How to maintain your volleyball: quick tips that will keep your ball in top condition

A new volleyball can look nice and shiny. Soon, however, they might start to peel or get dirty. In this post, we are going to discuss how you can make sure that your ball keeps looking nice for a long period of time. Playing with a dirty and grimy ball is not a lot of fun. Let’s see how the pros maintain their volleyball so that you can use the same techniques.

Should you wash your volleyball?

Yes, you should wash a volleyball from time to time. It gets in contact with a lot of sweat and dust. Therefore you can use a towel and give it a good wipe to make sure that your volleyball is dry. You can also wash the ball with cold water and soap and give it a quick rinse with a rag. Make sure that you don’t damage the ball by using too much force or cleaning products.

A deflated volleyball

You can let the ball dry in the sun (be careful that it doesn’t get too hot) or use a dry cloth to make sure that the ball is nice and shiny. It is often best to buy a darker volleyball as white ones can be difficult to clean. It is also important that you dry your volleyball if you have made it wet. Moisture can affect the fabric of the volleyball and make it peel off.

It is important that you always keep the pressure of your volleyball high enough. In general, the internal pressure should be between 4.26 and 4.61 psi. If you play with a ball that is slightly deflated, you can damage it as the ball can’t resist the other objects as well as it can when it is fully pressurized. You can use a normal bike pump or an electric pump to inflate your volleyball. Be sure to not overinflate the volleyball as this can deform it.

You shouldn’t store your volleyball in cold places as the air in the ball can expand if it gets too cold and your volleyball could tear apart because it can’t withstand the added pressure. This is something that you have to pay attention to during winter in colder climates.

Too much heat or direct sunlight can also break your volleyball. Therefore it is important to think about where you will store your volleyball if you want to keep it for a long period of time. The location shouldn’t be too cold or hot and not be too damp. You should also check the pressure on the volleyball every 2 months and inflate it more if needed.

Below are some questions about volleyballs that I get all the time as a volleyball coach:

Will kicking a volleyball damage it?

If you kick a volleyball once, it will probably not get damaged. However, shoes can tear the fabric of a volleyball so over time it can create problems with your volleyball. Be sure to use a football instead of a volleyball if you want to play football since volleyballs are not made to be rolled over the floor for a long period of time. Volleyballs are made to be handled with hands or arms and not with shoes.

If you want to keep your volleyball for a long time, don’t kick it or don’t stand on it. You can get more power out of your legs than your arms so it is possible that you will hit objects harder if you kick them. Therefore be sure to only use your volleyball with your hands or arms if you don’t want to damage it!

It is allowed to kick a volleyball during an official match. It has to be noted that this doesn’t happen too often as it is harder to control the ball if you do this. Let’s take a look a some spectacular kicks below:

Cheaper volleyball might break if you kick them as the bladder that they use to hold the air is not that strong. Therefore you have to be careful with these. More expensive models come with a 2-year warranty but if they notice that you have kicked the ball a lot, they might refuse to send you a new one as you have not used the ball for what it is designed to do.

If you only kick it occasionally this should not be a problem but don’t play soccer with a volleyball as the ball is not intended to roll over rough terrain. Especially indoor volleyball will break quite fast if you start to play soccer with them outside.

Will sitting on a volleyball damage it?

Yes, volleyballs will get damaged if you sit on them. They might deform or they might even tear. This will make the volleyball make weird moves as it is not round anymore. Even if you sit on it once, you can already break a volleyball as it is not designed to handle this type of weight. You will see that a part of the ball will become bigger and another part will be deflated.

This will make playing with it a lot less fun as you can’t play with it that well anymore. If you want to sit, make sure that you use a chair and don’t use your volleyball for this! I have seen it happen countless times during volleyball training where players want to rest for a minute and sit on the ball. The ball often deforms very fast, even if it is for a short period of time. I have to tell my players all the time that they shouldn’t do this or they will damage the ball.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Especially cheaper balls will break quite fast if you sit on them as the bladder that holds the air is quite cheaply made and if you add pressure, the ball will start leaking or even break. It can be tempting to sit on the ball when you are tired but don’t do this as the chance that you will break it is quite high.

You will also void the warranty as it is quite obvious that the ball has been deformed because you sat on it. There is no way to hide this as the ball will deform in a very specific way. Once again, don’t sit on a volleyball as they have not been designed for this.

Can we play volleyball with a basketball?

 While it is possible, I wouldn’t recommend this. A basketball is a lot harder than a volleyball so it can be harder to play with it. Furthermore, volleyballs are more flexible so it is easier to pass them or smash the ball. There is a reason that they developed another ball for each sport.

Basketball is more focused on bouncing whereas volleyball has more attention on a ball that floats in the air. Therefore the latter is softer and you can handle it with your arms as well. Basketballs are not designed for that. 

It won’t be a lot of fun and you should only do it if you don’t have any other balls around. You can consider deflating the basketball somewhat to reduce the impact of the ball. It is better to play volleyball with a plastic ball than a basketball. Plastic balls are very affordable (less than 10 USD) so it is better to get one of these to play volleyball with. You can also check with your neighbors if they have a plastic ball laying around that you can use.

For these reasons, I wouldn’t recommend playing volleyball with a basketball. You will not break the ball but it won’t be fun as the ball lands a lot harder. This can annoy players and make them want to stop playing. Be sure to get a volleyball or a plastic soccer ball if you want to play volleyball as these are not too hard and will bounce perfectly.

These balls are quite cheap to get. If you don’t have one at hand, you can ask your neighbor if they have a plastic soccer ball as a lot of people have this. A soccer ball made out of leather can be too hard as well.