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How To Deflate A Soccer Ball Without Popping It: Two Simple Methods

Learning how to deflate a soccer ball is a game-changer.

This one goes out to the coaches who have to always carry those large bags of soccer balls around with them. They don’t have room in the trunk for 28 pumped-up soccer balls and need advice on how to deflate a soccer ball.

There are two ways to deflate a soccer ball. One is by using a pump and needle, and the second is by using a needle on its own.

I’ll cover both below, and each method works as well as the other.

Deflating A Soccer Ball With An Air Needle

This method requires a needle used with a pump. Make sure to moisten the needle before inserting it into the soccer ball. Regardless of whether you are pumping up a ball or deflating it, you should always lubricate the needle. This ensures it doesn’t pierce the inner part of the soccer ball.

You should also make sure you are not forcing the needle into the soccer ball. It only requires gentle pressure and if you feel resistance then something is wrong. A bent needle is often the cause, or you are not pushing the needle toward the center of the ball.

Once you have inserted the needle into the soccer ball air valve, apply gentle pressure to the soccer ball using your hands and let the ball deflate. You could ask a teammate or coach to hold the ball steady as you remove the air.

Once you have deflated the ball, remove the needle without yanking it out.

Deflating A Soccer Ball Using A Pump

First off, make sure there is no air in the air pump. You will not be able to deflate a soccer ball if an air pump is already packed full of air.

Follow the steps above, whether asking one of your teammates or coaches to hold the air pump while you deflate the soccer ball.

What Happens If You Don’t Have A Needle?

In all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend deflating a ball using DIY techniques. You never want to use a knife or blunt object to reduce the amount of air in a ball.

You risk puncturing the ball or getting an item stuck in the air valve. So even if you manage to get the air out of the ball, you may never be able to pump it back up again. So avoid this approach unless you want a busted soccer ball to become your dog’s latest chew toy.

Your best bet is to always have a spare pump or set of needles when you travel. Leave a pair in the trunk of a car as they don’t take up a lot of space. Or carry them in a spare pouch in a rucksack.

If for whatever reason you need to deflate a ball, you can try using a paper clip or the cartridge of a ballpoint pen. Any sharp and pointy object that can fit inside the air valve of the soccer ball. A bobby pin is also another good option.

Are There Any Other Methods To Deflate A Soccer Ball?

The only other option you have is to kick the ball around for a long period. As a ball is kicked, over time it will naturally lose air. However, this method is not going to work if you need a completely deflated soccer ball.

Kicking a ball about is an effective method if you want to remove a small amount of air. We’ve all pumped up a ball too rigorously making it more like a brick than a ball. Kick-ups and long passes are an effective way to release some of the air to make it much easier (and safer) to kick. Speaking of which…

How Can You Tell If A Soccer Ball Is Over-Inflated?

There are a few easy ways to tell if a soccer ball has too much air in it. The first is to feel it. Apply pressure using your fingertips on the soccer ball and see how far your fingertips sink into the ball. If there is no give then the ball is over-inflated.

The other method is to use your feet and kick the ball. You can either do some gentle kick-ups or kick it over a long distance and see how it feels.

You should be able to notice whether it moves through the air too much. It will also feel hard against your cleat, or it might even hurt. This is a clear sign you need to let some air out of the ball.

Another quick tip is to bounce it on a hard and flat surface like asphalt. If the ball bounces high then it’s got too much air in it.

Is It True That A Refrigerator Can Deflate A Soccer Ball?

Putting a soccer ball in a refrigerator will not deflate it. The misconception about cooling a ball to remove air is based on the air particles moving less freely, giving the impression the ball is deflated.

Once you remove it from the refrigerator it will return to its normal state, and you’ll still have an inflated soccer ball.

Plus you may as well go to the trouble of using a needle if you are not in any immediate need of a deflated ball.

What Next?

Deflating a soccer ball is easy if you prepare ahead of time and have all the essentials. Although there are some more extreme theories out there, I recommend you stick to the methods that work every time.

Surprisingly, this is not the only topic that covers freezing a soccer item in a refrigerator. Here’s a guide to stretching a pair of soccer cleats.


Are There Ways To Prevent A Ball From Losing Air?

If you want to keep a soccer ball inflated for as long as possible, store your soccer balls in a cool and dry place that is away from sunlight or hot temperatures. It might be tempting to store your soccer balls outside or in the trunk of your car. But they will deflate over time at a much quicker rate than keeping them in a more suitable place.

The number of times I’ve left my ball in the trunk of my car and found my ball to be as fast as a pancake is one time too many.

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