Soccer Ball I Use vs What the Pros Use? What's the Difference?
“It's not the size, it's how you use it”
Lets stick to soccer shall we? Actually we are, you can have all the high end jerseys, cleats and balls you want but if you can’t play, it all means nothing.
Anybody can buy a fancy magic wand, but only the talented ones know how to use it.
The simple answer is no. Ya sure some balls might come off of your foot a little sweeter but none of them will take you from joe to pro. If anything training with a ball that is pegged as terrible then if you can play with that you can adapt to anything else.
I’ve played with balls (that didn’t come out right) from all over the world from North America to South America to Europe and Asia. Across the board in all the leagues I’ve played in my game has never gone up or down because of the ball we used.
So what’s the lesson here? Stop worrying about the ball, ref, the guy with extra short shorts and loving every minute of it and start concentrating on raising your game by working on your fundamentals.
What Makes A Good Soccer Ball?
Good question. You wanna stick with name brands here, adidas, nike and puma come to mind first. All quality soccer balls have these common qualities:
- Made with all weather material (rain, snow or heat? no problem) - Is not or does not warp easily - Cushioning between inner and outer lining - When pumped properly has a good bounce to it
What are the Different Sizes for Soccer Balls? And Why?
There are all different sizes of balls from regulation ones that the pros use to little tiny size ones. A different weapon in the arsenal I suppose, but do you know which ones are used for what situation? Here's a brush up incase you forgot.
Soccer Ball Sizes
This is your most common ball for soccer for players above 14 years of age world wide. Indoor, outdoor and world cup to pick up soccer, size five is the size used by all leagues and all players anywhere you can find a pitch.
One size smaller then the 5, the size 4 is the standard size used in a futsal matches but differs in density then a futsal ball. The size 4 is more commonly used for ages between 8 to 12 who are still learning the game and needing a ball to match their smaller frames. Once you get a bit older the transition is made to the standard size 5.
If you’re under eight years of age then the size 3 soccer ball is what you'll be using to develop those skills. A smaller ball is used for obvious reason due to the lack of strength you have at that age to move with and strike a ball. As a players ability, size and strength increases so does the size of the ball used to accommodate for that growth.
A size two or mini ball is used mainly for promotion events as a gift or souvenir. Also though can be used to improve your skills on the ball around the house (and it doesn’t break nearly as many lamps).
It’s small size makes it difficult to juggle with and keeping it under control which is perfect for those who need to improve their comfort with the ball.
These tiny balls are used for promotional purposes only. You’ll never find a ball of this size used on a match or training pitch anywhere. If you’re creating your own version of hallway soccer in your house then you might find this ball useful, nowhere else really.
A futsal ball is the same as a size four regulation ball but much more bottom heavy. This ball was created for a sport which involved much more technical ability and a ball that doesn’t bounce helps a player maintain control of it.
The ball used for futsal is also made from a material that allows more friction allowing a player to maintain the ball at a close distance a defenders nightmare.
Generally indoor soccer is played with a regulation size five ball that you would play outodor with. There are actually some indoor balls specially made for hardwood gym floors that allow for less damage to the other players when hit by it. It’s made of a similar material that you find a tennis ball made out of so if it were to hit you it would hurt much less then a regular soccer ball.
Tell Me About the World Cup, Euro and Champions League Final Balls
World Cup 2010 Jabulani
One of the most controversial balls used at a major tournament in recent memory has been the Jabulani ball from the 2010 World Cup. Players complained about the ball being too light and unpredictable while goalies said it swerved and knuckled making average shots much more difficult to handle.
Champions League Finale
Maybe the most recognizable ball these days is the champions league Finale ball which is used throughout the UEFA Champions League. This ball covered in stars is the first ball on everybody's christmas list and is the ferrari of soccer balls at the professional level.
Euro 2012 Tango 12
Here she is, the next line of great balls is the Euro 2012 Tango. It's simple design reflects the classic look of the Tango over the years and will be the ball used to light up goals in Poland and Ukraine in the summer.
How Pumped Up Should the Ball Be?
I want to pump, you UP! So how much should you pump the ball up you ask? Well the general rule of thumb is definitely not all the way to the point that it's so hard you can hold up a bank with it. But not too soft either that it's got no shape to it.
Better pump it a bit harder then soft because over time (a kick around or two) the ball naturally loses air so it'll be just right in no time. Better that then too soft and having to pump it up while you're already out of the house.
Do Some Balls Curve and Swerve Better Than Others?
Well obviously it comes down to technique, form and ability to hit a ball with some dip and swerve. Interesting though that several players (mainly pros) say the balls are getting so technologically advanced that they don't resemble the typical movement a soccer ball should.
Trying asking keepers about the 2010 World Cup ball the Jabulani, they'll tell you at times the ball takes twists and turns in the air that even Schumacher doesn't understand.
Juggling A Soccer Ball
Okay so which soccer ball will make a terrific juggler? Well now, this is going to be awkward, none of them pal. Although certain balls may be made with fancier more expensive material or created by the big name companies no matter which ball you end up using, none of them will make you a better juggler. Juggling is a skill that involves repetition and familiarity on the ball not a certain pair of shoes or equipment, you've heard it before, a poor craftsman blames their tools.