Air supported domes provide climate-controlled comfort all-year-round, allowing users to play any sport they like at any time. Of course, this means the playing surfaces have no access to rain or sunlight and, therefore, must be artificial.
However, this does not mean indoor grounds are maintenance-free. Artificial turf requires its own form of special care that also applies when it is used inside domes.
You have probably seen paths worn into parks and other areas where people and bicycles have crossed repeatedly over the same spot. Artificial turf can similarly wear if there is too much repetitive activity, such as training drills where the participant is running back and forth on the field. Proper planning and scheduling ensures these drills do not always take place in the same area of the dome.
2. Regular Inspections
A worn or uneven playing surface can negatively impact almost any kind of sport, so artificial turf requires regular inspections to maintain the integrity and safety of the playing field. Such close observation of the surface can also detect any potential problems before they reach a point where the users’ enjoyment suffers.
While there is no need to worry about leaves, sticks, or other debris, indoor turf still requires periodic cleaning and grooming to maintain a clean, flat surface free of obstructions. Mother Nature cleanses outdoor fields with rain; indoor surfaces need human attention to deal with things that should not be there. Good old-fashioned soap and water will remove things such as soda and coffee stains, alcohol, chocolate, ice cream, and paint. Cleaning solvents can usually handle any tougher stains that remain.
If chewing gum is ground into the surface, it is not just a matter of removing “grass” — those areas require special attention. Freon aerosol spray will help loosen the gum, which then becomes easy to remove without causing damage.
Unlike its outdoor counterpart, it is important to remove stray organic matter from indoor turf to prevent moss growth.
Artificial grass is shipped in large, heavy rolls that cause the turf to become flattened out. Grooming, in this case, does not involve mowing, but rather going over the surface with a power broom. This helps make the turf look robust and like natural grass. During the course of regular use, the turf can again become flat, requiring occasional extra passes with the broom.
There is also equipment available that adds rakes (for leveling the infill) and rotating tines (for aerating, which loosens the infill), providing the best all-around maintenance routine. The amount of times these operations occur each year varies according to manufacturer recommendation. Using a handheld spring-tine rake on the surface can also help level the infill material.
Grooming that takes place at the start of the season often occurs before the bubble goes up simply because it allows the groundskeepers a bit more room to do their job.
Cleaning is also important for health reasons. While certain microbes decompose without issue on real grass, the same does not occur on artificial turf. Commercial cleaners for this purpose are available, though a bleach mixture can also be just as effective. Apply either of these options using a pressurized spray.
MIDHURST – Love tennis? Never played indoors? Now’s your chance! In celebration of their new state-of-the-art facility, Barrie North Winter Tennis will open its doors to the general public, offering FREE indoor tennis on Oct. 14 and 15.
Simply call the Club at 705-737-2888 for details and to book your court. In lieu of court fees, visitors are welcome to make a voluntary donation in support of Hospice Simcoe.
Barrie North Winter Tennis is pleased to announce that this season’s tennis programs will operate under a brand new dome. The new vinyl-coated polyester membrane comes complete with reflective insulation and will feature 32 indirect hanging LED lights. Members and guests will be treated to the very best indoor tennis experience possible.
The dome is fabricated by The Farley Group, based out of Guelph, Ontario. The Farley Group is the most renowned air structure company in North America, having supplied domes for the Toronto FC Training Ground, the USTA National Tennis Center, and Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports Complex to name a few.
The Role of a General Contractor or Construction Manager in a Dome Project
Wondering why you’ll need a contractor for your dome project?
If you’re in the early stages of planning the construction of a dome, the process is no different from a traditional construction project. Even though domes go up faster and cost less than most structures, they still require careful planning, precise work, and proper permitting, like any real estate development project. For these tasks, an experienced contractor simply cannot be replaced.
When it comes to building a dome, The Farley Group works closely with your local general contractor or construction manager to get the job done as efficiently as possible. These professionals typically oversee all aspects of construction, and often take the lead on the planning and permitting phases as well.
Hiring a general contractor or construction manager, we know from experience, is the best way to accomplish the site work efficiently. Each project involves numerous steps and specialized work. It’s more than most of our customers can take on themselves, especially without prior construction experience. The task of coordinating the various sub-contractors is always best left to an experienced, professional general contractor.
