No soccer field? No problem. You don’t have to stop training just because the pitch is closed. These soccer drills can be practiced almost anywhere: in a gymnasium, garage, backyard, park, or air-supported structure.
1. Wall Ball
What You Need:
Solid wall or tall fence
Wall ball is one of the simplest solo soccer drills. All you need to do is stand a few feet from the wall and kick the ball towards it, using the return to train passing, kicking, or receiving skills. Stand closer to the wall to practice receiving and further away to practice kicks. For precision, aim your shots towards a marker on the wall.
Two or more players can run the drill at once by taking turns kicking the ball. You can give the drill a competitive edge by applying squash rules and keeping score.
Avoid using a wall with gaps or windows — that’s just asking for trouble. A solid fence can work in place of a wall, but a chain-link fence can damage the ball.
2. Triangle Drill
What You Need:
3 pylons or other markers
At least 10’ x 10’ of space
One of the earliest drills new players learn is the triangle drill, which develops skill in dribbling and moving the ball in close quarters. All you need to do is form a triangle with three pylons about five feet apart, then dribble the ball between them.
There are many variations on this easy soccer drill, including the V-pattern.
3. Mirror Drill
What You Need:
2-3 pylons or other markers
At least 12’ x 12’ of space
Mirror drills are applicable to a variety team sports, including soccer, American football, and rugby. This high-intensity exercise helps players refine reflexes and develop explosive lateral moves.
Two players stand face-to-face between two pylons (often with a third pylon marking the middle). When the drill begins, the leading player tries to reach one of the pylons alone; the other player’s goal is to reach one at the same moment by mirroring the leading player’s movements.
The leader feints from left to right, attempting to outrun their doppelganger, while the mirror player reacts as quickly as they can. Both players train their lateral movement and get an intense cardio workout.
4. Box Drill
What You Need:
4 pylons or other markers
At least 12’ x 12’ of space
Lacking a wall, ball, and players to train with? You can still practice multi-directional movement.
Place four pylons five to ten feet apart to form a square. Stand at one pylon and sprint forward to the next; shuffle sideways to the third; backpedal to pylon number four; and finally shuffle back to the starting pylon. Repeat.
The box drill is a way to improve your speed in all directions when there’s not enough space or players for a practice game in a field or air-supported structure. Keeping hips low helps to strengthen the core and upper glutes at the same time.
While not as intense as other soccer drills, these basic movements help to develop and reinforce muscle memory that gives players an edge in tight situations. Taps and rolls are also a great warm-up to the other drills on this list.
Soccer is an incredibly demanding sport which requires players to be in tip-top shape for optimal performance. Great soccer players do more than just train by playing one game, though. Other sports can help soccer players become better by helping to focus their skill development.
Because soccer demands so much and is so multi-faceted, narrowing down the skills you want to develop and then finding other sports or activities that hone them can really improve your performance on the soccer field!
Here are a few sports that soccer players should try out.
We talked about how much tennis players can get out of playing soccer in this article, but it also works in the opposite direction.
Soccer players can practice changing directions quickly and anticipating the movement of the ball. No, you’re not using your feet to move the ball across the court, but the sport can still improve your ability to track the ball and anticipate trajectories.
Also, reading your opponent is a big part of tennis. In soccer, you only really get to do that in a penalty kick situation. Staring down your opponent and anticipating their reaction is something you do all the time in tennis.
Basketball is one of the largest North American sports, so much so that it’s unlikely that you’ll see a school gym or park without a basketball court. But while the sport may look very different from soccer, some shared principles could, with practice, really improve your soccer skills.
A large part of basketball is simply moving the ball down the court. This requires fancy footwork, slick moves, and most importantly, passing. Even though you pass with your hands and not your feet, it’s the same idea. You want to look for your opening, react to it quickly, and outsmart your opponent—just like playing soccer.
Volleyball is a fast-paced game with a much smaller play area than soccer, but it can still work on key parts of your soccer game.
Much of volleyball is spent in the air, jumping up as high as possible to block or reach high-flying balls. Jumping and diving for the ball can help you drill down on your vertical game if you find yourself being beaten out at the net reaching for those corner kicks.
And playing beach volleyball is great for the legs—the sand is perfect for resistance training!
Swimming might not directly help with your soccer skills, but it is an excellent activity for developing strength and endurance.
The resistance provided by the water can work your muscles to the limit faster and more effectively than on land. Swimming will improve your overall strength to help add power to your kicks, speed to your sprints, and stamina to those long run-downs.
