There’s such a huge choice of footballs out there that it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed. You might look at the seemingly-endless options and ask yourself – what’s the difference? It’s just a ball!
Choosing the wrong type of football or size of football can cost your team’s playing potential. So, which football is right for you? We’ve prepared this short guide to help you choose the right size football suitable for your team.
Choosing The Right Football Size
The size of the football will determine both player enjoyment and, if you’re training, player development. The age of your players will determine the size of the ball you need.
The 3 Core Sizes of Football Balls:
- Size 3 – Ages 6 – 9
- Size 4 – Ages 9 – 14
- Size 5 – Ages 14+
If you’re working with children younger than six, there’s two additional football sizes – Size 1 and Size 2 – which might also be referred to as Mini footballs and Midi footballs. These sizes can also be used by older players to develop skills and coordination.
Which Football Panel Material to Use?
Footballs were previously made out of leather, though they’re now available in a range of materials. Each material is designed to suit a different set of needs:
- Match Footballs – These will commonly be constructed using a PU material. PU, though expensive, provides the highest level of playability and match day performance.
- Training Footballs – These are built for consistency, durability and low maintenance. For this reason you will typically find the use of TPU and PVC footballs. TPU is often backed with soft foam, giving excellent soft touch properties, assisting player control. Whereas PVC is harder to touch, but gives higher levels of durability making it a better option for the poorer quality pitches, (particularly sand based astroturf).
- Vulcanised Rubber Footballs – They’re designed for football training or matches on concrete or extremely tough surfaces due to their excellent wear properties. The increase in durability within this football does however bring about a decrease in playability.
Choosing The Right Stitching For Your Football
Believe it or not, there’s more than one way to stitch a football and how it is stitched effects it’s playability and hence your performance.
Machine Stitched Footballs – Most footballs are machine-stitched. This is the quickest and most economical approach, so it’s often found on training balls and other budget options. The stitch is strong and consistent yet exposed. It’s also pretty shallow and as such, offers very little in terms of performance benefit.
Hand Stitched Footballs – The most traditional method used is to hand stitch the ball. The big advantage of hand stitching is that the seams are much deeper giving greater aerodynamic stability and the stitches are protected from wear. Further these stitches put the balls surface under greater tension than a machine stitch, giving greater power. This is however a costly method of manufacture and as such balls will typically be a higher price.
Joining of Footballs – However, as technologies have moved forward, a third method of ‘stitching’ has developed, which involves the joining of each football panel. This is quickly becoming a preferred option for stitching footballs. The new technology allows the panels to be both stitched and then welded together, helping to create a stable and playable football.
The Right Football Bladder for Your Ball
It may be argued that a football is only as good as its bladder. After all, it’s the bladder that determines the quality of its bounce.
Generally, most footballs typically will contain either a latex bladder or a synthetic / rubber bladder. Although for match balls and training balls, the bladder differs slightly:
Match balls – These often use latex bladders as they give best performance and rebound properties. On the downside, latex bladders are porous and will gradually lose air, which means they require more regular inflation.
Training balls – They will typically contain a reinforced synthetic or rubber bladder. The two main advantages of this are; firstly, the air retention of the ball is greater, meaning less frequent inflation. Secondly the reinforced layer provides more consistent ball shape and size. This is essential for a good quality, machine stitched, training ball to withstand the test of time.
If you’re still not quite sure which football is right for you and your team, feel free to get in touch. Give us a call on 01782 571 719, contact us or email [email protected].