How do LEDs Work: The Science of Saving Money In Your Dome
The great thing about domes is that they help reduce energy and carbon footprints. Bubbles do this by reducing the materials needed for an indoor facility, and making maximum use of available space. Another way that air structures help the environment is with LED lights.
We’ve talked about LED lights before, including why they haven’t seen much use until now, and why they seem to be popping up everywhere now, but today we’re taking a step back, putting back on our science hats, and looking at how LED lights work.
To begin to understand LEDs, we should go back to basics and look at how electricity works. Electricity is movement of energy. When a charge exists, it means that there is more energy in one area than there is in another. If given the opportunity, this charge will flow in the direction of least resistance.
You can think of it in the same way you think of water. If you have a bucket of water and pour it on the ground, it will flow in the direction of gravity, taking the path of least resistance. Water will flow in, or create, a groove that demonstrates this path of least resistance.
Electricity is much the same and flows from a high-energy area to a low energy area in the simplest path. When electric current is able to flow well through something, that material is known as a conductor. If a material stops the flow of electricity, it is an insulator. Simple, right?
Well there also exists another type of material that isn’t quite a conductor and isn’t quite an insulator. A material can appear to be an insulator until the current increases to such a point where it becomes a conductor. Materials that have a tipping point like this are called semi-conductors.
LEDs are made using a special semi-conductor materials called p-type and n-type silicon.
Using this principle of semiconductors, the two types of silicon can be combined to create what is called a junction diode. Simply put, a semiconductor diode allows conduction in one way and when the current reaches a certain point, the electrons activate a release of energy.
What’s unique about LEDs is that this release of energy is pretty much only in the form of photons, or light. This means that no energy is lost as heat, sound, or movement.
Makes sense? If not, here’s a pretty good link that explains it in a bit more detail.
As far as dome owners need to know, LED lights are bright and use up much less electricity than typical lights. While domes are naturally relatively easy to light up because of the shape and white colour of the inside walls, sports like soccer and ultimate Frisbee need lots of light. The closer we can get to the brightness of the outdoors during the day, the better it is for athletes to focus on their sport.
That’s why LEDs are the only way to go. By being brighter, lighter, and smaller than other types of lights, it’s possible to light up your dome as much as possible, without spending more money.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world—about 250 million people play the sport. That’s the equivalent of about 5/6ths the entire population of the United States of America. Because the sport spreads so far, not everyone plays the game in the same way. For example, millions of people play soccer indoors in air domes to protect them from poor playing conditions.
There are a lot more variations on the sport than you may realize though. If you’re getting tired of traditional soccer, here are a few soccer-related (perhaps distantly related) sports that might be worth a try…
Voccer is simple. Picture soccer crossed with volleyball and you’ve got the gist. Using a volleyball, this game allows you to use your hands. You must volley the ball into the air just like in volleyball, but the only way to pass the ball to a teammate is with your feet.
The aim is to get the ball into your opponents goal using either your hands or feet.
This game is a little bit more dangerous than typical soccer because it involves strapping a couple blades to your feet!
The game is played similar to indoor soccer, but the difference is that it’s played on a sheet of ice, and the players need to skate around the arena. Using a smaller size soccer ball and smaller nets, the game looks a bit more like ice hockey than soccer but it’s definitely a cool way to spend an afternoon.
Players just need to be careful not to slice other players or the ball with their sharp skates!
Footby is another cross sport and mixes elements from soccer, football (the American one), and rugby.
If you’ve got a couple full teams that don’t mind a little jostling, check this game out for a fun afternoon on the field.
Hungerball is a soccer variant that seems to be catching on, especially as a party game. It does require more specialized equipment than a traditional game of soccer, though.
Using an inflatable arena, six players enter, each with a net that they must protect. Players lose when they allow too many goals. Alliances form, strategies are decided on the fly, and everyone has a great time.
Like bubble soccer, we think this is a perfect party sport to have in any multisport dome!
Looking for more sports to keep your soccer team busy? Or to offer patrons of your multisport dome? Check out any of the above new soccer games to spice up your indoor soccer play! And if you have suggestions on other soccer type games that are new and up-and-coming, let us know in the comments!
