How does air pressure affect a soccer ball's flight? An avid soccer player should know the answer to ensure the soccer ball is inflated to its optimal pressure. There are many variables that play into proper air pressure for each ball. The amount of air pressure does affect the ball's height and distance on the field.
Air pressure determines the ball's level of stiffness. Higher air pressure creates more energy, which allows the ball to retain its spherical shape when it is kicked. Having less deformation of the soccer ball means it will have good height and distance when kicked. A flat ball does not go very far, but a solid ball will go the distance. The standard soccer ball requires six to eight pounds of air pressure to retain optimal performance.
The construction of the soccer ball is a variable that must be taken into consideration when considering the amount of air pressure needed to get the best flight. A soccer ball has a bladder that holds air. A latex rubber bladder has a tendency to leak air slowly. This type of ball will need to be re-inflated more often than soccer balls with carbon-latex or butyl bladders. The stitching and material of the ball may also stretch overtime, causing the ball to become larger. When this occurs, the amount of air pressure needed to keep the soccer ball in flight may need to be increased to accommodate the increased size of the ball.