Here are some of the responsibilities of a contractor in the dome construction process:
Approvals and Permitting
Contractors help get the project off the ground. They lend their experience working under your local by-laws and building codes to help you plan the project, sort out zoning issues, and obtain the necessary building permits. Once these issues are dealt with, the site preparation and construction can begin.
Contractors are also needed to coordinate other local professionals that you’ll need for your project, like architects and engineers. Each municipality has their own unique process, and having the right team of professionals will keep your schedule on track during the planning and permitting phase.
Towards the end of construction, these professionals, including your contractor, also coordinate with the local building authority for required inspections and final approvals for occupancy of your facility.
You need more than an empty space to build a dome. Before construction begins, your contractor will handle the excavation and balancing of the building site, along with any site remediation necessary to ensure the land is safe to build on.
Once all permits and approvals are in place, construction on site can begin. Your general contractor or construction manager will oversee all site work, including the concrete grade beam anchoring system for the dome, the sub-base for the interior surface, and the concrete pads for the dome’s entry/exit points and mechanical equipment.
Our domes use complex mechanical systems to maintain a comfortable climate and adequate air pressure inside the structure. Contractors work with skilled subcontractors to ensure safe and reliable electrical service and distribution (including wiring for the dome’s mechanical controls), gas service and plumbing, and the final connections to energize the dome’s mechanical and lighting systems.
Contractors also handle the peripheral infrastructure for sewer and storm water management, and the installation of the parking lot and parking lot lighting. And, of course, if your facility plans also include a clubhouse building, your contractor will oversee its construction as well.
Why Use a General Contractor and/or a Construction Manager?
There’s a lot more to building an air-supported dome than simply putting it in place and inflating it with air. When you look at all the steps involved, it’s clear why we partner with experienced professionals. Constructing a dome, especially with large fieldhouse facilities, is a real development project.
Throughout the process, The Farley Group is here to help along the way. We collaborate with everyone involved in the project to ensure all parties are on the same page to build exactly what you’re looking for.
Why Indoor Tennis Season is the Best Time to Get a New Racquet
As the outdoor tennis season winds to a close, it’s time to move your tennis training indoors. It might also be time to look at getting some new gear. If you need to get a new racquet, now might be the perfect time to do so.
Can’t tell if you need a new racquet, though? Some of the tell-tale signs that it’s time to get a new one are:Why Indoor Tennis Season is the Best Time to Get a New Racquet
Dents and Damage—If your racket bounces off the ground enough times, there might be enough damage to the structural integrity that it might be better to get a new one than wait until it fails during a game.
Falling apart—When pieces start to fall off, it’s likely time to get a new one
Doesn’t feel right—It doesn’t always have to be the racket’s fault. Perhaps your game has changed or you feel you’ve outgrown your racquet. A racquet should match your style and if the one you’re using isn’t up to the task, you should get a new one.
Also keep in mind that your old racquet might just need to be re-strung. A good quality racquet can be restrung a good number of times before you have to move on. A good rule of thumb for how often to restring your racquet is to take the number of times you play per week, and that’s the number of times you should restring in a year. Of course, if you play hard and for long periods of time, you might want to double or even triple that.
Depending on your level of play though, you might be changing racquets every year, and if so here are a few tips to help you choose a racquet.
Get the Right Grip Size
Tennis racquet grips range in size from 4” to 5 5/8”. You probably already have an idea if a thinner or wider grip size feels right for you, but be sure to try out a slightly smaller or larger grip size. You might find a new preference.
Choose the Right Length
The standard racquet is 27” long but if you’re looking to add more power to your swing, you may want to go to a longer racquet. Of course, if you already have a preference, stick to what you know. Some players know the feel of exactly how much power to put in to get the shot they want, changing your racquet could throw this off.
Look for Signs of a Quality Racquet
Racquets come in all different shapes, sizes and materials as no racquet is perfect for everyone. Because of this, it’s hard to just point at a racquet and say, “that’s the best one that you should buy.”
A few signs of a quality racquet that you should look out for are that the racquet is strung with high quality strings, the brand is something you can recognize, and the racquet feels balanced in the hand.
There are plenty of other signs of a poor-quality racquet, but those should be obvious when you pick it up.
What it comes down to at the end of the day is that you should pick a racquet that fits your playing style and works well for you. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing a new racquet for this season of indoor tennis training. If you like your new racquet, you’ll be all set for next summer’s outdoor season!