Winter is here and that means professional tennis players are hard at work training (on indoor tennis bubble courts, hopefully) in preparation for the 2017 season. While 2017 is only a few days old, fans have already begun to speculate on who might dominate the courts in the coming year.
Since we ended 2016 with a roundup of the year in tennis, this week we weigh in on what the ESPN experts had to say. This may help you to decide which players to root for during this year’s tournaments.
The Australian Open
This tournament starts the season and takes place in the latter half January. The consensus is that on the men’s side, Andy Murray will dominate despite having lost the final match in this tournament five times over the past 7 years.
On the women’s side, it could be a tossup between Serena Williams and last year’s champ, Angelique Kerber.
The French Open
Occurring from the 28th of May to the 11th of April, the second Grand Slam event looks to be an interesting one. The predictions are a little less definitive, but it looks like Rafael Nadal might be the one to come out on top. He seems to be the most deadly on a clay surface.
Last year, Serena Williams lost to Garbine Muzura in last year’s final at the French Open. Because of Garbine’s strength on the clay, most writers agreed that it could likely be a repeat from last year.
The famous English tournament is happening from the 3rd to the 16th of July this year and it looks to be another doozy. For the men’s, Murray is naturally a top pick for some, but a couple others are picking the veteran, Roger Federer. If Roger wins, it would be his 18th Grand slam title—an achievement that just might motivate him enough to give it everything he’s got left.
It looks like Serena Williams is the by far favourite for this tournament, taking place on her strongest surface: grass. It would be a surprise to see her lose a tournament she’s been so successful at in the past.
The US Open
The bookend Grand Slam event will be starting on the 28th of August and ending on the 10th of September. Historically, Murray hasn’t done his best at this tournament, but a couple writers think he may just turn it around. The other top pick is Juan Martin Del Potro, who just might find himself at home on this surface.
For the women, the writers don’t really have a favorite, so it looks like this one could be anyone’s tournament. Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova… Be careful if you’re betting on this one!
What do you think? Are ESPN’s predictions on target? It will be fun to look back at the end of 2017 and see just how close they were!
Running in the Winter: How to Avoid Injuring Yourself
Most multisport facilities and air domes include a running track—the perfect solution for runners that are scared of injuries from falling on slippery snow and ice. Here are a few more tips on staying safe as a runner this winter!
A regular fitness regimen is one of the keys to staying healthy, and running has found favor with a large number of North Americans. Maintaining a regular running schedule during the warm months is easy, but what happens when it gets cold and both the roads and sidewalks are slick with ice and snow? While an occasional muscle cramp is manageable, sprains and broken bones are burdens no one wants.
Runners like to wear the sort of clothing that does not restrict their movements, but this approach can be problematic in wintertime. You need to stay warm in order to preserve your health, which means shorts are definitely out. It is okay to feel a bit cooler at first, but you need to choose your amount of clothing based on the idea of staying warm while sweating. Experiment with what works and do not be afraid to double layer both top and bottom articles of clothing. Be sure not to forget a hat and gloves.
Unless you are planning on running in boots (bad idea), your running shoes are going to get wet because of the snow and slush. That means water might seep through the shoes and make your feet wet as well as cold. Choose socks that will deflect the water and keep your feet warm.
Choose Bright Colours
Runners already know the importance of choosing colors that allow others to still see them when the sun is low in the sky. This also applies to winter. Just because snow is white and it is daytime does not mean you will stay visible, particularly during periods of blowing snow. Plan the colour of your clothing accordingly.
The wind can be particularly bitter this time of year, and having to run into an icy breeze is not exactly something that will motivate you. Whenever possible, start your run with the wind blowing in this direction, but finish with it at your back. That way, if you are sweaty, the effects of the cold will feel less punishing. You are out there trying to improve your health, not end up in bed with the flu.
