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Have you ever come across a soccer ball that’s considerably smaller than a standard size 5 one?
If so, the thought of what such a ball could be used for probably crossed your mind.
After all, these tiny soccer balls are too small to be used for competitive play.
Truth be told, not all of these miniature soccer balls serve as simple souvenirs, and within this article I’ll be explaining exactly why.
Mini soccer balls prove to be very useful pieces of soccer equipment, as their compact size makes them suitable for individual practice. An outfield player can use one to work on improving different aspects of their footwork, and a goalkeeper can develop their hand-eye coordination through training with them.
But what exactly does this look like?
Now, let’s take a much closer look at what mini soccer balls are used for.
What ways are mini soccer balls used?
Mini soccer balls come in handy for people who are dedicated to the continuous refinement of their soccer game.
It takes a lot of hard and smart work to grow as a player, and using a mini soccer ball to work on skill improvement is a fine way of elevating levels of performance.
So, here’s a deeper explanation of how these tiny objects are utilised:
1. Improving footwork
As you will know, the game of soccer is won by the team that scores the most goals within the 90-minute playing duration.
In order to increase the goal tally, players need to be adept at controlling the soccer ball with their feet, along with being comfortable at manipulating it to their team’s advantage.
What do I mean by this?
Just think about some of the following actions and contributions that take place during a match:
- Long range passing;
- Crossing from the by-line and from deep positions;
- Shooting from distance; and
- Curving shots into the top corner of the goal frame
To execute all the aforementioned elements precisely, close control of the soccer ball is needed.
Practicing with a mini soccer ball allows players to get accustomed to working within finer margins.
For example, let’s say you were on a soccer field and you had to receive a pass from a team mate.
But the catch here is that the soccer ball being used is much smaller in size – a mini soccer ball so to speak.
Now, do you think it would be easy to trap this soccer ball with your foot?
Of course not!
Especially when you compare the difficulty of doing so against a regular-size ball.
Because a larger soccer ball has a wider area and circumference, it’s a bigger target that is easier to keep track of.
On the other hand, a mini soccer ball is much smaller in size which makes passes harder to receive because the target that you’re supposed to control is much smaller.
In such a case, a greater level of focus is required to position your foot in the correct way to receive a pass.
With all that said, soccer ball juggling is perhaps the best way in which a mini soccer ball can be used to improve footwork.
This is because juggling a mini soccer ball for a lengthy amount of time is a considerable challenge.
It’s a great method because it helps to simulate a match environment where you have to control imperfectly hit passes and balls that are hit too strongly.
And this all done by the individual themselves!
A great way to start is by using one part of your foot and perfecting the juggle with it, before moving on to a different area of your foot or using the opposite leg.
So, for instance, you can try out juggling a mini soccer ball using your right thigh, prior to progressing to close control with the laces area of your foot.
The video below provides a great illustration of the relative difficulty of juggling soccer balls all the way from size 5 down to mini soccer ball level:
By putting in the hard yards through regular application, you will reap the rewards of this juggling work out on the pitch because it will be less of a challenge to control a standard soccer ball that is bigger in size.
2. Hand-eye coordination
Another area where mini soccer balls prove considerably useful is for goalkeepers who want to better their hand-eye coordination.
In fact, here’s a great definition of this term:
“It is the ability to do activities that require the simultaneous use of our hands and eyes, like an activity that uses the information our eyes perceive (visual spatial perception) to guide our hands to carry out a movement.”Source – Cognifit
In other words, hand-eye coordination simply defines how good our vision system is at coordinating the information that it receives from the eyes to control, guide and direct the actions of our hands that are used to execute certain tasks.
Goalkeepers are major beneficiaries of mini soccer balls, as by using them they can practice catching soccer balls that are smaller to grab hold of and more difficult to spot as they move.
Mapping this practice over to real life match situations is where the advantages are recognisable, primarily because a lager ball is in play.
Tasks like parrying the ball away, punching it clear and holding onto the ball in a game become much easier because your hands and eyes have been trained to deal with a smaller object through several practice hours with a miniature one.
3. Leisure enjoyment
Finally, mini soccer balls are used for fun.
More specifically, young children and toddlers can play with them inside or outside the home as they are easier to kick.
What size is a mini soccer ball?
You will already know that a mini soccer ball is much smaller than a standard soccer ball.
But just how small are they?
Well, mini soccer balls should measure up to a circumference of between 18 and 20 inches.
That’s big enough to fit within the palm of an adult hand!
You can have a look at our article on soccer ball sizes as it contains more information about the overall dimensions of each type of soccer ball.
Which pieces of equipment can be used in combination with mini soccer balls?
In order to get optimal use out of your mini soccer ball, you can pair it up with other pieces of equipment.
You can transform your experience with them from conventional juggling practice to more sophisticated training routines that offer greater variety and additional areas for you to polish your skills.
Here are some options that I’ve outlined for you:
Soccer ball rebounders
If you tend to practice with a mini soccer ball on your own, you can purchase a soccer rebounder.
This fantastic piece of gear functions by returning any shots or passes sent towards it, right back in your direction.
What this does is allow you to replicate an environment where you had a partner passing a ball back towards you.
A mini soccer ball continuously rebounding in your direction is a nice way for you to polish up on first touches using different parts of the body.
Have a look at my article on the finest soccer rebounders as there’s a lot of options to like!
You can also take your solo shooting practice to a higher level by investing in a good soccer dummy.
It’s easy to practice bending a mini soccer ball around them and into an empty goal.
And what’s also great about them is the fact that they can also be used as targets to hit from distance as well.
Finally, we have soccer goal targets.
These are portable nets with holes on each corner that can be hooked up to any goal frame.
Using them, the aim would be to hit a mini soccer ball as accurately as possible into the specially designed openings.
Are mini soccer balls good?
Most certainly, mini soccer balls are more than just collector’s items or souvenirs that you stick within a storage cabinet or a glass-frame display.
They allow players to not only have different types of fun that wouldn’t normally be experienced with a regular soccer ball, as their smaller magnitude also contributes greatly towards sharpening the footwork and hand-eye coordination skills of causal and professional soccer athletes.
If this article has convinced you of the need to have a mini soccer ball, I’d highly recommend considering the following options on Amazon:
- BORPEIN 6 Inch Diameter Mini Soccer Ball
- Toddlers Soft Rubber Bouncy Mini Football
- adidas Men's Uniforia Mini Soccer Ball
Conversely, if you just want a larger soccer ball to play with, then be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide article on the greatest soccer balls.