what is the best training soccer ball?

best training soccer balls to help you progress

In Buyers Guides by Josh WilliamsLeave a Comment

Performance improving training balls

You may not be aware of this but there's many differences between a match ball and a training ball. Buying a training ball will give you the best bang for your buck. I believe the balls listed in this article are the best training soccer balls available in 2018.
 
Knowing the difference between training balls and match balls will help you decide if a training ball is right for you.
 
Training balls are by far the most flexible soccer balls available. They're often the cheapest soccer balls available too. While the quality of the cheaper training balls isn't the best. they're still good enough to train with and take to the park with friends.
 
Because choosing the right soccer ball can be frustrating, I've listed suggestions below. These balls have a long life span, look good and will improve the quality of your training.

What to look for when buying a training ball

Soccer balls have many different features. Sometimes this can be overwhelming to new players and people trying to buy a ball for relatives. Here's what to look for when you're buying a training ball.

  • Panel Count: The less panels the better. Most training balls have 32 panels which is fine. The New Balance Furon Dispatch has 18 panels and is my go to recommendation.
  • Bladder: Buy a soccer ball with a butyl bladder. These are by far the best bladders you'll find in cheap training balls as it provides great air retention and allows for consistent movement.
  • Connecting Panels: If the soccer balls panels are connected using glue, avoid it at all costs. The average training ball is machine stitched and will last a year or two of conservative play. Thermally bonding is by far the best though it's normally reserved for premium match balls.

If you want to play it safe stick to the balls recommended on this list. You're guaranteed a high quality training ball at reasonable prices.

Best training balls

This table is for people who don't need to read full blown product reviews on a soccer ball before buying it. If you'd rather buy a ball and start playing as soon as possible, this is for you.

Star ratings are based on training balls. A 5 star training ball is not better than a premium match ball.

Ball Name & BrandStar RatingWhere to buy
New Balance Furon Soccer Ball
New Balance Furon Dispatch
★★★★★Read more on Soccer.com

Knuckle-It Pro Match Ball
★★★★★Read more on Amazon.com
MLS Glider Budget soccer ball
MLS Top Glider Soccer Ball
★★★Read more on Soccer.com
Puma Power Camp Training ball
PUMA Powercamp Soccer Ball
★★★★★Read more on Soccer.com
Select Lazio Training Ball
Select Lazio Training Soccer Ball
★★★Read more on Soccer.com
KixFriction Training Ball
KixFriction soccer ball
★★★★Read more on Amazon

Corpus Training Soccer Ball
★★★★Read more on Soccer.com

Quick Product Overviews

Short product descriptions to help you decide which reviews to read. Are you looking for a normal training ball or something more speciality? I recommend the best of both categories.
 
New Balance Furon Dispatch - A luminous green ball made by New Balance for those on a budget. Can't go wrong picking this up.
 
Knuckle-It Pro Match Ball - While it's a little more pricey, it will improve your knuckle balls. As good as premium match balls for 1/2 the price.
 
MLS Top Glider - Entry level replica from the MLS. Plays well and perfect for training.
 
Puma Power Camp Soccer Ball - A very clean looking ball at a cheap price. Recognised by NFHS & used in high school coaching.
 
Select Lazio Training Soccer Ball - Select always makes great balls no matter the price point. It may be the best budget ball available.
 
KixFriction Soccer Ball - The first specialist ball on the list. Great for building power on the ball. Thanks to the flaps, the ball doesn't travel as far either.
 
Corpus Training Soccer Balls - An interesting idea. Corpus training soccer balls can be used like any normal ball. Good for improving your first touch.

New Balance Furon Dispatch Soccer Ball

New Balance Furon Soccer Ball

New Balance has developed a great entry level ball. The Furon Dispatch is a glossy 18 panel machine stitched budget ball.
 
While the colour may not be for you. It's definitely great for night time training sessions. If you're a person with commitments and are stuck to training in the evenings when it may be darker, this ball is great for those late night sessions.
 
