What Size Football is Best for 13-Year-Olds? A Complete Guide

Do you have a 13-year-old aspiring football player in your life? Are you unsure of what size football they should be using for their age and skill level? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Choosing the right-sized football is crucial for young players as it can greatly impact their performance and development on the field.

You might be thinking, “Doesn’t every football look the same? What’s the big deal?” Well, the size of the football varies depending on the age group and level of play. Using the wrong size could lead to difficulty handling the ball, improper technique, and potential injuries. So, let’s dive into the topic and find out exactly what size football suits 13-year-olds.

In this article, I will guide you through the different sizes of footballs available and help you determine which size is ideal for your 13-year-old football enthusiast. By the end of this read, you’ll have all the information you need to ensure your young athlete is equipped with the right football for their game.

Why Correct Youth Football Sizes Are Important:

1. It Helps The Game

The right size equipment for playing team sports is essential for making the game playable. As mentioned by Krysiak, if the ball is too big for a 6-year-old quarterback to handle, it defeats the purpose of playing football and won’t be conducive to teaching them the game. This is why tailoring the size ball used in youth football games is important.

Ensuring all players can handle the equipment is critical, and a similar concept applies to other sports, like baseball. For instance, as kids get older, they will use bigger and heavier bats because they have acquired more strength. If a hitter couldn’t even swing their bat because it was too heavy or awkward, their ability to play would be hindered. In conclusion, having age-appropriate equipment helps make team sports much more playable for all members involved.

2. It Teaches Proper Technique

Using the proper size ball helps develop the right technique in younger players. When a ball is too big or small, it can be not easy to catch and throw correctly. It also makes doing other skills like punting and kicking more challenging. The easier it is for young players to handle the ball, the better they will be able to learn the correct skills and techniques.

3. It Minimizes Injury Risk

Using appropriate equipment for an age group can help minimize the risk of injury. A child using a ball that is too big or heavy could lead to bad habits while playing, such as poor technique and form. This could potentially increase the risk of injury in young players. In addition, using the correct size of equipment also ensures that players maintain proper posture while playing, which can reduce the chances of developing back or joint problems.

4. It Allows Kids to Grow Into the Equipment

Youth football coaches need to provide their players with age-appropriate equipment that will allow them to grow and progress in the game. Providing young players with gear and apparel that is manageable for their size, such as smaller-sized footballs or helmets, can help to keep the game fun and interesting.

Too large or heavy items can lead to frustration and difficulty performing basics like holding, carrying, or gripping the ball. That would leave many kids uninterested in participating further down the road.

On the other hand, when coaches find suitable options for their players, they are more likely to have a positive experience in the sport, which fuels an increased interest. It’s important to strike a balance between having children step out of their comfort zone and feeling successful simultaneously.

What Material Do I Choose for My 13-Year Youth Size Football?

Foam footballs are the most affordable youth-size footballs on the market and are great for beginners. Foam is lightweight, giving you maximum carry distance, and is extremely soft to the touch. This makes it a good choice for small kids intimidated by heavier balls. The downside of foam footballs is that they aren’t the most durable; they may only last for a season or two of rough play before having to be replaced.

Synthetic leather footballs provide more durability than foam options, making them perfect for a young player looking to get into playing competitively. They typically have long-lasting construction and can handle hard throws without taking too much damage.

However, they weigh more than their foam counterparts and can feel slippery in your hands, reducing control accuracy. If you’re looking for a reliable yet affordable youth-size ball, synthetic leather could be the right choice.

What Size Football is Best for 13-Year-Olds?

The official pro footballs used by the North American professional leagues are perfect for experienced and novice players. Modeled in nearly every way like those used in professional sports, these full-size footballs feature a slightly wider nose than college or high school footballs to set them apart. Most notably, though, they have two 1-inch half-stripes located some 3 to 3.25 inches from either end of the ball, a key defining feature of the game.

When you pick up an Official Pro Football, you’re reminded why all the best teams use this ball for their practices and games. Whether playing in an organized league or just having a pick-up game with friends, Big Game’s competitive official regulation pro footballs will surely enhance experience no matter your age – recommended 13 and up – or skill level.

They offer durability, consistent balance, and a terrific grip, making them perfect for any throwing style or catch style players may have. However, the size may vary depending on competition level.

Football Size Depending on Competition

Football SizeAge GroupAverage Weight (ounces)Long Circumference (inches)Short Circumference (inches)Special Notes
Size 9Ages 14 & upVaries~27.75~20.75NCAA regulation for college & high school
Size 8Ages 12-1412.5~26.25~19.25Youth football for ages 12-14
Size 7Ages 9-1211~25~18.5Junior football for ages 9-12
Size 6Age 9 & below9.5~23~17.25Pee Wee football for age 9 & below
Mid-SizeAges 14 & upSimilar to YouthSimilar to YouthSimilar to YouthOfficial women’s football, distinct design

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What size football should a 13-year-old play with?

A 13-year-old should play with a football around 10.5 to 11.5 inches long. This size is perfect for enhancing their skills and techniques while handling them comfortably.

2. Can a smaller size football be used for a 13-year-old?

Using smaller football, such as youth or junior balls, may hinder the player’s development. Using the correct size football is recommended to ensure proper grip, throwing accuracy, and overall game experience.

3. Is it necessary to use a leather football for a 13-year-old?

While leather footballs provide an authentic feel and great durability, composite footballs are popular for younger players due to their softer feel and resistance to wear. Either option would work well for a 13-year-old, depending on their preference.

4. Can a 13-year-old use a larger size football?

Using a larger football than recommended might be challenging for a 13-year-old in terms of grip and control. Sticking to the proper size optimizes the player’s performance and prevents unnecessary strain or injury.

5. Are there specific football sizes for female players?

Female players can use the same football sizes as their male counterparts. The size of the football doesn’t vary based on gender but rather on the player’s age and skill level. It’s important to choose a size that suits the individual player, regardless of gender.


When choosing a football for a 13-year-old, it is important to consider the ball’s weight, length, and circumference. The appropriate size would be any football around 10.5 to 11.5 inches long, the same size as most youth or junior footballs. It’s good practice to use the right size football in order to maximize skills and performance while avoiding injury.

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