And now the most effective solution to avoid hurting yourself while running in winter…
All of the precautions mentioned above can help prevent injury and illness, but do not address the main problems: running in the winter just plain sucks. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s slippery, and it can be hard to breath. It is tough to stay interested when having to deal with so many negatives.
Fortunately, you have a tempting alternative. Many air-supported sports domes include a running track. This allows you to do laps in environmentally controlled comfort that mirrors spring and summer. No extra clothing and discomfort, no cancelled runs because the thermometer just dipped another 15 degrees. If it is safe for you to walk or drive to the dome, then it is safe for you to do your workout.
Running is just one of the sports you can enjoy all-year-round in an air-supported dome. Contact your local sports facility to find out what programs are available and how to sign up. Start working off those extra Christmas pounds in January, not April!
Professional Indoor Soccer: The World Indoor Soccer League
Think indoor soccer is just a game played by kids and weekend warriors in soccer domes? No way—even pros play indoor soccer.
The MLS, North America’s premier soccer league, has grown steadily since inception, but have you ever wondered why there isn’t a professional indoor soccer league? Well you might be surprised to learn that it does (or rather, did) exist! It was called the World Indoor Soccer League. But where did it come from? Where did it go? This week we’ll look back on the WISL and what happened to it.
Indoor soccer has been around for longer than you might have imagined. After all, in countries like Canada and the US, the weather doesn’t always cooperate for playing outside. Especially in the winter. A sport as popular and universally enjoyed as soccer isn’t easy to put down, so why not play inside?
The World Indoor Soccer League was actually born from the failure of a predecessor, the Continental Indoor Soccer League. When the CISL flopped, the World Indoor Soccer League was born from its ashes. Four CISL teams created a new league called the Premier Soccer Alliance.
There were high hopes for this new league and a merger was in the works between the Premier Soccer Alliance and another league from England. This was to create a European division and North American division. The league changed its name to the World Indoor Soccer League to reflect this merger.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions, the merger never actually happened.
A soccer league that spanned the globe would have been an amazing thing. But unfortunately, it was never meant to be.
Despite the setback, the WISL kept running and grew to nine teams. Eight based out of US cities, and one team from Mexico.
The league existed from 1998 and continued for four seasons, but because of the failure to grow the league and merge it with a European division, the league folded in 2001. Several of the teams decided to abandon ship to a newly organized indoor soccer league, the Major Indoor Soccer League. The MISL itself would operate from 2001 to 2008, when all the teams went on to several other newer indoor leagues.
It’s obvious that professional indoor soccer has had a bit of a rocky start. In North America alone, over a dozen different leagues came and went since the sport’s inception.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a popular sport though. The fact that players, teams, and facilities kept creating new leagues showed die-hard support for the game. Presently there are three active leagues: Major Arena Soccer League, Premier Arena Soccer League, and the Western Indoor Soccer League.
We’ve seen first-hand just how popular of a sport indoor soccer has become in North America. Every year we create more soccer domes across Canada and the US. If you’d like to learn more about indoor soccer and what it takes to have a dome for your team or community, get in touch with us today!
Most of us are familiar with sports like soccer and football, both of which are fine choices to play inside a dome.
Although rugby evolved from football and is rising in popularity, not as many people know this sport, how to play it, or what makes it a great choice for a dome. Let’s review what rugby entails, the basic rules, and why it is also a great indoor sport.
What Is Rugby?
Rugby is a contact team sport that evolved from football. Like football, it is based on running on the field with a ball in your hands. The game is commonly played with 15 players per team, one oval-shaped ball, and one goal in the shape of an H on either end of the rectangular field. For the most part, rugby games are played in two halves, each spanning 40 minutes, with a short half-time in between and no timeouts.
Unlike football, players do not wear lots of protective equipment when playing rugby. They often just wear a uniform similar to soccer players.
A distinctive feature of rugby is the scrum to restart a game. It is often used as a way of getting a match going again after any infractions to the rules (discussed in the following section).