The ball is also covered in a 4mm foam layer which makes heading the ball softer. It also provides a much softer first touch than you may be expecting. This doesn't translate well to match balls though, they tend to have a little more bounce.
 
Overall it's a nice budget option that will last you a year or two. I would keep it away from tarmac though, if you don't it may not last so long (This applies for all cheaper/training balls).

Pros

  • Available in Sizes 3,4 & 5
  • Easy to inflate
  • Soft headers
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Doesn't hold air so well
  • Cheap materials

Knuckle-It Pro Match Ball

Knuckle-It Pro Match ball great for improving shots

The Knuckle-It ball is made by a lesser known soccer brand "Bend It". That doesn't mean you shouldn't trust it though.
 
This ball has been taken a chance on by many and they normally adore it. Bend It have made a great training ball that has so much going for it. Though admittedly it is a "Premium Match Ball".
 
You may think you've read all you need to know. "Oh, a premium match ball? That's going to be out of my price range." It may be. Though it's surprisingly cheap. It costs only 40-50% of any current season premium match ball. That's a huge steal.
 
Bend It have hit this one out the park. It's a 12 panel ball which makes the movement more consistent. And like any other premium match ball, the Knuckle it pro is thermally bonded which provides greater water resistance.
 
The ball also comes with a micro-texture on the panels which improves grip & first touch under wet conditions
 
As well as the incredible quality, the knuckle-it pro match ball offers great training benefits. The ball has a VPM (Valve Position Marker) which teaches you how to hit those sweet knuckle ball shots.
 
The colour scheme and design was also made with technique improvement in mind. Bend It have chosen an easy to track design which will help you learn what you need to do to improve your knuckles.
 
Even if you don't class it as a training ball. You'd be silly not to try out your first premium match ball at this price.

Pros

  • Premium Match Ball
  • Micro-textured cover 
  • Thermally bonded
  • Cheap for a premium ball

Cons

  • Costs more than a training ball
  • Lesser known brand

MLS Top Glider Soccer Ball

MLS Glider Budget soccer ball

I really like the MLS design for this season. The MLS Top Glider is a replica of the official match ball.

Most Adidas balls for the 2017/18 Season use the same design as the Russia World Cup "Telstar 18" ball. the MLS ball is no different. Click here if you'd rather get the World Cup Top Glider

The problem with cheaper Adidas balls is that they increase the number of panels on each ball. This means the ball will curve less and is often less stable.

Thankfully the Top Glider comes with a butyl bladder which promises good air retention. It also comes with machine stitching which is standard for cheaper balls. 

Unfortunately there's not much more to say about this ball. It's your standard Adidas training ball which will last you for a considerable time as long as you're playing on grassy surfaces.

Pros

  • MLS Replica Ball
  • Good Air Retention
  • Fairly priced Adidas ball

Cons

  • More panels than the Official Ball
  • Feels Cheap

PUMA Powercamp Soccer Ball

Puma Power Camp Training ball

Puma is a brand that has flown under the radar recently.
I'm not usually a fan of Puma because their kits have been poor quality in the past. However this Powercamp Soccer Ball deserves praise.

While it shares the same features of a lot of the other balls on this list. It's one of the better soccer balls for its price.

Like most training balls it has 32 panels. Back in the day this was standard but we've seen balls have as few as 6 panels nowadays.

It's hand stitched and has a butyl bladder which again is standard for most of the cheaper, training balls. Puma has gone one step further though, they've added a puma air lock valve for even better air retention.

This ball offers a great balance, feels great on your foot and doesn't hurt your wallet. It's also backed by the NFHS and many colleges use the ball in their training sessions.

At the time of writing I cannot think of any negatives. It does get hard if left out in cold & frosty conditions but every cheap ball does this.

Pros

  • NFHS Endorsed
  • Good Air Retention
  • Clean & Simple Design
  • Awesome Budget Option

Cons

  • I'm not a fan of Puma.

