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Believe it or not, nobody is born good at football. Even the quick-footed legendary players had to start somewhere. Some started playing football on the streets, some at grassroots local teams, some developed their skills inside with games of futsal. But they all have one thing in common – to get good, they trained.
So one thing is clear, to get good at football, you have to train. And to train for football, you need a ball. Chances are, if you’ve ever owned a football that lasted for a long time, maybe even years, then it was a training football. Training footballs are great for amateurs and professionals alike to work on their skills outside of match day.
What are training footballs?
Training footballs are traditionally created from hard-wearing materials as they are designed to be used all year round. They need to be more durable than a match ball which could only be used once a week. Training footballs need to stand the rigorous training drills and routines week in, week out, all season long. They are multi-purpose and designed for use on a wide range of surfaces, whereas a match football is normally catered to just one.
What size is a training football?
Training footballs can come in any size, namely the three main sizes of 3, 4 and 5. Since 2020, FIFA’s official guidance is that size 3 footballs are suitable for children up to 9 years old, size 5 are for 15 and over and a size 4 is for everybody in between. This guidance is to look after the safety of all players, to make sure football can be a fun and safe space for everybody who wants to play. The key difference that makes these balls suitable for training has nothing to do with the size, but the build of the football.
Are training footballs good for beginners?
Training footballs are especially good for beginners as they are traditionally a bit heavier than match balls, which means there is more to grip on to when learning how to play. They are great for practising tricks as they move smoothly and can be controlled with ease. A heavier ball can help train the feet and strengthen muscles so that when it’s time for match day, you’re ready.
Here are 11 of the best training footballs currently available:
The Mitre Shelter ball has specifically designed for the #NoHomeKit campaign, and £5 from each ball purchased will be donated to the Shelter charity. It features a 30-panel construction, meaning it will definitely stay in shape no matter how much it gets kicked about the garden.
The Mitre Impel football has a foam backing behind its 30 panels which makes it suitable for younger players too. The design is tried and tested so it keeps its shape, so no more wonky footballs. This training football is suitable for grass and Astro surfaces, and the bright colourway means it is easy to spot on the darker evenings.
This durable training ball from Adidas has a textured exterior, and the bright pattern means it will easily be found in the bushes. A tough TPU cover means it can withstand anything.
The iPro Nova comes in a navy and cyan colourway which makes the ball easy to spot. The iPro Nova is a quality training football with a good value for money. It’s made from a textured high-quality laminate and has a latex bladder, which is the same material official match balls use. The latex bladder makes the ball extra bouncy which is great for touch and responsiveness.
Mitre provides the official match ball for the Women’s Super League, and they sell a replica edition that is perfect for training at a very reasonable price. There is a subtle dimpled texture all over that really helps with ball control and grip retention. This foam-backed training ball is perfect for fans of women’s football.
This football from Kappa is machine stitched into 32 panels. It is printed with the iconic Kappa logo and bold and colourful graphic stripes. It’s made from high-quality PU which is the go-to material for premium balls. The material has a high elasticity which helps when it’s getting kicked around a lot.
This bright and graphically printed football from Joma has both a Butyl bladder and valve for the best quality in durability. It has a polycotton 4 ply lining and is hand-stitched with a 5 ply thread. It has a TPU foam padding that is designed to stay cushioned even during the cold winter months, which makes this an all year round training football.
This Mitre ball is the Official Replica Football of the Emirates FA Cup, new for the 21-22 season. A high-performance training ball, it features a foam back lining to assist with control. It's highly durable and will last all season, on both grass and astroturf.
Most football fans will be familiar with the iconic Uniforia design used in the Euro 2020 tournament. This ball isn’t just a training ball, it’s specifically designed for indoor, futsal or Sala football players. The ball has a durable Butyl bladder and it’s got a low rebound profile. This is ideal for indoor football players to stop their training session from turning into a game of squash.
For those who are looking for a luminously coloured training football, look no further. Its panels are stitched and are constructed from a variety of hexagonal and pentagonal shapes. This ball from the Italian company Diadora is as stylish as it is practical. The design has been developed with the approval of top players and athletes so the quality is assured.
Playing football on the streets or on a concrete playground means you need to find a football that is hardier than most. This street football from Mitre is ultra-tough and made for asphalt and tarmac. It has 32 panels and has a car tyre pattern printed into the rubber laminate to pay homage to those who learned to play on the streets.
Make sure you have a football pump at hand for when your ball arrives as, usually, footballs will be delivered deflated to both save on packaging and cut the carbon footprint of shipping. Luckily, we have hand-picked the best pumps out there to save you from being caught out.