Football Ball Sizes
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Football Ball Sizes: The Ultimate Guide For Youths & Adults

You cannot play football without (you guessed it) a football. A decent quality ball guarantees a fair ground for all sides and a fun activity at the park. Having said that, football ball sizes differ between youths and adults.

But not every football size is suitable for everyone playing the beautiful game. The various sizes are designed in such a way. That they enable players a safe progression and allow them to enjoy the game as safely as possible. 

So what are the different football sizes? And what are the recommended age groups for each ball. Let us dig deep and find out. 

Why are there so many different football ball sizes?

You must be wondering why there are so many different football sizes. The answer is that this allows greater safety and adaptability for different ages of footballers.

A 6-year-old playing with a size 5 ball will always find it hard to manoeuvre it around. Due to its greater weight. The feet of small children are not as powerful to really move a size 5 ball effectively. Compared to a size 2 or 3.  

ball sizes & player development

Both the ball size and players’ development from youth to the adult version of the game go side by side. A very important aspect of the scenario is that youth players are still in their growing age. And to develop into a complete and healthy athlete and a human being, their subjective requirements for growth must be met!

Add to that the stress on the developing ligaments of the children. Due to the greater-than-usual load on them, you have a recipe for disaster. So when these children play with a ball too heavy for them. They never learn the intricacies of the game like passing, dribbling, combinations and all the good stuff.  

Learning Curve

Ultimately, the learning curve of players gets hampered. As they can not start until they are strong enough to maneuver the ball with the competitive nature of this sport. Academies want to get any head start. They can get and ensure the appropriate ball size can help young guns start earlier. And understand the game better as time goes on. 

why there are different football ball sizes?

making football enjoyable for kids:

And since football is a contact sport. There is the chance of children getting hurt as they come in the way of a ball too heavy for their age. So, to prevent such instances and to promote children starting this healthy activity as soon as possible. There are all these football ball sizes to choose from. 

When you add the appropriate pitch size to the fray. You get highly optimized guidelines that help ensure that the beautiful game is accessible and enjoyable to all the age groups.  

What are the different football ball sizes? 

There are five common varieties in use when we talk about the different football ball sizes.   

Size 1

Size 1 or a mini ball is the smallest variety usually between 18 to 20 inches in circumference. This size is not used in competitive games and is reserved for drills and training. 

These balls are great to practice skills like dribbling and juggling since when players master these skills on this ball, they can do it on the competitive-sized ball as well. It is also a worthy souvenir for little fellows as you try to develop their interest in the beautiful game. 

There is no recommendation in terms of the age in which these balls can be used so in essence they can be used by people of all ages. 

Size 2 

Moving on, Size 2 Footballs are appropriate for children under five. They have a circumference of about 21 to 22 inches. These are ideal for any small child, just starting to allow them a smooth transition to the actual competitive ball size.  

These balls are lighter in weight, usually about 280 grams, so they are safe for children. They do not hurt as much when they come in contact with children when compared to size 4 or size 5 footballs. Size 2 is also known as the “Midi ball” and is considered the best of the lot when you need to develop control in your game.  

Size 3 

As we move towards the more serious part of this discussion, the size 3 ball size is the smallest size to be used in a professional setting. This football ball size has a circumference of about 24” and usually weighs between 11 to 13 ounces. 

When you talk about the age group for this ball size, it is between 7 to 9 years. They are the transition balls for youngsters as they move to the more frequently used sizes 4 and 5. 

And they are quite versatile as they can be easily used by children, teenagers and amateur players. 

Size 4 

Size 4 is also used professionally and is the size of choice for futsal. That is because of its suitability for indoor use. That being said, balls dedicated to futsal often have foam inside them which is not so common in balls used for football.

The ball has a circumference of about 25-26 inches which makes it much bigger than other small sized balls. It weighs around 12 to 13 ounces, which makes it less suitable for small children. 

It is best suited for children aged from 9 years to 11 years and even up to 14 years and is a good option in youth football as the last stepping stone before the size 5 football comes into play. Another interesting practice in several countries is moving from a size 4 to a size five as they move from seven a side to eleven a side. 

Size 5

Finally, we have the adult size 5. It is the ball size used in all the international competitions you see and remains the appropriate size for any type of professional use. This football ball size is deemed appropriate for above 14 years of age and can be used by players in that age bracket with no concerns. 

The ball usually has a circumference of about 27 to 28 inches and tends to be about 14-16 ounces in weight. It is a little on the heavier side for children but as an adult, no other size would seem natural once you have played with a size 5. 

The correct weight and dimensions that allow players to focus on the game without feeling limited by the ball.  

The Appropriate Development with Different Football Ball Sizes

safety factors And more:

Ultimately the motive of all these football ball sizes are to ensure the appropriate development of the new players entering the game no matter how young they are. Add to that the safety factor and the regulations in place for ball sizes and age groups make a whole lot more sense. 

 As a child starting who is below 4, a mini ball (size 1) or a size 2 is the ideal size. Size 2 balls remain suitable for children below five. For children that start at the ages of seven to nine, a size 3 ball is recommended. 

For children aged 9 up to 14, a size four football is perfect as it gives them a seamless transition before the size 5 while not ignoring their increasing strength. And finally, for the players 15 and above, the size 5 is used. It is the size of choice for international competitions for both men and women.  

Different uses:

All these recommendations take into account the strength of the players and give them an appropriate ball size that allows them to learn the game by enjoying it instead of struggling to play it. Aside from the size and weight of the different balls, the ball sizes are also used for different purposes.  

The smaller balls are easier to control and can be used even by adults to practice control and skills that may be tough to master on the size 5. Something like a size 4 is usually used in training as an alternative to a size 5 and for all kinds of drills. 

player development & ball sizes in football

Playing on a size 5 ball needs a level of expertise that may not be there in children and thus starting out with a smaller age and skill-appropriate ball may be good. Having said that, for adults, the match ball remains the size 5 and not anything smaller.  

The fact of the matter is that it is a lot more fun to play with it, and it allows players to do a lot more than smaller-sized balls. So, the plan of action is to start as early as possible, transition to a size 5, and then keep a size 1 as a souvenir and other small sizes as a route of learning skills and improving control.  


There are five main football ball sizes, ranging from sizes 1,2,3,4 and 5. They are suitable for only designated age groups and are suitable only for specific purposes. 

The importance of having this variety of football ball sizes is that it allows children to progress safely to the adult ball size and allows them to control and maneuver the ball as an adult would. 

This allows them to start earlier and get the sufficient technical expertise once they start playing professionally. Secondly, the smaller football ball sizes are a means of polishing skills and improving control for amateurs still learning the tricks of the trade. 


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