If none of the sports above is your cup of tea, any sport you choose could have some component that is useful for soccer. It’s just such a physically demanding sport that whatever skill you decide to focus on can make a significant impact on your level of play.
The takeaway is not to pigeon-hole yourself to only playing one sport. Being well-rounded is important in sports as well as life!
If you’re looking to boost your tennis game, it might be worth looking at another sport played in a dome: soccer! Tennis and soccer might seem like two completely different sports, but like many sports, playing soccer builds transferrable skills that could push your tennis skills to the next level.
It’s long been known that multidisciplinary athletes tend to do well in any sport they try. Just look at an athlete like Bo Jackson (who you can learn more about in this blog and this one, where we talk about him and his Elite Sports Dome projects) that not only played at the top level of both football and baseball, but was actually named an all-star in both sports.
So how can soccer help your tennis game? Here are just a few ways:
Improves Your Footwork
It’s no surprise that soccer requires heavy use of your feet, but the fancy foot skills you learn on the soccer pitch could translate quickly to the court.
Soccer requires you to change directions quickly while running, make unique foot movements to control and kick the ball, and power up and power down leg muscles as they’re needed. All these skills and exercises can help on the court to get to the ball quickly, change directions on a whim, and quickly improvise with fast feet on-the-fly.
Boosts Your Fitness and Cardio
For most players on the soccer field, you’re in constant movement. It’s estimated that at the pro-level, a midfielder might run 7 miles in a game. Now the amount of running you do in tennis is very much decided by your play style, but if you’re looking to get a more high-energy style going, soccer could help to increase your stamina.
Many players don’t even realize the amount of running they do because of the quick pace of soccer. Being a timed sport with no stopping of the clock, the game is go-go-go, and you won’t realize how much training you just squeezed in until the game has ended. Or maybe not even until the next day when you realize how sore your legs are…
Helps Learning to Anticipate
Most sports, especially at the top level, require just as much strategy as skill. Soccer might look like a bunch of runners chasing a ball, but the strategy of soccer is much deeper. Running around the pitch is a sure way to burn yourself out quickly, so a good soccer player needs to be able to look where the ball is going, analyze other players and teammates, and react quickly to any situation.
With the possible exception of having a teammate (unless playing doubles), all these skills are invaluable when you have a racket in your hands.
Being able to think five steps ahead of your opponent will help you keep your cool, better conserve your energy, and make your explosive attacks all the more effective.
So if you’re looking for another sport to play that will help you to improve your tennis skills, look no further than soccer. And if you happen to play tennis in a multisport air supported structure, you might not need to travel any further than your dome to jump into a game.
Soccer, more commonly known the world over as football, is one the most popular sports in Canada. There are over 1 million people involved in the game up north, with over 820,000 registered players.
But to date, Canada’s Men’s National Soccer team has only ever qualified for one World Cup. That was 32 years ago back in 1986.
So, why hasn’t Canada’s team seen more international success?
One reason is this: most countries have their own domestic soccer league. England has the Premier League; Germany, the Bundesliga. Spain has La Liga, Netherlands the Eredivisie, Mexico Liga MX. You get the idea.
Canada has three teams competing in Major League Soccer, but since MLS is America’s own domestic league, it can be difficult for aspiring Canadian players to get ample 1st team playing time.
That is part of what makes the forthcoming Canadian Premier League so exciting for Canadian soccer fans.
Introducing the Canadian Premier League (CPL)
The Canadian Premier League (also referred to as the CPL or CanPL) was approved and announced on May 6, 2017. The CPL is Canada’s very own national domestic soccer league, and Canada’s only professional coast-to-coast league.
Paul Beirne will be the President of the CPL. Mr. Beirne previously worked with Toronto FC, where he was heralded for his fan engagement. He was also head of commercial development for the English Premier League team Brighton Hove and Albion.
So far, Hamilton and Winnipeg are confirmed franchises. Halifax, Ottawa, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Moncton, Victoria, Quebec City, Mississauga, Fraser Valley, Kitchener-Waterloo, and York Region (Toronto) have been mentioned as possible locations for inaugural or future CPL clubs. The league expects to field 8-10 franchises by opening day.
One of his goals for the league is to help develop a professional soccer industry in Canada.
To help achieve that goal, the formation of Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) was also recently announced. CSB is a sports entity representing commercial assets for the Canadian Premier League and the Canadian Soccer Association.
