How to Care for Water Polo Balls
Water polo balls are very durable; their tough rubber exterior is designed to withstand hours of exposure to chlorine and sunlight as well as lots of handling by players. After time however, constant use, bouncing on rough pool decks, and overinflating will cause water polo balls to deteriorate. The following tips help you keep your water polo balls in the best condition for as long as possible.
Avoid Bouncing on the Deck
A new water polo ball has a rough rubber exterior that is specially designed to provide grip in the water. After months of handling and exposure to pool chemicals, this grip slowly wears away. A way to lose this coveted texture even faster though, is to dribble water polo balls on rough surfaces such as pool decks or on concrete/asphalt. Coaches and players should avoid bouncing water polo balls on land whenever possible.
Store Water Polo Balls Safely
The best way to store water polo balls is in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight. Constant exposure to sunlight dries the rubber exterior, which eventually leads to cracking and discoloration. Many teams and pools store water polo balls in large metal cages that allow the water polo balls to dry between uses. Another water polo ball-friendly storage solution is to hang them in mesh bags, inside a storage shed or office.
Inflate Water Polo Balls Properly
Underinflating a water polo ball makes for poor performance in the water, but overinflating it is much worse for the ball. Too much pressure inside the ball can lead to splitting or even exploding. Check the pressure as you inflate a water polo ball and stop at 13-14 psi (pounds per square inch) for men's balls, and 12-13 psi for women's balls.
Water Polo Balls Will Last a Long Time
Water polo balls are quite durable, and the advice outlined above should keep your water polo balls in good working condition for several seasons. It is important to remember that balls used during official games always need to be new or in nearly-new condition, which means you will probably have to replenish your stock of game balls each season.