Volleyball vs Soccer Ball: What Makes Them Different?

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A volleyball or a soccer ball—can you use them interchangeably? Both balls have a similar shape and size, but a volleyball is very different from a soccer ball. 

The differences start from the very basic manufacturing stage. A volleyball has soft outer surfaces optimized for playing with hands (better grip).

On the other hand, a soccer ball is mostly made with a synthetic material and has a harder surface with a prominent texture. This provides optimization for better control. 

In this article, we explain the key differences between a volleyball and a soccer ball—how the two are different in multiple ways and why you shouldn’t use them interchangeably.

Volleyball vs. Soccer Ball

If you hold a volleyball in one hand and a soccer ball in the other, you might notice no major size difference. But with sports, little dimensional differences can influence the entire dynamics of the sport.

So, what truly makes them different? Here are five pointers you would want to look out for so that you can spot the difference easily, the next time you come across both the balls.

1. Size Difference Between a Soccer Ball and a Volleyball

As per the official soccer codes, a soccer ball must have a circumference of anywhere between 27 inches and 28 inches.

On the other hand, the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) set a circumference of anywhere between 25.5 inches and 26.3 inches. By observation, you can see that a volleyball is around 1.5 inches smaller than a soccer ball. 

2. Surface Area Comparison

With the provided circumferences, we can now compare the surface areas of the two balls. A soccer ball has a surface area of (580–563 sq. inches). 

On the other hand, a volleyball has a surface area of (528–563 sq. inches).

This indicates that a soccer ball is around 51 sq. inches bigger than a volleyball in terms of surface area. 

3. Volume Comparison

The final perimeter to compare the sizes with is volume. A soccer ball has an approximate volume of 2091–2280 cubic inches. On the other hand, a volleyball has a volume of 1827–2000 cubic inches).

This gives the soccer ball an additional volume of 276 cubic inches.

4. Weight Difference

In games such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball, the weight of the ball plays a crucial role in the game dynamics.

A soccer ball and a volleyball differ in weight. A soccer ball weighs between 410 grams and 450 grams, while a volleyball weighs between 260 grams and 280 grams. 

This 150-gram difference is very prominent when you try to juggle a football and a volleyball at your feet. The lighter volleyball will be very hard to control.

5. Layers of the Ball

If you inspect the manufacturing of both balls, you will notice how they differ in the way they feel in your hand. This is due to the difference in the layers and the texture they are made from. 

A soccer ball has 3 main layers: 

  • The bladder that retains the air inside the ball. 
  • A lining that is made up of polyurethane foam or cotton.
  • The outermost layer is made up of a more durable synthetic layer. This protects the ball from sharp materials that can potentially damage it. 

On the other hand, a volleyball is made up of only 2 layers:

  • A bladder with a similar function as in the soccer ball—to retain air. 
  • The outermost leather layer is softer than that of the soccer ball. 

The overall manufacturing differences in the two balls mean that they are made for very different sports with unique game dynamics. 

Can You Use a Volleyball as a Soccer Ball?

So, can you use the two interchangeably? 

Mostly, if you are at a friend’s party and want to play volleyball but only have a soccer ball available, that is when you mostly end up playing with a soccer ball instead of a volleyball.

The same goes for the opposite case. When you don’t have a soccer ball, you might want to use a volleyball instead. 

You can only use a volleyball as a soccer ball if there is no other option whatsoever. But you should know that the pressure distribution, weight, and texture of a volleyball will make it behave differently from a soccer ball. 

With a volleyball at your feet, you will have a hard time controlling it and releasing it with accuracy—mostly because of its softer texture and lightweight. 

Regardless of these differences, a volleyball is still a ball and can be occasionally used to play soccer but only when there is no other option. 


To sum it up, a soccer ball is bigger and heavier than a volleyball. The difference in their manufacturing is for each of them to achieve certain playing dynamics in 2 very different sports.

The harder outer texture of a soccer ball allows you to control it better and release it for passing and shooting with higher accuracy, while a volleyball is designed for a better grip on your hand. 

However, if you are out for some casual fun with your friends, using a volleyball as a soccer ball won’t hurt you. 

But using the two interchangeably on a regular basis isn’t preferred. You will end up hurting yourself and also damaging the volleyball that hasn’t been designed to be kicked around by your foot.

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