Football, volleyball, basketball, baseball… Did you ever notice how so many sports revolve entirely around using a ball? And what’s even cooler is that every sport has its own specifically designed ball.
But what do you think happens if we choose to use a ball from one sport to play another one? To be specific, what would happen if you played volleyball using a soccer ball?
If you own a soccer ball but are incapable of getting a volleyball for whatever reason, you might be wondering if you can use the soccer ball as a temporary replacement to still have fun playing volleyball.
In this article, we’re not just discussing the differences between a soccer ball and a volleyball, but we will also put these differences to the test and see what happens if you really play volleyball using a soccer ball. And by the end of this article, you will have found the answer to your question on whether you can use a soccer ball as a volleyball.
With that being said, let’s get down to business!
How Does a Soccer Ball Differ From a Volleyball?
It’s no surprise that soccer balls are different from volleyballs. After all, we wouldn’t be having this discussion if they were exactly the same. But before we can answer this question, we need to get some insight first on what sets each ball apart and the differences in design between the two.
The construction of the balls is a key difference between the two types of balls.
The first major layer of a soccer ball is the bladder, which is the container for the air inside the ball. There are also layers of polyurethane foam, polyester, or cotton, which make up the lining. Finally, there is the exterior, which is typically made of synthetic leather.
Unlike the soccer ball, a volleyball only consists of 2 layers. The air inside the volleyball is contained by an internal bladder. And the exterior is usually made of synthetic leather, real leather, or foam.
This difference is based on the demands that each sport places on the ball, which makes us question whether the balls can be really swapped together. Volleyballs don’t require an additional layer because they don’t require added durability and texture.
It doesn’t have to be as tough as a soccer ball, which is prone to powerful kicks throughout the game and is played with on uneven and dirty fields.
When it comes to their weight, soccer balls and volleyballs are not the same. You can tell that instantly when you hold both balls in your hands or juggle them with your feet.
A soccer ball must weigh between 14 oz and 16 oz before the start of a game, according to the rules. Volleyballs must weigh between 9.2 oz and 9.4 oz according to volleyball rules.
Consequently, the weight difference between a soccer ball and a volleyball is roughly 5 oz.
Zx volleyball’s lightweight is primarily due to the fact that it must bounce and fly high. That’s because the point of action in volleyball is on the hands, and since legs are much stronger than hands, it makes sense that the ball is lighter.
Imagine volleying a 2-pound ball throughout the course of a one-hour game. By the end of each game, you probably wouldn’t be able to feel your arms!
On the other hand, it seems reasonable to add more weight to the soccer ball. If it’s too light, it’ll be too bouncy to play with, so the weight must be just right.
All soccer balls must comply with the laws of soccer, which include an official measurement. A soccer ball must have a circumference of between 27 in. and 28 in.
The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) sets the rules for volleyball (FIVB). The FIVB’s standards also contain a predetermined measurement that every volleyball must adhere to. Volleyballs must have a circumference of 25.5 ins – 26.3 ins.
So, there’s approximately a 1.5-inch difference in size between a soccer ball and a volleyball.
The surface area is another way in which we can compare a soccer ball and a volleyball. The surface area of a soccer ball ranges from 580 in² to 614 in², while the surface area of a volleyball varies between 528 in² and 563 in².
When you compare the surface area of a soccer ball to that of a volleyball, you’ll notice that the soccer ball is around 51 in² bigger.
We should also consider the volume of both balls if we want a more accurate comparison. A soccer ball has a volume of between 2091 in³ and 2280 in³, while a volleyball’s volume ranges from 1827 in³ to 2000 in³.
When you compare the volume of a soccer ball to that of a volleyball, you’ll notice that the soccer ball is roughly 276 in³ bigger.
The internal pressure of the two balls is another difference between them.
A soccer ball must have a pressure of 0.6–1.1 atmosphere (600 –1,100 g/cm²) at sea level (8.5lbs/sq in–15.6 lbs/sq in). A volleyball, on the other hand, must have an inside pressure between 300 and 325 g/cm2 (4.26 to 4.61 psi) (294.3 to 318.82 mbar or hPa).
Therefore, it is easily noticeable that a volleyball is significantly softer than a soccer ball due to the difference in pressure.
What Would Happen if You Played Volleyball With a Soccer Ball?
So, after knowing where each ball differs from the other one, let’s see what happens if you use a soccer ball as a volleyball and find out whether you actually can play volleyball with a soccer ball or not.
Due to the increased weight, the trajectory in throwing up the soccer ball will either be lower, or it will require more work to attain the same height, meaning that more force will be required to clear the net.
Because the ball will travel lower, there will be more dropped serves. Big servers aren’t likely to serve as a lot of aces as they typically would. That’s not even taking into account the damaged hands that will almost certainly be there if you hit too hard!
The setter should predict both the direction and speed of the ball when setting it. But when playing volleyball with a soccer ball, this will be much more difficult since the increased weight will cause it to stay lower and move slower through the air.
Plus, more force will be necessary to set the ball in your teammate’s striking zone.
The pass, which usually comes before the set, is perhaps the most essential activity on the receiving side since it helps in the attack’s creation. The passer’s movement has to be precise, and they have to rely on their fingers to carry out the move.
The use of a heavier ball will have a negative impact on the latter, making it much more difficult to pass with precision.
When directing a shot, spiking necessitates accuracy, strength, and the ability to swing the shoulders while in the air. Top players can also put their own spin on it, which makes it harder to return.
Striking a soccer ball demands more effort from the shoulders, making it more difficult to put any spin on it. However, this is a double-edged sword. The fact that the ball is heavy means it will be harder for opponents to stop your spike.
To retrieve any shot that blockers miss, someone must stoop down near the ground. We don’t have to stress how much agility and skill this needs to get the ball high enough for another player to continue the point.
Thus, with a soccer ball, digging the ball high enough will be much more difficult.
Another crucial movement in volleyball is the block, which mostly depends on the fingers’ shape. Even with a normal volleyball, this can take its toll on your finger joints, not to mention using a heavy soccer ball, which can put you at a higher risk of bruising or worse, serious injuries.
The Verdict: Can You Use a Soccer Ball as a Volleyball?
If no other choice is available, you can use a soccer ball as a volleyball. But due to the soccer ball’s design, weight, and pressure, it responds and performs differently than a volleyball, making it an imperfect replacement for a volleyball.
A soccer ball and a volleyball ball are obviously two distinct balls. A soccer ball is larger, heavier, and more difficult to control than a volleyball. After all, they were designed to be used in different ways.
Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.