Whether you’re planning to purchase a regulation size NFL football, or you’re a parent or coach looking to buy a junior football that’s the correct size for your child or team, our football size guide can help! Our easy to understand ball size chart breaks down the recommended football ball size by age, ensuring you can buy the right size football for your needs. Our guide also covers football weights/dimensions, and answers frequently asked questions relating to footballs.

Football Size by Age

The size of the ball you need is determined by the intended user's age. Ball sizes can differ slightly between manufacturers, so always double-check the age guidelines before purchasing a football.

  • Ages 9 and under - Size 5 “Pee Wee” football
  • Ages 10-12 - Size 6 “Junior” football
  • Ages 12-14 - Size 7 “Intermediate” or “Youth” football
  • Ages 14 and over - Size 9 “Official” size football

Football Size Chart

football ball sizes by age

How big is a football?

According to official guidelines, footballs used in the NFL should be 11.0 to 11.25 inches (27.9cm to 28.6cm) long and have a “long circumference” (measured around the ball from end to end) of 28.0 to 28.5 inches (71.1cm to 72.4cm). The ball's “short circumference” (measured around the middle of the ball) should be 21.0 to 21.25 inches (53.3cm to 54.0cm).

As discussed above, footballs differ in size according to the players’ age. Official size 9 footballs can also vary in size depending on the level of play. For example, the NCAA’s ball size regulations are slightly more lenient than the NFL’s.

The table below shows the recommended weight, diameter and length of footballs for each age group.

Recommended Football Sizes by Age
Age (years) Size Size Name Weight Diameter Length
9 & under 5 Pee Wee 10.0-11oz (285-310g) 5.1-5.6 inch (13-14.2cm) 9.1-9.4 inch (23-24cm)
9 - 12 6 Junior 11.3-12.3oz (320-350g) 5.7-6.1 inch (14.5-15.5cm) 9.8-10.2 inch (25-26cm)
12 - 14 7 Youth 12.3-13.4oz (350-380g) 5.9-6.3 inch (15-16cm) 11.0 inch (28cm)
14 & over 9 Official 14-15oz (397-425g) 6.5-6.8 inch (16.5-17.2cm) 11.0-11.25 inch(28-28.5cm)

Other football ball FAQs

What shape is a football?

Technically speaking, a football ball is a "prolate spheroid". The original football ball was made from a pig’s bladder, which was inflated by mouth and stuffed into a leather cover. Slowly the ball became narrower in design, especially after the forward pass was introduced in 1906.

Why is a football shaped the way it is?

As mentioned above, in the early days of football, football balls were made by inflating pig's bladders and wrapping them in leather skin. These balls were much more rounded/spherical than the ones used in today's NFL and had a shape similar to that of a plum. It's not entirely clear why the ball became narrower at the ends, but many people believe that the shape was inspired by the oval shape of the rugby ball, as football is a combination of Association Football and Rugby from England.

Interestingly, the oval shape of the rugby ball was an accidental discovery in 1870, when manufacturers switched from pig's bladder innertubes to more flexible rubber ones. As American football evolved away from rugby, the shape of the ball was altered to make it narrower at the ends, allowing for longer throws. This modification ultimately gave the ball the shape that is familiar to us today.

How heavy is a football?

As outlined in the table above - a regulation senior football weighs 14 to 15oz (397 to 425g).

What pressure should a football be?

According to the official guidelines set out by the NFL, regulation balls should have a pressure of 12.5-13.5 psi (86.2-93.1 kPa).

What size is a high school football?

The vast majority of high schools will use a size 9 football for regulated games. A size 9 football is a full, senior-size football that is typically 11.0-11.25 inches in length. As high schools use balls from different manufacturers, the dimensions of the footballs can vary slightly.

Is a college football the same size as an NFL football?

College footballs can vary in size, as different colleges will often use balls from different manufacturers.

College football balls can be slightly smaller than NFL footballs and have greater variation in terms of their dimensions. Whereas regulation NFL footballs are 11-11.25 inches long, most states permit college footballs to range in length from 10.5-11.25 inches.

Whilst NFL footballs must have a long-circumference that is 28-28.5 inches (measured along the length of the ball), college football's long circumference can vary from 27-28.5 inches, depending on the manufacturer of the ball and the state that the game is regulated by.

At Net World Sports we supply a comprehensive selection of football equipment, including practice footballs, game footballs, football tackle bags and football goal posts. Available in 4 sizes, our game footballs are made from PU leather and feature pioneering F-Grip laces for maximum grip. Our practice footballs are also available in a range of sizes, from Pee Wee to senior regulation sizes. Offering great value for money the practice footballs feature a strong rubber bladder for superior durability & shape retention.