Give it any less than the right inflation pressure, and a soccer ball won’t be of any good use to players. An overinflated ball will be harder to kick, while an underinflated one won’t travel in a linear trajectory. Either way, you get a recipe for a poor match.

At for soccer lovers, you can see how a properly inflated soccer ball contributes to a good match. Of course, such a ball would be a given in an official game, but it should also be the norm for training and pick-up games.

Now comes the question: How hard should a soccer ball be? First off, it should be rock-solid so that it flies through the air faster, but let’s discuss more on this below. We’ll also go over how one can tell if a soccer ball is inflated correctly.

Soccer Ball Hardness in a Professional Match

FIFA regulations dictate that soccer balls should have an inflation pressure between 8.82 PSI and 16.17 PSI. The broad range of pressure values set by soccer’s international governing body is in recognition of the types of soccer balls and the different air pressure amounts each requires.

If you’re looking to become a pro someday, consider working with balls classified as no less than rock-hard for practice and actual playing. Educate yourself on the FIFA air pressure requirements for professional matches, and abide by such when inflating your soccer balls.

In this way, it becomes second nature for you to utilize a soccer ball inflated at a pressure value equal to that of its professional-caliber counterparts. It also breeds familiarity with the rock-hard surfaces of these balls, vital if your dream is to be inducted into Europe’s top football clubs.

Then again, if you play soccer mostly for the fun of it, using a rock-hard ball isn’t always necessary. You may use one that’s a slightly softer but still correctly inflated so that it won’t hurt as much when it hits. Use the pro-standard for pressure as a reference and aim for a little lower than that when inflating your balls. After all, you may be yet to have the reflexes or the skills to avoid getting smacked by rock-hard balls too often.

Getting hit by a regulation soccer ball not only hurts, but it can also potentially cause injuries. The risk is higher when executing upper-body moves, such as headers. A header is an advanced-level move you don’t want to attempt with a regulation ball for professional matches if you’re still an amateur. A slightly softer ball would be a lot safer.

How To Know if a Soccer Ball Has the Right Inflation Pressure

We’ve covered what air pressure you should aim for, so it’s now time to discuss the ways to tell the pressure of the actual ball. Here are effective methods to know if a soccer ball has enough air:

Air Pressure Gauge

You can tell the exact amount of air pressure inside a soccer ball using an air pressure gauge. There’s nothing to it! Simply stick the needle inside the valve of the soccer ball and read the pressure level. Keep in mind that the needle has to be imported perpendicularly into the valve so that you don’t destroy the ball.

Muscle Memory

No method may be as accurate as using an air pressure gauge. Still, muscle memory should be enough for testing the inflation pressure of a soccer ball.

Some argue that it’s better to use the hands instead of a pressure gauge when testing for pressure. That’s because even if the gauge is more accurate, the hands incorporate something that it doesn’t—feel. In most cases, when you are able to feel the inflation of the ball, you should know if it’s properly inflated or not.

As you are inflating the ball, keep your fingers on it. Stop once you feel the amount of air is just right, even if it doesn’t quite reach the standard set by FIFA. When done, test the ball out for a couple of seconds. Kick it around, and you should know instantly if it has too much or too little air.

Customize as many times as you feel the need to. After all, even a slight difference may affect your play considerably. Pressure adjustments should get fewer and fewer the more you get used to inflating different soccer balls. In an official match, should you be unsure of a ball’s pressure, the referee can help confirm or deny your suspicions. That way, the ball may be replaced if it turns out to have the wrong pressure.

Soccer Ball Inflation Is Vital

When you play soccer, it’s important to get used to balls inflated according to your skill level and experience. FIFA may set the standard for ball air pressure for official matches. However, you don’t necessarily have to abide by that when practicing or playing for fun.

Sometimes, training calls for slightly softer balls that get you better in tune with the technical aspects of the game. Know what level of air pressure you need and when you need it for a smoother journey ahead.