Volleyball Buying Guide
What is a Volleyball?
For those new to the sport of volleyball, it can be hard to imagine that each and every volleyball actually has a few variations that set it apart from others. While the beginner might not notice said variations a whole lot at first, being that they’re simply trying to get the proper skills and foundation down for the time being, the difference between different volleyballs actually starts to become apparent rather quickly once the player begins to advance in the sport of their choosing. Even then, there are a few exceptions to this rule in the way of volleyballs which have been made for beginners.
Volleyball is much like golf in the sense that there aren’t always particular pieces of equipment which could be considered good, bad or anywhere in between. Like the golf club, a volleyball that one group swears by may be completely useless or downright frustrating to use when in the hands of yourself, or vice-versa. As such, picking out the best possible volleyball for you can be a challenging ordeal. In this review, we’ll discuss the different variables often apparent from ball to ball, things to look out for in your purchase and we’ll even take a look at three of the very best volleyballs on the market. But first, it’s important to know what makes a volleyball in the first place.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for the perfect volleyball. While looking at a ball’s customer reviews certainly proves useful (and is a practice which should be used when shopping for any product), it’s important to find the ball that works for you. Here are some things to remember when shopping.
What lighting will you be playing in?
Volleyballs come in a variety of different colors. While your typical, white volleyball will likely get the jog done just fine, if you find yourself playing in the late evening on occasion, you might do better with a neon ball of shorts.
How many people will you be playing with?
If you plan on playing with a variety of people, it’s likely best to get a standard volleyball which takes an average stance on both padding and weight. While it won’t make everyone ecstatic, you can be sure it won’t leave any friends disappointed.
How much firmness can your wrists handle?
Volleyballs come with different levels of softness. While some prefer a hard volleyball, you may prefer a softer volleyball if you find others to hurt.
Will you be playing volleyball with the kids?
The heavier an object is, the more strength you’ll need to use it. As such, getting yourself a very light volleyball can help even the playing field if you plan on playing with your kids.
Do you plan on playing in an official league?
If you need to practice up before joining an official league, you’ll most likely want to go with a regulation-sized volleyball to prepare yourself for the times ahead.
Types of Volleyball Variations
There are many ways in which one volleyball may set itself apart from the next. The following variations are sure to change your volleyball experience whether for better or for worse, depending on your preference and play style.
- Softness – As you can by now guess, the level of softness inherent in a volleyball is likely the most important factor to consider. If hard volleyballs hurt, a soft model is the way to go.
- Color – Depending on when you plan on playing volleyball (whether during the day or at night), a neon-colored ball may give you a higher degree of visibility.
- Size – Volleyballs come in a variety of different sizes. Unless you plan on playing in a league at some point or another, experimenting with different sizes can drastically improve your playing experience.
- Weight – Not only does a volleyball’s weight change its level of comfort, it can make things a lot easier if you’re just starting out in the sport. Typically, lighter volleyballs travel slower, making it easier to hit them in the first place.
Common Volleyball Features
While all of the features we just discussed can either be good or bad depending on your own needs, the below features are things you should look for in any volleyball, being that they relay some degree of quality.
- Traditional Volleyball Material – You always want your volleyball to be made of the proper materials. While you needn’t bring a list of materials on your person when shopping, it can’t hurt to stay away from volleyballs clearly made of plastic. More often than not, such products are made for toddlers (like the aforementioned plastic baseball).
- A Distinguishing Physical Design – Depending on where you play volleyball, you may find yourself amongst many groups of strangers, each with their own volleyballs. Having a ball which is unique in color and has a brand name helps ensure the volleyball you’ve worked so hard searching for doesn’t get swapped out with somebody else’s.
- A Warranty – While you might not consider a warranty to be absolutely essential, it’s nice to have some assurance that a brand has some degree of confidence in their product’s ability to not break halfway through a game. Unlike extra padding or a lower amount of weight, a warranty can never be a bad thing.
Outside of buying a volleyball that is made of the proper materials and is equipped with a unique design to separate it from others on the beach, perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a volleyball is how you’ll feel when you use it. Do normal volleyballs hurt your wrists and hands? Do you have a hard time hitting the ball before it reaches the ground? Do you prefer a ball smaller in size? Will you be playing with your children?
By answering all of these questions before you finalize your purchase, you can be sure you’ll walk away with the perfect volleyball with a rather small amount of effort. Keep these tips in mind when shopping and your wrists and hands will probably thank you for it in the end.