Rugby is another of those sports that’s wildly popular around the world, except for North America. That’s changing now, of course, as more teams and leagues pop up every year, but many still don’t know very much about the sport.
Besides knowing that air domes make perfect venues for indoor rugby games, we really didn’t know too much about the history of rugby either. So, we did a little digging…
First off, did you know that the sport of rugby is a direct offshoot from soccer (or football as it was known at the time)?
You may have noticed some similarities between the two sports, but you might not have realized how closely the two are actually related. There is some contention of how the two sports split, though.
According to SportsKnowHow.com, when the official rules for soccer were first decided upon back in 1863, a group of clubs and schools gathered to decide on which rules would stay and which would be abandoned.
One club, Blackheath—a notoriously rough club—wanted to include rules to allow running with the ball and hacking at the one carrying it. This wouldn’t fit into the game that the other clubs were trying to create, so Blackheath decided to strike off and create their own sport.
A sport that involved kicking, throwing, tackling, and was simply more rough and tumble than what would become “the beautiful game.” Rugby would go on to become something different, and a rift between the two sports would always remain.
Is this story true? We’re not sure! This is one of those historical stories that was passed down, but not properly recorded. Others have given a different story for the origins of the sport.
An older article from The Guardian tells a different tale. This source states that the sport started much earlier in 1823, according to a commemorative stone at an old rugby school.
The stone says that a student named William Webb Ellis was the first to begin playing rugby when he didn’t want to follow the standard rules of football. It says that “with a fine disregard for the rules of football...first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game."
Now these two origin stories have enough time between them that they could both be true, it’s difficult to say for sure.
As with any sport that stretches back far enough, history gets muddy when trying to pinpoint a person or point in time when it first started.
Sports constantly evolve, and just like biological evolution, the changes are often so gradual that it’s pretty hard to define when one thing becomes another.
One thing we know for sure, though, is that the sport of rugby is just as popular as ever and continues to grow. And being able to move the sport indoors into an air supported structure will help bring the sport to even more North Americans who, due to the colder winters in the Northern parts, tend to spend more time with indoor sports.
If you’ve ever run laps, you’ve probably bemoaned the fact that soccer fields are so large. Luckily, we have air supported domes to create indoor spaces large enough to house a soccer field, but why do they need to be so big? Who decided that a soccer field should be the size of, well, a soccer field?
It might surprise you that soccer actually started out on a much larger scale. Somewhere around the 9th Century in England, the game would span an entire town as everyone would try and kick a pig’s bladder from one landmark to another.
But the modern field as we know it today began to take shape in the late 16th and early 17th centuries when soccer goals were first described.
In 1863, a group of English schools and clubs met up to decide on official rules for the game of soccer (or football as it was known). They published the original 14 laws of the game, one of which standardized the field of play.
In the original laws, the field (or grounds as it was then called) could be up to 100 yards wide and 200 yards long. After that, the modern shape of the soccer pitch took shape, with lines being added in for the boundaries, middle, and penalty box. The modern goal was standardized to 8 feet high and 8 yards long.
Did you know, though, that there isn’t one standard size for a soccer pitch? You’d think that since the first laws were set, someone at some point would have defined a single standard field size, but you’d be wrong.
The FIFA regulations for a soccer field states that there are acceptable ranges for the width and length of the field. The field should be rectangular in shape and be between 100 yards and 130 yards in length (90m to 120m) and 50 to 100 yards in width (45m to 90m). Fields for international matches are a little bit more restrictive and need to be 100 to 110 meters in length and 64 to 75 meters in width.
Interestingly, this means that most soccer fields are wider than standard American or Canadian football fields. An American football field has a standard width of 53 1/3 yards, and Canadian football fields are slightly wider at 65 yards.
So, while a football field does fit within the parameters of a soccer field, a pitch that’s created for soccer would most likely be larger than a football field.
Because two different soccer fields might have different dimensions, it creates an added challenge for dome building. One soccer dome might need to be slightly larger than another soccer dome, simply because the field itself is a little bit larger. It’s a good thing that each dome is custom designed and planned out to make sure that there’s enough room to cover your field, however big it is!
Detroit - The bright white air dome that will house the Detroit Fitness Foundation's multisport complex at I-75 and Mack Avenue in Detroit went up Wednesday. The complex, first announced in January, will be part of the city's planned improvements to Tolan Playfield there.