Select Lazio Training Ball

Select Lazio Budget Soccer Ball

This is the cheapest ball available on the list. You normally get what you pay for, is it the same for this ball?

I would be inclined to say yes. The ball is machine stitched however the stitching is so open and isn't the best looking. The fact they offer a 1 year stitching warranty doesn't fill me with confidence either.

Select is normally a very good brand and this ball is incredibly cheap. If you don't have much money and want to play soccer with something that's not a plastic bottle or an ancient ball. This is for you.

Pros

  • Incredibly Cheap
  • 1 Year Stitching Warranty 
  • Has everything a training ball needs

Cons

  • 1 Year stitching warranty
  • Doesn't last long
  • Poor stitching

KixFriction Soccer Ball

KixFriction Soccer Training Ball interesting concept

The KixFriction Soccer ball gets a lot of plaudits. Are they deserved? 100% yes.
 
It's a really interesting concept that wouldn't have crossed my mind had I not found the ball itself. Obviously it's not for the evening kick-around up the park with your mates. It's a much more specialised training ball.
 
If you're someone that plays on concrete surfaces. Like the streets in-front of your house or a concrete 5-a-side court, thanks to the flaps this ball feels like you're playing on grass. The flaps create a certain drag that makes the ball travel less and will hold up quicker than a standard ball.
 
Thanks to the flaps you can even build extra explosive power on grass. Whether you're trying to break on a counter with the ball at your feet or strike that thunderous effort into the top corner, it's all a lot harder.
 
If you play with this ball for a long period of time and switch back to normal balls, your first touch may be heavy. Your shots will have a lot more power though. It's a catch-22. You may be over hitting passes after switching back.
 
You should definitely buy this ball as it'll add a different dynamic to your game. If you're an attacker it'll help you increase break speed and dribbling. Defenders using this ball will improve their clearances and Goalkeepers will improve their distribution. It's an all round winner.

Pros

  • Neat concept
  • Considerably cheap 
  • Good quality, lasts long

Cons

  • You'll still want to buy a normal ball
  • People will give you weird looks.

Corpus Training Soccer Ball

Corpus Training Balls

Another interesting concept. There's 2 Corpus Training Soccer balls. One which is oval and another which is triangular.
 
They are more or less oddly shaped soccer balls but do they offer any benefits? Yes they do.
 
I'll be honest though, the benefits you'll see aren't anything significant. These balls teach you to react to bounces that are unpredictable. This would replicate a low quality pitch creating odd bounces mid game and will improve your reactions.
 
I don't believe that they are worth the money. You could probably pick up a rugby ball for cheaper and have the same effect. Better yet, go to your local pitches that aren't well maintained and you'll learn more. That said, If you master your first touch with a corpus ball, you can probably control anything.
 
Youth coaches should stay away from this ball. I would worry that integrating this ball into training may cause players to dribble with their head down. A nice concept but that's as far as it goes.

Pros

  • Neat concept
  • Improves first touch
  • Good quality, lasts long

Cons

  • Expensive for a training ball
  • People will give you weird looks.
  • Could create more problems than benefits.
What size should I buy?

Soccer ball sizes are incredibly simple. The sizes are recommended for certain ages however all ages can play with them. Size 5 is the that is used at early teens and above.

Official Ball producer "Mitre" recommends 14+ to play with size 5 balls, I would personally start players on Size 5 footballs at 12. Maybe even earlier.

What size should I buy?

My favourite soccer ball in this list has to be the Knuckle-It Pro Ball. I cannot get over how cheap it is because it IS a premium ball.
It will also help you knuckle a ball like never before. This play-test from Belgian Football Vibes is a great example.

As for speciality training balls, there's only 1 on this list that I actually recommend. It's the KixFriction Soccer Ball of course.

It's a great ball for many different reasons. Whether it's training explosive power, break speed or you're just playing on the street and don't want the ball to roll away. I recommend everyone to try it out, it's a reasonable price and it's a good product.

Read more content:
What equipment do you need for soccer?
The Best Size 3 Soccer Balls available today

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