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03-07-2013 | What 5 Things to Look For When Buying Match and Training Footballs

Apto Sports Match and Training Footballs

As a club manager, coach or secretary, purchasing new match and training balls during pre-season can be a daunting task. With so much choice from dozens of different brands, at varying prices, it can be difficult to find the best footballs for your club.

It’s a big responsibility - nobody wants to spend endless hours pumping up balls before a training session or having to tolerate the ankle breaking heaviness which can occur during wet winter months. It’s inevitable as to who will get the blame - you!

To make choosing match and training footballs easier, we’ve put together a simple checklist for you to follow. Make sure you inspect the match or training ball before purchasing and if possible, test it out with your team in a quick kick around. If you plan on purchasing large quantities, this shouldn’t be a problem for your supplier.

Here’s what look for in your inspection:

1. Weight

The weight of a FIFA approved size 5 match ball should be 420-445 grams (350-390 grams for a size 4). The weight of a ball is very important and can affect all manner of crucial elements such as passing, heading and shooting. Compare the weight of the football with others that are available or ask your supplier for details.

2. Pressure

Match footballs should have a pressure of 0.8 bar to be match ready. When testing, FIFA inflate balls to 1.0 bar and record the loss of pressure over 72 hours. Approved match footballs will not lose more than 20% pressure over this 72 hour period. If possible, pump up the football and take it away for a training session with your team and test how much pressure has been lost. The last thing you want to be doing at 6am before a session is pumping up 50 training balls!

3. Water Absorption

This is a really important factor that can affect match and training balls during wet winter months. If a ball absorbs too much water it becomes too heavy and almost unplayable. Combine this with a cold frost and you’re not going to have a very successful training session or game. FIFA test this by putting balls in 2cm of water and applying downward pressure. Approved balls should not exceed 15% uptake. Obviously this is very hard to test yourself so ask the advice of your supplier.

4. Sphericity

This is how round the ball is. Sphericity can affect important factors such as flight and curl. FIFA approved size 5 match footballs should have a maximum sphericity of 1.5%. The best way to test this is again to play with the ball, take it away if possible and try some free-kicks or the crossbar challenge.

5. Shape and size retention

FIFA measure this after 2,000 kicks onto a steel panel at 50km per hour and inspect the seams of the ball and the air-valve for any damage. An approved ball should show no more than a 1.5cm increase in circumference and no more than 1.5% deviation in sphericity. To test this yourself, you’re always going to need to use the ball in a training session or match.

If you inspect all these elements and the football passes the test then you’ve found the right match or training ball. We hope this helps and if you have any questions then you can always get in touch with one of our experts.


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