Winding Down For The Season: How To Keep Active Over The Winter For Soccer Players
As the months get colder, the outdoor soccer season winds down. Not surprisingly, the weather makes it more difficult to play a sport like soccer in the open air. However, serious soccer players know they cannot just stop playing and sit on the couch all winter: they have to stay active in order to keep their performance up when the season resumes. So what can they do? Here are three major ways for soccer players to keep active over the winter:
Walk It Off
Perhaps the simplest all-around fitness tip, regardless of season, is to simply walk everywhere you can. This includes taking the stairs at work and school, walking around the mall (just avoid the food court), and even walking outside when the weather permits.
In terms of walking outside during the winter, you just need the proper outdoor clothing and footwear to combat the cold and snow on the ground. So long as there isn’t a blizzard, it’s still possible to walk many places in the winter. Just try not to slip on any ice.
Outdoor Winter Sports
Even though the summer sports might wind down, there are still a whole host of other winter activities to help you remain active as a soccer player during the off-season. Perhaps the most popular of these is hockey. You can also try skiing, snowboarding, or even snowshoeing, if the conditions permit it.
Even though these sports are not the same as soccer, they still help players maintain their physical ability and condition other muscles, which means a smooth transition back to playing soccer.
You can maintain a good level of physicality indoors, whether you go to a local gym or watch workout DVDs within the comfort of your own home. Some basic things, such as running on a treadmill, are also perfect activities for soccer players to remain active during the winter, particularly because a soccer player needs to maintain their cardio fitness.
Apart from treadmill exercise, most other forms of indoor training would work well for soccer players, particularly those involving a high level of hand-eye coordination.
Play in a Dome
Of course, just because you cannot play soccer outdoors on a nice, grassy field during the winter does not mean you need to stop! You can easily stay active during the winter by playing soccer in an air-supported structure. Domes make ideal spaces in which people can play during any season or weather, since they can protect you from both the harsh temperatures of winter and the blowing snow it often brings. This means that you can focus on the game (or practice) instead of the conditions surrounding you. Air-supported structures also boast quality playing surfaces that will always be well-maintained. Keep up your skills as a soccer player during the winter by doing the best thing: playing soccer!
Tennis is both a wonderful sport and an excellent way to stay in shape, though it can be a bit of a challenge in Canada.
Let’s face it, you can only comfortably play tennis outdoors for about half of the year. This may not even be the case from coast to coast. Fortunately, indoor tennis in air-supported domes makes the harsh conditions of fall and winter an afterthought when it comes to playing tennis. The only potential trouble you have now is negotiating a few snow-covered roads in your car on the way to the game.
Regardless, we suspect there might still be a few sceptics out there who feel indoor tennis is a compromise that does not present this time-honoured game in its truest form. This is a myth! Here are seven more indoor tennis myths that also deserve immediate debunking.
1. It’s Stuffy and Uncomfortable to Play Inside a Dome
The great outdoors means fresh air, a nice breeze, and ideal playing conditions, right? Not necessarily. In fact, your wonderful afternoon on the courts could easily fall apart thanks to high humidity, blinding sun, troubling wind gusts, and unexpected rain.
Domes are completely climate controlled and offer optimal, predictable comfort 365 days a year. It will be just as nice to play in a dome on January 1st as it is on July 1st.
2. Playing Indoors Causes Major Changes in Your Game
For the vast majority of players, this will not be the case. The only point of interest here is that domes will offer a cooler playing temperature during the warmer months than outdoor play. This can cause balls to bounce slower indoors, but most any player can quickly adjust their game accordingly to accommodate this difference.
3. There Isn’t Sufficient Lighting to Play Properly
Domes are huge; how can they have enough lighting to keep the courts properly illuminated? Well, they can and do thanks to the miracle of dome LED lighting systems, which are bright, dependable, and use less energy than older forms.
4. It’s Too Cramped Inside a Dome
This is not the case. Careful planning allows domes to make maximum use of the available space. This ensures sufficient room for the tennis courts and any other activities housed inside.
5. The Dome Ceiling Will Limit My Game
Unless your game strategy involves hitting the ball dozens of feet in the air and having it rain down on your opponents, a dome’s ceiling height will not come close to being a factor.
