Soccer ball 101: types, size and material
Football is potentially the most popular sport in the world. The most essential element for this sport, which you literally cannot play without, is the ball.
Knowing how to choose the right soccer ball can seem like a simple task, as all soccer balls are pretty much the same until you find out about the many options available. With the different types, sizes and materials available, choosing a soccer ball can be overwhelming. In this article, we are going to discuss all of these features to help you choose the best soccer ball for your playing style.
Professional match soccer balls
These balls are developed for high level international professional matches. Typically, they have some type of organizational endorsement such as the FIFA endorsement logo printed on the ball. In the construction of such a ball, there are at least five layers used and they are of the best materials. It is not surprising that these are the more expensive types of bullets as they use the best materials and meet strict design and test parameters. The trajectory, balance, shape, rebound, water absorption and speed of the ball are all strictly controlled.
Training soccer balls
Training soccer balls are also known as recreational, training or camp soccer balls. Typically, these balls are constructed with four layers or less and use an inferior outer shell such as PVC. Many training balls made from molded materials have been designed to withstand rough surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt.
Indoor soccer balls
Indoor soccer balls generally consist of a felt-like outer covering which is similar to the material used on tennis balls. They are made with foam, so they weigh more and bounce less. In fact, these balls are designed to be used in places that are not specially designed for football, such as a basketball court or tennis court.
The main difference between a classic soccer ball and a futsal ball is that the bladder is filled with foam. They are generally heavier and have less bounce from the Futsal game is played on a hard playing surface. Sometimes futsal balls also have felt or suede wraps to help stabilize the ball on the slippery playing floor. These balls range in size 2 to 4.
Beach soccer balls
These soccer balls are lighter than typical turf soccer balls and generally softer to provide more comfort to bare feet. In addition, they are most often brightly colored to make them easier to see on the sandy beach terrain. Since there are great possibilities of being thrown into the ocean, they are water resistant.
What are the different sizes of soccer balls?
When deciding which soccer ball to buy, you should also consider the size of the ball. The correct size of the ball often depends on the age of the players. One of the reasons that there are different sizes of balls and why choosing the right one is important is that the ball can impact the development of young players and their safety. For example, if a 5 year old gets hit with a size 5 ball, it will hurt a lot more than being hit with a size 3 soccer ball (which is much smaller). Another reason for size standards is that a young child may have difficulty handling and kicking around a larger soccer ball. Therefore, children are encouraged to play with smaller balls. Children can also injure their ligaments and tendons if they start hitting a ball that’s bigger than what their body is actually prepared for.
As for the sizes, here are the possible options.
Size 1 soccer ball
These are mini soccer balls. They are never used in official matches but are more for fun and play. Mini balls are a great tool for young children to learn to improve footwork and control the ball.
Size 3 soccer ball
Players aged 6 to 9 should opt for high quality soccer balls size 3. These are the smallest official balls when it comes to playing soccer. Size 3 soccer balls have a circumference of 58-61mm. Training balls of this size weigh 280-340g, while size 3 match balls weigh 300-340g.
Size 4 soccer ball
The size 4 soccer ball is designed for players ages 9 to 12. This ball is said to weigh between 350g and 390g, with a circumference of 63.5cm to 66cm.
Size 5 soccer ball
This ball size is the official largest ball and is the standard for all players over 12 years old. This ball should weigh between 410g and 450g, with a circumference of 68cm to 70cm.
Generally, soccer balls consist of two parts: an envelope and a bladder. The envelope part is what covers the outside of the ball and its panels, while the bladder part is the compartment inside the ball that retains air. Each part can be made of several different materials.
The panels are the octagon shaped quilts visible on the outside of the balls. FIFA approved soccer balls contain 32 panels, however, there are variations that include 26 and 18 panels.
As for the cases, they are made of PVC, PU, a mixture of PVC and PU or synthetic leather. Generally, PVC balls are cheaper, harder on the outside, and quite durable. The PU ones are of better quality, softer to the touch and more responsive than the PVC ones. Synthetic leather soccer balls are designed for professional matches because they offer increased control. To all of these types of balls, a glossy finish is usually added to help reduce water damage and scuffing.
Bladders are made of butyl or latex. Butyl bladders have much higher air retention. Latex bladders are softer and the preferred choice of many professionals.