To form a scrum, eight of the forwards from each team bind together in three rows. The first row consists of three players (the loosehead, tighthead, and hooker). The second row is comprised of the two locks and two flankers. The final row is the eighth player, who takes the ball should his or her team gain possession. The team that did not cause the scrum (commit the infraction) starts it by dropping the ball in between the opposing teams, who then work to “hook” the ball and gain possession. This is a very technical portion of the game.
Some Basic Rules
In rugby, any player can carry the ball, and there are no limits as to how far a player can carry the ball or in what direction they can carry it. They may also carry with one or two hands. The only restriction with regards to passing the ball is that you must do so across the field or backwards, but not forwards (or the game may stop). Kicking the ball is also permitted in rugby; however, this is a rare occurrence outside of kick-off.
Rugby players can tackle you, though certain leagues will play without physical contact (simply tagging others instead, for instance). Some playing rugby as a recreational game outside of official leagues may also prohibit tackling. A similar adaptation is flag football, in which you do not tackle but you can rip someone’s “flag” off their jersey. However, rugby is considered full contact unless otherwise stated regardless of playing context, so be prepared for tackling to occur during the game.
Why Play In A Dome?
Rugby is particularly popular during the summer months when players have the use of a full green field and good weather conditions. However, similar to how an air-supported structure is a great place to play soccer and football, domes are perfect for rugby in moist weather conditions and throughout the entire year. The dome prevents the need to stop games during the winter, and you can play through other weather conditions that would have normally resulted in a cancelled game. Rugby in a dome also increases the availability of training programs, allowing more players to get into the game.
As 2016 comes to a close and a new year for tennis is on the horizon, now is the perfect time to recap some of the highlights from the last year in tennis, from rising players to veteran wins.
Rise of Milos Raonic
For the sixth straight time, Milos Raonic received the honour of being Canada’s male player of the year in 2016. This was not the only recognition of Milos’ rise in the tennis world. In 2016, he rose from a ranking of 14th to third in the entire world. He even made the Wimbledon final, but lost to the legendary Andy Murray. A feather in Raonic’s cap for the year, however, was his win in the Brisbane final against Roger Federer and a second victory over Federer at Wimbledon. Some even expect that Milos will win a Grand Slam sometime in the next few years of his tennis career.
Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber Named ITF Champions
To top off stellar years in tennis for both players, Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber were named ITF Champions for 2016—Andy Murray for the men, and Angelique Kerber for the women. Kerber made history with this title as the first person from Germany to win since Steffi Graff in 1996. Murray made history as well, as he became the first person from Great Britain to win since 1973 and the second oldest since John Newcombe in 1974.
Wimbledon 2016 Champions
Wimbledon was once again a banner year for all those who won. In the Singles category, Andy Murray came out on top for the men and Serena Williams emerged victorious for the women. This was Murray’s third Grand Slam in Singles and his second Wimbledon win—his first was in 2013. For Serena, this was her 14th title at Wimbledon, seventh in the Singles category, and her 22nd Grand Slam in Singles.
Other winners at Wimbledon include Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in Men’s Doubles; Serena and Venus Williams in Women’s Doubles; and Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen in Mixed Doubles. These wins served as the first titles at Wimbledon for Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Heather Watson.
Other significant events in the tennis world in 2016 included Monica Puig’s Olympics gold win in singles, Dominika Cibulkova’s win in the WTA finals in Singapore, and Alexander Zverev’s first title in St. Petersburg, Russia.
With such a phenomenal year in tennis at an end, one cannot help but wonder—will 2017 shock the tennis world? Will it top these memorable events from the past year? Only time will give us an answer on that one.
Whenever you are about to start an intense workout or play a sport, you need to warm up your muscles. Getting the blood flowing and loosening your muscles beforehand lowers your risk of injury. Warming up will help reduce bodily limitations that would occur from a cold start.
During the winter, warming up before playing a sport—including if it is inside a dome—is even more important. This is because your muscles will be “colder” than they would be in the summer. This means they will need more time before your circulation and flexibility increase and you can play safely without being at a high risk for injury.
The next time you are going to play a dome sport this winter, be sure to keep these warm-up tips in mind. Your muscles and body will thank you for it!
