In order to play the game of football well, your ball must be inflated correctly. If properly inflated, the football will travel farther and faster in a straighter pattern than a ball that is not fully inflated or that is overly inflated. You can use the gauge on your pump to measure an exact pounds-per-square-inch reading, but you'll also need to learn the proper feel of an perfectly inflated ball.
Proper Inflation and Feel
When inflating your ball, you can use either a hand pump or an air pump equipped with a gauge that gives readings in pounds per square inch, also called psi. Footballs used in the NFL are inflated to 13 psi, but a proper range can fall between 12.5 and 13.5 psi, according to Wilson Sporting Goods. A football shouldn't be squeezable, it should be taut and firm, but not hard. If you are using an older football, remember that leather hardens over time, so it may feel harder than a newer football. If your ball looks wobbly in flight, this can be a sign of a deflated ball, so check the psi.