How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a Pump

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

How do you pump air into a soccer ball without an air pump? A soccer ball is arguably the most important piece of equipment, but just as important as the soccer ball itself is a reliable soccer ball pump.

There is no worse feeling than getting to a soccer field all ready to train only to find out your training balls are deflated and you don’t have a ball pump inside of your bag. But don’t worry if this ever happens to you because there are a couple of things you can do.

To fill up your soccer ball, you can either postpone your training session and go buy a ball pump, or use an alternative method from this list with common household items. In this blog I will cover everything you need to know about pumping air into your soccer ball without a ball pump.

How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a Pump Image by Wesly Tingey

What is the Right Air Pressure for a Soccer Ball?

Before we dive into the alternative methods of filling up a soccer ball with air without a needle or a ball pump, it’s important to understand the right air pressure for soccer balls.

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer that creates the rules of the game, states that air pressure in a regulation ball must be between 8.5 psi and 15.6 psi. PSI stands for pounds per square inch.

When it comes to getting the right air pressure, always make sure to double check the specific guidelines of your soccer ball’s manufacturer since they may vary between brands and models.

How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a Pump

Image by Amazon

Technique #1- Use a Compressed Air Canister

If you have access to a compressed air canister, this can be a quick solution and one of the most effective ways to fill up your ball without a needle or a pump. To begin, simply insert the nozzle inside the ball’s inflation hole and release the compressed air.

A compressed air canister fits perfectly inside of the ball’s air hole, but be cautious not to overinflate the ball. Also, this technique can get pricey, which is why you should only use this if you have a compressed air canister available.

Do not rely on this technique for too long and purchase a reliable pump instead.

How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a PumpImage by Amazon

Technique #2- Transfer Air from a Balloon to your Soccer Ball

The next technique requires a balloon and something like a thin straw, coffee stirrer, or pump needle to help transfer the air from the balloon to the soccer ball. Begin by filling up the balloon with air and then use a paper clip or clamp to close off the lip of the balloon, the part where you blow into the balloon.

Next, insert the thin straw, coffee stirrer, or pump needle into the balloon and the other end into the ball. Release the paper clip or straw and slowly let the air move from the balloon into the ball.

How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a Pump Image by Wendel F.

Technique #3- Use a pen, a paperclip, scissors, and tape

When you find yourself without a pump needle, one of the most challenging parts is improvising with materials that you have at your disposal. Fortunately, this next technique requires tools that are very common to already have inside your house such as a paper clip, scissors, and tape.

Begin by disassembling the pen, separating the ink tube from the rest of the pen. Make sure to remove the writing point to avoid getting ink all over you. Keep the writing cap close, as it will serve as the “needle” or entry point for the improvised pump that we will be making.

Use scissors to cut a small piece from the ink tube and insert it into the writing cap. Now, to create the “ball tube,” grab a metal paper clip with a plastic coating. Straighten the paper clip and insert it into the soccer ball’s air hole.

Trim any excess protruding from the ball and carefully pull the metal out, leaving the plastic “tube” mostly inside the ball. This plastic casing will serve as the housing for your writing-cap “needle,” which is now attached to an air pump.

For an even better explanation make sure to check the visual above and this post by Wendel F.

How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a Pump Image by Juan Diaz

Technique #4- Visit a Gas Station

Some gas stations provide air pumps for car tires, which can be used to fill up your soccer ball. However, this should only be used as a last resort and only if you don’t have other options as the car tire air pump can damage your ball..

How to Pump a Soccer Ball Without a PumpImage by Anton Savinov

Technique #5- Visit a Bike Shop or use a Bike Pump

If you can’t find a gas station then you may be able to find a bike shop and ask to use their bike pump. A bike pump is designed to blow air into the bike tires, but it can also help fill up sports balls, including soccer balls, with air. Similar to the gas station, this should only be a last resort if you absolutely need to.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you blow air into a deflated ball without a ball pump?

The most difficult part about filling up your soccer ball with air without a ball pump is finding the right materials that will help you do so. In this list we provided various techniques to fill up your soccer ball with air without a needle or ball pump and some materials you can try using include a compressed air canister, a balloon, a paper clip and a pen, a gas station pump, or a bike pump.

What is the best way to pump a soccer ball?

The most effective way to pump up a soccer ball is to purchase a reliable soccer ball pump, ideally one that has a gauge so that you can easily measure the ball’s air pressure.

How do you deflate a soccer ball?

To deflate a soccer ball all you need is the needle, you don’t necessarily need the entire ball pump.


In conclusion, knowing how to pump a soccer ball without a ball pump is a very important skill for players, coaches, and youth soccer parents to have for an optimal playing experience . Although it is recommended to invest money in a high quality soccer ball pump, there may come a time where you find yourself without a pump and with flat balls, which is why we have created this article.

In this blog I covered everything you need to know about how to pump a soccer ball without a pump and I provided you with five alternatives to using a ball pump.

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