When you are inside the dome, put your running shoes on and go for a light jog around the field. Do not run as fast as you can, as this may injure your muscles. Start at a brisk walk and work your way up to a light jog. After roughly 15 to 20 minutes, you can start your exercise.
If you are going to play hockey inside the dome, or another sport with ice as the field, you can replace the light jog with a leisurely skate around the rink unless your muscles are limber. Remember to keep it light and do not try to speed skate around the rink.
Some jumping jacks can work in the same way as a light jog to warm up your muscles before engaging in a dome sport during the winter months. Start slow and gradually increase your speed and intensity. This is great if you have to wait to use the full field inside the dome, since you stay in one place while performing jumping jacks.
Basic Yoga and Stretching
Stretching your muscles is another great way to warm them up before engaging in intense dome sports. Try some basic yoga poses, such as Warrior 1, Runner’s Pose, Tree, Warrior 2, and Triangle. If you know how to smoothly transition between poses, do so, as this will increase the effectiveness of the yoga.
As an alternative to yoga, you can also do some basic stretches to make your muscles limber and ready for your chosen dome sport. You can try a modified split where you sit on the ground with your legs spread out and lean either to one side or down the middle. You can also try a standing side stretch.
Try stretching or doing yoga for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before beginning your sport.
Start on one side of the field and jog to the other side, but make sure you bring your knees up high each time your foot leaves the surface of the field. Imagine those sport drills where the players use tires and lift their legs high and put one foot in the centre of the tire. If you have tires available, feel free to add this to your high knees warm-up. If not, just imagine they are there.
Trial Run of Dome Sport
Depending on the dome sport you chose, you might be able to warm up your muscles by going through a light trial run of the sport. For instance, a light skate and practice shots would work for hockey. A light jog while softly kicking a soccer ball would work as well. A toned-down version of the sport itself can help you out here. Just remember to work up to the sport’s full intensity.
Pretty much every indoor sport facility has some form of artificial turf. There’s nothing like playing soccer or lacrosse on the real thing, but newer turf technologies make it possible to get pretty close. Last week we looked at how turf is made, but that’s only half of the story to getting fake grass that simulates the feeling of the real thing. The other half is in the installation.
You might be thinking that it’s a relatively straightforward process for laying turf, but there is an art and technique to it which means you’re best bet is to hire professional installers to create your indoor turf space.
The first step for any turf install is planning. Just like any other large project, planning is crucial. To make most efficient use of time and materials, the entire area needs to be mapped and measured. Once you have a blueprint for the area, work is ready to begin.
The next step is to prepare the surface. Synthetic turf usually replaces growing grass, so first the layer of grass needs to be cut off. The top layer of soil is then dug down a little to remove as much plant material as possible, then a weed suppressing membrane is laid down.
On top of the membrane, it’s time to build the surface back up, starting with a layer of crushed rock. The crushed rock provides a solid base that still allows water to percolate down. On top of the rock goes a layer of soil or sand which is then levelled to create a nice flat surface. Sandwiched on top then goes a shock absorbent material, important for play surfaces where players will be running—or perhaps falling.
Now we get to actually laying down the turf. It’s a simple process when the turf is laying out straight, the tricky part is when you hit an obstacle and an irregular cut is needed. This might be at a goal post, a curved wall, or maybe a line marker. Carefully cutting away the excess needs a steady, practiced hand!
Once the turf is laid out, it needs to be fastened into place using nails or spikes. It’s important to make sure the top of each nail is hidden deep within the grass.
Finally, silica sand is sprinkled directly on top of the turf then swept in to let it settle deep within the grass. You’ll never see this sand, but it acts to weigh down the turf and secure it in place.
After this, the turf is ready to be played on! Of course, soccer or football fields will still need lines painted to be ready for gameplay. The turf surface, though, should feel pretty close to the real thing. Of course, it won’t be exactly like an actual grass surface but the benefits of being able to play indoors during the winter as well as the reduced maintenance quickly outweighs the slight change. If you’d like to learn more about artificial turf surfaces in indoor sport domes, don’t hesitate to contact us to ask!