The Hamilton Ticats executive calls the CSB a linchpin to legitimizing what the CPL is trying to do: develop a Canadian game that’s nowhere near reaching its ceiling.
This could produce an explosion of investor funding not just for the upstart league, but Canada’s national teams, both of which have room to grow into global entities.
With the CPL, more Canadians will have a clearer path to playing professionally. It will also cultivate a new generation of officials, coaches, referees and business for Canadian soccer.
Excitement for the CPL
The formation of the CPL is truly a grassroots effort that involved a lot of people in the Canadian soccer landscape. To get an idea of what it means to some soccer supporters in Canada, watch this video.
Supporters groups are already popping up across Canada in anticipation of the launch.
Stadiums for teams in the league will be a mixture of new builds and existing CFL venues. Hamilton, for example, will play at Tim Hortons Field, the home of the Tiger-Cats.
Getting excited about the CPL? Check out their newly redesigned website where fans can learn about details of the league, its teams, matches, and ticket information as they are announced. The CPL also just revealed their new league identity with a great new logo.
Ever wonder what holds a dome down to the ground? It’s a common question, and one that people often ask once they see the massive size of domes. A large soccer or multi-sport dome can be hundreds of feet long and several storeys high, so the force of the wind as well as the upwards force of the air inside is considerable.
The last thing anyone wants is to lose their dome, so it’s important to make sure a dome is securely fastened to the ground.
The Concrete Grade Beam
Like any large structure, a dome needs a firm foundation that is engineered to withstand the stressors acting on it and built to ensure what’s built (or attached to it) will stand securely. In the case of an air structure, this foundation is made up of a concrete grade beam.
Before a dome goes up, a concrete grade beam needs to be poured around the circumference of the entire dome site. Concrete gives the strength and stability to make sure that nothing will move once the dome is in place.
The process is quite like the pouring of a foundation for many other types of construction. The only difference is that the foundation is only required around the perimeter of the dome. Farley recommends that experienced foundation builders pour the grade beam foundation. We can provide the dimensions and specifics, but nobody knows concrete and foundations better than those who specialize in the field.
The Aluminum Profile
The next important component of a dome’s foundation is the aluminum profile. This is what attaches the dome fabric to the concrete grade beam.
During the construction of the foundation, an aluminium profile is installed directly to the grade beam before the concrete hardens. This aluminum profile, once the concrete has set, will then serve as the anchoring point for the dome around the entire circumference.
When the dome is ready to go up, the fabric is spread out and attached to the grade beam via the aluminum profile. Once secured, the dome can be inflated and every point along the foundation is inspected. Once given the OK, everyone can rest assured that the dome won’t be going anywhere!
While domes are considered a temporary or semi-permanent structure, the foundation is permanent. Many domes are seasonal, going up in the fall and coming down in the spring. The grade beam foundation, however, stays there year-round. And having the foundation built properly and securely makes it much easier to install and remove a dome depending on the season. Dome foundations are built to last!
Are you curious just how strong the foundation needs to be? While the force of the wind can be considerable, it’s not the only thing trying to lift a dome off its foundation. Check out our blog on the upwards force of the warmed air inside of a dome!
Redeemer University in Hamilton, Ontario named their soccer dome fundraising efforts, “The Field for All Seasons Campaign.” They partnered with Ron Foxcroft, a local community leader and founder and CEO of Fox 40 International. Ron Foxcroft invented the Fox 40 pealess whistle, used officially by just about every recognized sports league there is. His involvement brought immediate clout to the project and got their fundraising off to a roaring start.
The project’s cost was also offset by provincial and federal grants totalling $2.6 million. The city of Ancaster got involved by unanimously approving a $1 million interest-free loan to the school.
The Kelowna United FC headed a similar partnership with the Central Okanagan School District, which wanted to add a second dome facility to share with other sports organizations in the community. The provincial government chipped in with a $350,000 grant to help fund the joint venture.
Sell the Naming Rights to Your Dome
Big-money sports franchises often sell the naming rights to their arenas and stadiums. This has been happening since 1912 when the stadium owner for the Boston Red Sox also owned a company called “Fenway Reality.” Later, in 1926, chewing gum mogul William Wrigley named the Cubs stadium “Wrigley Field.”
While some bemoan stadium naming sponsorship, it can be a great way to help fundraise your dome!
The Chicago Fire MLS club partnered with The Private Bank for naming rights to their new dome, which features two regulation-sized soccer fields. In addition to the Chicago Fire Juniors team, the dome will be used locally by more than 250,000 people each year.
