It’s a well used adage, especially in these times of austerity but is buying cheap, really buying twice?

It’s pretty safe to say we all look for a bargain at times, doesn’t the success of the annual Black Friday or Cyber Monday highlight our overwhelming desire to find ourselves a great deal?

But sometimes a bargain too good to be true – is usually just that. Quality doesn’t need to be expensive, sometimes it just takes an understanding of what you want, what you expect it to do and how long you expect it to perform. Once we have this understanding maybe price isn’t as important if the product satisfies your expectations and provides more than you bargained for.

A small amount of research uncovers useful facts and lays the foundation for buying the right product for future use, this preparation helps you deliver the required results and may well just provide a competitive advantage. Look at Apple and their product portfolio, millions of us are quite happy to pay for something that will perform over and over again, even if there are cheaper equivalents available.

So let’s take a look at footballs – maybe one of those first purchases where we look to make savings. These round things are purchased in the tens of thousands each year. On average a football is kicked at speeds up to 60 mph during a professional match probably half that during a general grassroots game. They get thrown, kicked, punched, they defy gravity and endless abuse during a game. They have to manage all weather conditions, are frequently left out in the cold and of course they are seldom cleaned after use and just bundled back into a bag-ready and able for the next game!

With a bit of research, preparation and basic knowledge there is an extensive range of different ball types to suit different situations – it certainly is not a case of one ball fits all and if we select the right ball for the right task we may well get extended use from them or perhaps realise we are over specifying when we just need them for a ‘knock abou’t each week.

Of course the professional game utilises the best quality footballs, those purposely designed to suit the conditions and demands placed on them for high speed and high-performance. There are footballs designed for Astroturf, 3G and 4G pitches and there are futsal balls with more weight to suit the game. Fluo balls are available for use in darker and wintry conditions under the floodlights and different sizes provide for different age groups too.

What about inflating them, we make sure we have the right pressure in our car tyres so they perform correctly – shouldn’t we be checking we do the same for our footballs? But then do we really know what the correct pressure is – a quick squeeze seems to do the trick most of the time – wrong! making sure we have the right pressure is important.

Choosing the right ball for your game and playing conditions is a simple task and with a little bit of guidance from your team wear supplier, it certainly isn’t a case of cheapest is best. Top ball manufacturers such as Mitre, Nike & Adidas get involved in significant contracts to see their balls used by the professional leagues but does that make any difference to balls we use at grassroots-certainly not. For years Mitre has dominated the grassroots scene with a huge range of top quality match and training balls – I’m sure most of us remember the classic Mitre Ultimax and the Mitre Delta. If you’re looking for an established supplier with a range to suit all, Mitre is usually first choice. However it would be remiss to forget the other front runners – take the Joma Dalia, a ball really starting to increase in popularity as the Joma brand expands.

It’s worth establishing a few pointers before buying any ball – what surface will you be playing on, is the ball inflated correctly, is the ball for match play or a kick about in the park – you look after the football and the football will look after you.

So where do we go from here? mysportswear has put together a useful pictogram with the help from Mitre – a useful guide to choosing the right ball with quality guidance and advice. If you’re still not sure give the team at mysportswear a call where they’d be happy to help (01325 520445) – they  offer a trial for clubs to trial and test balls and hopefully get your feedback. View the chart here and if you’re looking for a printed version for your school, club house or friend – email and you will receive your copy.


Choose the right ball