Have you ever seen some games being played while the players are partially encased in a torus bubble that covers their head and upper body?
Well, this giant plastic orb is what’s known as a bubble ball or a bumper ball.
These giant inflatable bubbles allow players to roll, bump and flip over without risking injury.
Additionally, they come with an adjustable padded harness that guarantees a comfortable fit for users of all body shapes and sizes.
While wearing a bubble ball, the user’s legs are unrestricted so they can run around freely whereas their hands are restricted within the bubble.
This means that the players have to maintain balance using only their legs which further adds to the thrill of wearing a bubble ball.
While wearing this giant plastic bubble, players can engage in a variety of games. These include rolling down a hill, playing soccer, sumo, relay races and playing human dodgems.
Are Bumper Balls Safe?
First off, keep in mind that every physical activity has a risk of injury. So similarly, it is possible to get hurt while using a bumper ball.
Nevertheless, bubble balls are designed to be very safe, and so if used the right way, one doesn’t need to worry about getting injured.
Different bubble balls will come with different safety features so seek to find this out. Ideally, the best balls are those that come with a 3-way safety system.
A 3-way safety system comprises adjustable straps for a perfect fit, internal handles for stability and protection against air pressure.
Air pressure shouldn’t be such a big worry unless you intend to use the bubble ball in an area with powerful winds that can blow you away.
In addition to the safety features provided, players can take extra precautionary measures. For instance, it is vital to wear the right shoes to prevent roiling on your ankle while trying to prop yourself up on your feet.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent Bubble Soccer?
The cost of renting a bubble soccer ball with vary depending on how many balls you need and for how long you will be renting them.
Overall, the total cost should also include the cost of setting up the balls and deflating them as well. Keep in mind that the setup and tear down costs will also vary depending on the type of bubble ball that’s in use.
When it comes to the size of your group, there are two ways to go about it.
You may choose to rent a bubble ball for each player – which will be more costly, or you may decide to sub-in players – which would be more affordable. It all depends on how you have structured your game.
The duration of play is entirely up to you. However, most rental companies will have a minimum rental duration of 2 hours. This way, the users are assured of at least 1 hour guaranteed playtime.
On average, the rental cost per ball per player would range between $20 – $25 for a duration of up to 2 hours. For large groups, however, a company may choose to offer a flat rate.
How to Choose A Bumper Ball for Your Backyard
Most bubble balls are either made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).
TPU is used in bubble balls that will undergo heavy use such as balls used for rental or those used in leagues. TPU balls are highly flexible, and they can be used in colder climates.
Additionally, this recyclable plastic is environmentally friendly, odorless, and has superior abrasion resistance.
PVC balls are cheaper, but likewise, their lifespan is also shortened. These balls tend to harden and discolor with time, and they can even crack after prolonged use.
As a result, this material is better suited for balls that shall be used occasionally.
Additionally, PVC balls tend to have plastic smell, and they are not ideal for use in cold climates. Typically, the material of a bumper ball has to be at least 0.8mm thick, but higher quality TPU balls are thicker.
When it comes to the style of construction, bubble balls may either be threaded or constructed in a honeycomb style. Both these styles have different effects on the bounciness of the ball.
Threaded models come with a network of strings inside the ball. These strings aid in distributing air and pressure, therefore, preventing the walls of the ball from crashing or collapsing upon impact.
This way, instead of absorbing the shock of the impact, the user can easily bounce away from the other player.
Honeycomb models, just as the name suggests, come with interlocking pockets gathered at the seams. These balls have inferior cushioning and result in less bounce-back action when players collide. They are, therefore, the less popular models.
Bubble balls do not come in a one-size-fits-all option. Instead, there is a limited range of sizes to choose from.
The standard balls have a diameter of 1.5m, but you can find smaller models that have a diameter of 1.2m or even 0.8m.
Additionally, bubble balls come with recommended weight and heights, so pay attention to this when selecting a ball.
Smaller models are designed for children and teens up to about 4’0″ tall while larger models are designed for players between 4’0″ and 6’0″ tall.
The safety features included in most bubble balls are a shoulder harness and handles. The shoulder harness looks similar to a seat belt with adjustable straps having a loop or snap closure mechanism.
These keep the ball securely attached to your body as your run, bump and roll around in the ball.
A pair of vertical handles may be provided opposite the shoulder harness. These handles may be made from rubber or plastic, and they help the player hold on to the front of the ball.
The purpose of these safety features is to minimize jostling and shifting of the bubble ball around the player’s body.
This is particularly important for the players that have a smaller body frame, and so there is more space left inside the ball.
Swaddle-style bubble balls completely enclose the players’ arms. Often, these models will cover your head as well, and they will be longer, therefore, protecting your hip and an upper leg too.
As you might have guessed, this bubble ball style is designed for more intensive play.
Free-arm models are smaller than swaddle-style balls, and they look like over-inflated vests. These allow for full range motion of the players’ arms and the head and hips are exposed as well.
Because they offer less protection, free-arm models are designed for light play.
I'm a financial analyst, ping pong lover and an enthusiast father. I'm 30. I have one little boy. Whenever I'm not stuck in numbers, you'll find me in my game room chilling.