Soccer Skills:

How to Care For Your Youth Soccer Team’s Balls

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That soccer ball could use a cleaning! - (Photo: Livescience.com)

As a coach it is your responsibility to make sure that there are an adequate number of soccer balls during practice so that everyone can play during individual ball drills.  Many teams require that players bring along a ball to practice, and I do recommend that for your team as well.  Having your own ball is crucial to the development of a soccer player, and also is a requirement for at-home training.  However, it is always a good idea for a coach to bring several balls of their own to practice, because there may be issues that prevent some players from bringing them. Perhaps they simply don’t care enough to buy their own ball, they may be new to the game, they may have misplaced their ball, or they can simply forget to bring it to practice.  Purchasing soccer balls can be somewhat expensive, especially if you need to get five or ten for the team, so it is vital that you care for your balls in an appropriate manner.  Here are some tips to prolong the life of your soccer balls.

First off, you need to keep your soccer balls clean.  Regardless of the playing surface, the balls will pick up dirt and other dirty elements.  This can be especially problematic after a rainy practice where your balls pick up all sorts of mud and grass!  Do not simply take a watering hose to the balls and spray them off.  High-pressured water can actually infiltrate your balls and cause all sorts of problems.  Instead, wipe the soccer balls clean with a moist cloth.  Don’t use intensive cleaning sprays or chemicals either as they may damage the exterior of the ball.

Make sure that your soccer balls are properly inflated.  The only way to actually measure this is with a pressure gauge, but for your purposes it is efficient to simply push the sides in.  The ball should give just a little and not be rock hard.  However, it should still feel firm when kicked.  If the ball is over or under inflated, it will reduce its lifespan due to stress on the stitches and shaping issues.  Always check your soccer balls before practice to make sure they are well inflated.

When playing, be sure to stick to soccer fields, meaning grass or artificial turf.  Do not hold practices on pavement or other hard surfaces.  In addition to the injuries this could cause to the soccer players, your soccer balls will also accrue much misfortune.  Pavement will leave marks and indentations over the ball, which will greatly reduce their lifespan.

Also, don’t let players stand or sit on the soccer balls.  This can lead to over pressuring and can leave the ball misshapen or destroyed.  Also, share some of these tips with your team, as they can go a long way to helping them keep their soccer balls lasting for a long time.

Taking care of a soccer ball is a very important subject and can save you a lot of money over the long haul.  Therefore, proper maintenance is key and using common sense can help your soccer balls last a very long time!

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Nicholas Spiller resides in LA where he dreams of musical super-stardom on his bass guitar. He also writes for Sportspiller.com and is an avid Arsenal fan!

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