal condition.

Knowing the parts of a soccer ball can help you better understand where the valve is located. The valve is a small rubbery black hole.

There are a couple of effective ways to deflate a soccer ball. To make it easier on yourself, you’ll need a good quality ball pump with the right size needle. Don’t worry if you don’t have this handy. We’ll show you how to deflate a ball without a pump as well.

How to Deflate a Soccer Ball with a Pump

The best and easiest way to deflate a soccer ball is with a ball pump and needle.

Time needed: 2 minutes.

  1. Identify the valve of the soccer ball.
  2. Wipe any dirt or debris off the valve.
  3. Lubricate (saliva, water, silicone oil, or coconut oil) the inflation needle.
    The reason why we need to moisten the needle is that the valve opening is tight so sticking a dry needle could damage it.
  4. Insert the needle straight into the valve.
    It’s important to keep the needle and ball steady. You’ll run the risk of snapping the needle if you don’t.
  5. Slowly squeeze the air out of the soccer ball.
  6. Carefully remove the needle back out of the valve.
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How to Deflate a Soccer Ball without a Pump

Sometimes you’re left with no pump or needle. How do you deflate a soccer ball in this instance? We’ll show you a couple of options in the following steps.

  1. Find a paperclip around your house.
  2. Clean off the paperclip (make sure there’s no tape or glue on it).
  3. Straighten out the paperclip so there’s a long, straight side.
  4. Lubricate (saliva, water, silicone oil, or coconut oil) the paperclip.
  5. Insert the paperclip straight into the valve.
  6. Slowly squeeze the air out of the soccer ball.
  7. Carefully remove the paperclip back out of the valve.

You can also do this with the pen cartridge of a ballpoint pen or anything thin enough to pierce through the valve. But, be cautious that it can fit into the valve properly.

Things to Keep in Mind When Deflating a Soccer Ball

Lubricate the Valve

Don’t skip this step! The valve of a soccer ball is the most important part because it allows for the ball to be inflated and deflated. Therefore, it’s crucial to lubricate the needle or object thoroughly before poking it through.

Go Straight Into It

I can’t tell you how many times my kids (never me!)  have broken needles because they went in at an angle or they didn’t secure the ball tight enough.

In this case, you just hope that the needle doesn’t break into the valve. Otherwise, you’ll need a pair of needle nose pliers to get them out.

The best thing to do is stand or sit right above the valve looking straight down so you are in line with the ball.

Release the Air Slowly

You don’t want to frantically squeeze the life out of the ball!

Instead, carefully squeeze the sides of the ball so it’s a steady deflate.

Store the Soccer Ball Inside

You should store your “good” soccer balls inside. If they are left outside, especially when the weather fluctuates, they will lose their shape.

What Should a Soccer Ball Be Inflated to?

As you deflate your soccer ball, keep in mind that deflating it too much will make it “stick” to the ground and become unplayable.

According to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), a professional soccer ball must have between 8.8 and 16.1 PSI of air pressure.

Don’t Train With a Flat Ball

Most kids love training with an underflated soccer ball. I’m not talking about a ball that doesn’t bounce at all but one that has some cushion to it.

Practicing with this kind of ball won’t do you any favors. In fact, it could hurt you in the season. When you transition from an underflated ball to a properly inflated ball, it may feel rock solid. In actuality, it’s set at the correct PSI.

So, ensure that your ball is pumped up properly, and go have some fun!


There’s no science or art behind deflating soccer balls. It’s pretty straightforward especially if you have a ball pump handy.

If you don’t, you’ll just need to get a little creative and a paperclip or ballpoint pen will do!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you let the air out of a soccer ball?

The easiest thing to do is use a needle and squeeze the ball (instructions above).

How do you know if your soccer ball has too much air?

A good indication that a ball has too much air is if it is rock solid and difficult to kick.

What should I do if the needle gets stuck in a soccer ball?

The best thing you can do is deflate the ball as much as possible then pull out the needle with a pair of pliers.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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