Can You Bring a Volleyball on an Airplane? (6 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With a Volleyball)
After winning the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships in 2011, my partner and I were given brand new Mikasa volleyballs alongside our medals.
We were both ecstatic, but I could tell we were each thinking the same thing:
Can we even take these back on the flight home?
Let’s get this sorted right away:
Can you bring a volleyball on an airplane? Yes, you can even take it in your carry-on luggage. There’s one big thing to mention though: Deflate it before boarding the flight! Changes in air pressure and fully inflated balls don’t mix well, so be sure to let a little air out or you might hear a devastating POP.
Taking a deflated volleyball in your carry-on luggage is perfectly fine:
In fact, many top beach volleyball pairings will make a habit of doing this--it’s kind of like indoor players always packing their shoes and uniform in carry-on.
You never know when your checked luggage will be misplaced, and some things you just want to keep at arm’s length--always.
But this question got me thinking about some other interesting things you can do with a volleyball, which people may not know about.
So in this post, after reassuring you the it really is okay to take a volleyball on an airplane, we’re going to give you our 6 point hit list of things that you may not know you can do with a volleyball.
You’re sure that volleyballs don’t need to be in your checked luggage?
Yes, I’m sure.
And here’s a quick explanation as to why.
The reason that many people worry about taking inflatable balls and sports equipment with them into the cabin is obvious:
We all know that air pressures change as we move away from the Earth’s surface, and this can do funky things with other pressurized objects (like volleyballs!).
The thing is, this change is relatively minor.
If you bring a pumped-to-the-seams Molten volleyball in your backpack, then okay:
I don’t really want to be sitting in the seat next to you.
But even if you just let out half of the air from a ball, the change in air pressure as you fly won’t be nearly enough to inflate the ball beyond its normal capacity.
*I will make one short note, and it has to do with miniature trophy balls. You may not think of it, but these are in fact pressurized, too. So if you or your team carry those with you on the flight, be sure to let some air out of those, also!
How to let the air out of a volleyball
If you have a pump or pumping needle, it’s really simple.
Just take the nozzle of the pump (or needle) and insert it into the inflation hole.
Once you reach the point where the needle is releasing air, you’ll hear a slight hiss.
The ball will also begin to deflate slowly.
To deflate a volleyball completely, you’ll need to press on the ball while the needle is still inserted.
Just flatten it out on a table or the floor, making sure there aren’t any pockets of air trapped inside.
How to let the air out of a volleyball WITHOUT a needle
This is where you may need to get a little inventive, but here are 3 quick alternatives to a regular needle:
Or a hairpin.
As long as you can release the bladder’s locking mechanism without piercing it or really pushing it out of place, you won’t do any damage:
That way, you’ll be able to inflate it again next time you have access to a pump.
Alright, we’re set to take our volleyball on-board our next SouthWest flight.
But what else can we do with a volleyball?
6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Can Do With A Volleyball
#1: Change how it floats.
Some coaches swear by this. And while I’ve had moments where I was a true believer, we’ll have to leave it up to you whether or not you see the results on this float serve trick.
The idea is that you can make a volleyball float in a specific direction, based on how you hold it.
It all has to do with the inflation hole.
If you hold pin facing down, the ball is supposed to drop faster.
Hold it up, and it will drift further into the court.
Some coaches even go as far as saying that you can make the serve float left or right, based simply on which way you hold the pin:
In fact, this is interesting.
In the coming weeks, the Volley-Pedia team will test this out and post the video, discussion and results right here. So if you happen to be reading this in the early days, stay posted and we’ll come back with news on whether or not it really works!
#2: Crack your back.
This is one of my favorite things to do with a volleyball: right behind sending it off a middle blocker’s hands for a point.
It’s really simple, and I’m a fan of doing it in warm-up.
Start sitting on the floor, with the ball behind your neck.
Then roll down your back slowly in steps.
First, you’ll just roll down with your chest and neck held straight.
Then, let your body fall back gently over the ball, so that your head is arching back toward the floor.
Work your way down your back like this and you should get some nice deep cracks.
#3: Use it as a pillow.
We’ve all been there:
Waiting around at the stadium on tournament day, needing to get in some sweet shut-eye before the next match starts.
You’ll search for a good 6 feet of floor space to lay down in, but you need something to rest your head on.
Find a volleyball:
They provide a surprisingly comfortable pillow, and if coach catches you napping you can easily roll into some lazy setting reps.
#4: Roll out.
While it won’t give you the deepest release, using a volleyball to roll out your calves and other sore spots can be a nice gentle alternative.
The round shape lets it move freely across the floor, and the smooth surface doesn’t cause any irritation on your skin.
If you’re looking for a proper release though, I really would recommend investing in a decent foam roller. You can find them pretty cheap online these days, and for roughly $25 it’ll have you feeling like a brand new person.
Especially on long tournament days, how you take care of your body can really make a big difference.
For the full scoop on the benefits of foam rolling in volleyball, I suggest taking a minute to check it out here. (Coming soon).
#5: Sign it and give as a gift.
You may have already been on teams that do this, but if you haven’t:
This really is one of the best gifts a coach can receive.
Especially if you won’t be working with the same coach in the next season, it can really be a fantastic token for them to remember you by.
I have t-shirts, volleyballs and cards signed by players, and I keep them all.
There’s something about a shiny new volleyball with neat signatures though that really makes me proud as a coach.
(#6): Take it in your carry-on luggage
We know this one already, but in case you had any final doubts before packing that volleyball in your backpack:
Go right ahead.
Here's a link to the TSA website, explicitly stating it, to ease your mind: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/sporting-and-camping
You'll want to look under the 'Basketballs/baseballs/footballs/soccer balls' section.
And now that you're sure it's okay, follow the steps above to let some of the air out, and you can keep your volleyball with you wherever you travel.
Did you find this post useful?
If so, leave a comment with something as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to let me know.
We want to keep answering your questions, so get involved with a quick comment and you’ll see that we respond as soon as possible.
Otherwise, sign up for our newsletter and stay in the loop for more content and tips like this.