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Water Polo Balls

There are different rules and major differences regarding the size, weight and pressure of the balls used during official Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) play.

Circumference

Official FINA men's water polo balls have a larger circumference, which means they are larger around than women's balls. According to FINA rules, men's balls must be between 0.68 and 0.71 meters in circumference or between 26.8 and 28 inches around. Women's balls are smaller, and FINA rules state that they should be between 0.65 and 0.67 meters in circumference, which is between 25.6 and 26.4 inches around.

Pressure

Men's water polo balls use more pressure in the balls as well, meaning the balls are filled with more air, partially due to the size of the ball. According to FINA, men's balls must be between 13 and 14 lbs. per square inch of pressure. Women's balls under FINA rules must be between 12 and 13 lbs. per square inch of pressure.

Weight

Surprisingly, there are no differences in the rules regarding the weight of women's and men's water polo balls. FINA rules state that all water polo balls must weigh between 400 and 450 g. That translates to a range between 14.1 and 15.9 oz. in weight. Men's and women's water polo balls are not made specifically to weigh differently, but they may feel that way simply because of the circumference and the air pressure.

Younger Ages

FINA rules regarding ball sizes apply to all international and adult levels of water polo, which include any age groups over the age of 14. There are some differences in ball sizes for younger ages of boys' and girls' water polo as well. According to USA Water Polo, both genders from ages 5 to 9 and ages 10 and under use the same size ball. In the 12 and under age group, boys' water polo moves to a larger size ball, known as Intermediate Size 3, while girls still play with the 10 and under ball called Junior Size 2. At the 14 and under age group, girls move to the Intermediate Size 3, while boys advance to the Compact Size 4, which is the same size used for official FINA play for older women's games.

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