6. You Can’t Play a Round Robin Inside a Dome
See #4. A carefully organized Round Robin can occur either outside or indoors. Planners simply figure out the space they have available, decide on how many players can participate, and schedule the matches accordingly. Playing inside or outside does not factor into it.
7. You Can’t Find Partners to Play During the Winter
We may not know where you play, but a lack of players has not been our experience. In fact, once a dome opens in an area and announces they have tennis courts, people are often scrambling to book court time. This is especially true when it is no longer comfortable to use the outdoor courts.
How Long Does It Take to Build a Dome? The Timeline for Constructing an Air-Supported Structure
Thinking about a dome but not sure on the timing? While domes are not necessarily permanent structures and are quicker to construct than other building types, you can’t simply decide on a whim to put one up just anywhere.
Domes require significant site preparation and infrastructure and are subject to applicable building codes and permitting, as laid out by your local building authorities. The construction process might be quicker overall, but the planning and approvals can take just as long.
1. The Approvals Process
The approvals process can take several months, and possibly even a year, before your general contractor can begin site work and The Farley Group can begin fabricating your dome. It typically involves receiving site plan approval, sorting out any zoning issues (including any necessary variances), and the application and issuing of building permits.
For best results, we collaborate with your local team of professionals that know the area and its requirements. This is a proven way of speeding up the process and cutting through red tape.
Site construction typically begins in late spring or early summer for the project to be completed by the fall, so it is a good idea to start the approvals process as early as 12 months before.
2. Site Preparation
Just as with any kind of building, the site chosen for the dome almost always undergoes some initial preparation. This typically involves clearing of any debris, removal of old structures or foliage, and balancing of the land. Environmental remediation may also be required before new construction can begin. The site preparation process can be short or involved, depending upon the amount of work and the degree of difficulty. Of course, if your dome is going to be constructed over an existing field, bank of tennis courts, or a pool, then this phase of the project will be minimal.
3. Site Construction
Before we can erect the dome, it is necessary to lay the required groundwork. All site construction is contracted locally with a general contractor or construction manager and is performed by their sub-contractors. Most important here is the construction of the concrete grade beam, which is the anchoring system for the air-supported structure, along with concrete pads for peripheral components like entrances/exits, and the dome’s mechanical equipment.
This phase of the project also includes excavation and the preparation of the sub-base for the dome’s interior surface, plus installation of the electrical/gas infrastructure. The timeline here can vary from 4-6 weeks for smaller dome projects and up to 3 or 4 months for larger ones. Delays in this stage usually result from the installation/commission of utility services by the utility companies.
It is common for dome projects to simultaneously have the entrance/clubhouse building under construction. It is also during this stage that other site improvements occur. These can include adding sewer/storm water management infrastructure, creation of the parking lot and laneway, and installation of lighting for those areas.
4. The Interior Surface
Depending on the phasing of the project, completion of the interior surface could occur before or after installation of the dome. That interior surface can take 1-4 weeks, depending on the type of surface and size of the dome.
5. Installation of the Dome Package
Installation can occur following completion of work on the site. This installation process takes anywhere from just a few days for very small domes to a few weeks for large ones. The dome itself arrives to the site in sections that are rolled up into large bundles for shipping. These bundles are then strategically placed so they can be unrolled, spread out, and connected to one another and to the grade beam anchoring system around the whole perimeter of the dome’s footprint.
Once the dome is secured in place, it’s just a matter of inflation. Filling the dome with air and watching it rise is one of the most exciting parts and usually gathers a decent crowd because you can blink and miss it! The powerful inflation system can fill the dome from flat to full in just a few short hours.
After the dome is inflated and stabilized, the entry and exit components are installed and connected, along with the interior lighting system, the dome’s insulation material, and any other finishing touches that are required.
The facility must then pass final inspections before your building authority grants an occupancy permit. This will include not only the dome itself, but also the entrance building (if applicable) and any other aspects of the project that relate to the safety of the facility.
Overall, the typical dome construction timeline spans several months from breaking ground to being ready for public use. So, if you’re doing the math, you can see why it’s important to start planning early. While a dome can go up relatively quickly, there’s plenty of room for delays. Because building a dome is a team effort, a slowdown in one aspect of the project can bring the whole process to a standstill. This is where planning and experience make the difference as to whether a dome is ready or not for the season!