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Best Volleyball

Volleyball was invented in 1895 as a less aggressive alternative to basketball, but today volleyball is anything but gentle. Few other sports are as fast and exciting to play and watch. Volleyball can be played either indoors or outdoors, and each uses a slightly different ball.

To the untrained eye, there may seem like there are few differences between indoor and outdoor volleyballs. The USAV, the governing body for indoor volleyball, states that the ball must be made of leather or synthetic leather. FIVB, the governing body of beach volleyball, also states that the ball must be made of leather or synthetic leather. Both governing bodies also state that the ball must have a rubber or similar material inner bladder. In addition, both are the same size and weight.

However, the two kinds of balls are not interchangeable. Indoor volleyballs are more pressurized than outdoor volleyballs. Beach volleyballs must be lighter so that they can easily float through the air. The two types also differ in color. The USAV states that the outer covering of an indoor volleyball must be a uniform light color or combination of different colors. Beach volleyballs, however, must be bright colors such as orange, yellow, or pink so that they can easily be seen in the sunlight.

Next time you play or watch a volleyball game, take notice of the pressure, color, and feel of the ball. Realize that the slightest differences amongst volleyballs, be they of the indoor or outdoor variety, can make all the difference in a tight match!

Wilson AVP Official Beach Volleyball

This has been the best beach volleyball out there for awhile and continues to be, which is probably why this is the ball you'll see most frequently bouncing along the beach as you cruise down any boardwalk. This ball isn't cheap, but it's well worth the price. This is the official game ball of the AVP. It's truly made with the finest materials, giving it superior performance. This ball has a smooth texture yet still has great bounce. Its leather cover resists sand and moisture well.

Wilson AVP Ultimate Beach Outdoor Volleyball

Although this ball is inferior to the Wilson Official AVP Outdoor Game Volleyball, it is still a great beach volleyball. It is made of solid materials and is quite durable, like the other Wilson model. Only elite beach players would notice the difference between the two Wilson balls.

Spalding Official Volleyball of King of the Beach and USA Beach Tour

This ball is a very close second behind the Wilson Official AVP Outdoor Game Volleyball. Many players would argue it to be just as good, or even superior. Designed for competitive play, this ball can withstand weather well while still maintaining a great touch and feel. Note: Do not purchase the Spalding NEVERFLAT KOB Green Volleyball! There is a big difference in quality between this ball and the official King of the Beach ball.

Mikasa Official FIVB Beach Volleyball VLS300

This was the official ball of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and will most likely be chosen for the 2012 Olympic Games as well. It now has been updated with new graphics; it is bright and easy to spot in the sky on a sunny day. It has great durability, coming with a 2-year warranty. It is also a great choice if it is often damp where you play, as it holds up well in wet conditions.

If you purchase this ball, you may notice that it is a bit hard around the valve area, but once you break in the ball more, this is no longer an issue.

Tachikara Volleyball VB7500

You can't go wrong with a Tachikara. Tachis have been around for ever and were the original ball for almost every league. The raised seams on this ball allow for better control in wind and other outdoor elements. This is a great ball for players who are newer to the game.

Molten Super Touch Volleyball

As the official ball of the NCAA, the Molten Super Touch is top-notch. It has a premium Japanese leather cover and is light-weight but firm. It has a great bounce as well.

Although this ball isn't cheap, it comes with a 2-year warranty and it seems to last longer than other balls- the panels won't start to peel as quickly.

Tachikara SV5W Gold Competition Premium Leather Volleyball

Like the Molten Super Touch, the Tachikara SV5W is also well-made, with a premium U.S. leather cover. Tachikara's website boasts that this ball has been newly upgraded with enhanced performance and responsiveness.

Because the Tachikara SV5W is softer than other balls, it can be a better choice for beginners, though it takes a little time for it to really get that soft feel that many players enjoy.

Spalding TF5000 Leather Indoor Volleyball

While Molten and Tachikara are superior, Spalding is also in the mix. This ball also has a premium Japanese leather cover. The Spalding can be found on most high school courts, and can be purchased at Walmart. This is the best ball if you are on a budget.

Mikasa MVA200 Indoor Volleyball

The countdown to the 2012 Olympics has begun; this is the ball that will be featured in London this year. Notice the crazy new design! The 8 panel design and aerodynamic "dimpling" apparently offer better stability and control. This ball also comes with a 2-year warranty, guaranteeing its durability. Choose this ball if you want to play with the same ball that the best in the world will be bumping, setting, and spiking with this summer!

Nike 3005 NFHS Volleyball

This is a solid ball for players of the junior varsity, varsity, or club level. Although not as well-made as some of the other balls on this list, it is still very worthy of its selection. It is a solid piece of equipment and very durable. It has recently been enhanced and now has a better feel and improved ball control.

Blair Atkins
I love all things fitness and nutrition. As a former Division I volleyball player, I still love the game, whether it be indoors or on the beach. I also like to stay fit in other ways. I just completed my first half marathon and enjoy practicing yoga on a regular basis.
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