Get Corporations, Local Businesses and Individuals Involved
With the explosive growth of soccer in North America, more and more corporations are wanting to get involved in this form of sponsorship.
As you read in the above examples, pro sports teams (especially growing pro soccer franchises in North America) are great partners in soccer dome fundraising.
It doesn’t always have to be in the form of major sponsorship, either. For The Field for All Seasons Campaign (still catchy, isn’t it?) MLS Club Toronto FC donated a Jersey signed by each member of their roster. The jersey was put up for auction, which got many individuals excited and involved to donate to the project.
There are many creative ways to fundraise for your dome project. From collaborating with various levels of government, corporations, and local businesses to public and private individuals, pro sports and local sports clubs, there are many ways to get your dome off the ground!
What happens when you mix tennis, volleyball, and badminton?
Turns out you get the fastest-growing sport in the country.
The name of the game is pickleball. To answer the inevitable question, the colourful name comes from the notion of a pickle boat. Just as a pickle boat crew is composed of leftover oarsmen from other boats, pickle ball borrows bits and pieces from other net sports to form something totally new.
Intrigued? Here’s why this fast-paced sport is growing even faster.
What is Pickleball, Anyhow?
One hand grips a paddle; the other a bright, yellow ball. Your opponent stands opposite on the far side of the net. The thwack of your underhand serve sends the ball hurtling over the net and across the 44’-long court.
If it bounces twice within boundaries, the play ends, and you earn a point. If your rival retaliates, it’s game-on!
That’s the essence of pickleball. Opposing players (either individuals or partners) volley a ball back and forth over the net using paddles. The paddle resembles an oversized ping pong paddle. The ball is about the size of a wiffle ball, but heavier, and with round rather than oblong holes.
Pickleball originates in the northwestern United States. The game earned a following in Canada after sports-loving snowbirds brought it home in the 1960s. Now, pickleball boasts an estimated 60,000 players in Canada and over 200,000 south of the border.
Why is pickleball so popular? Because it’s easy to learn, fun to play, and surprisingly competitive. But what sets pickleball apart from other net sports is that it’s accessible.
Pickleball is known as a sport for everyone. It does demand quick reflexes, but pickleball is far less strenuous than volleyball. The playing field is smaller than a tennis court, and the net is lower than that of badminton. These qualities make pickleball accessible to people of all ages, including those who are on the better side of 65.
What Are the Rules of Pickleball?
Though it’s often considered a casual sport, pickleball does have rules and standards. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) is Pickleball’s lawmaker; Pickleball Canada publishes the rules for Canadian audiences.
We won’t go down the whole list, but for starters, you should know about two of the most important rules: the two-bounce rule and the non-volley zone.
The two-bounce rule means both sides must let the ball bounce in their end of the court at least once before returning it. But once the ball has bounced on each side of the court, it’s open season, and players can smash the ball down on their opponent mid-air.
However, there’s a caveat: the 7x20’ rectangle on either side of the net is the non-volley zone. Hitting the ball while inside this boundary is a fault in pickleball. However, players can step into the zone to make a groundstroke (after the ball has bounced.)
These rules are meant to give the game a more measured pace. Pickleball isn’t as aggressive as tennis or as physically taxing as volleyball. But don’t be fooled: it can be just as competitive!
So, How Do I Get Started?
Today, Pickleball is more popular than ever. Cities across Canada are beginning to build pickleball courts, especially in areas with a high population of seniors. You may be surprised to find a pickleball league in your own backyard.
Can’t find a local pickleball court? It is possible to convert tennis courts to pickleball courts. Badminton courts, which are the same size as pickleball courts, are another option.
And, like tennis and badminton, pickleball can easily become an all-season sport with the help of an air dome. If the trend continues, it may not be long before we build Canada’s first-ever speciality pickleball dome!
Tennis Evolution: How Rule Changes May Help the Sport Remain Relevant
It is not at all uncommon for sports to evolve over time. Sometimes this happens to accommodate changes in technology, requests from players and owners, or a need to deliver what the public now wants from a sport. The latter reason is behind some proposed tennis rule changes announced recently.
The longest professional tennis match took place in 2010. John Isner and Nicholas Mahut battled it out over the course of three days before the former finally triumphed. In all, the contest lasted a staggering 11 hours and 5 minutes.
However, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the actual tennis playing accounted for less than two hours of that time.
With attention spans shortening and so many entertainment options available, there is concern that both current and potential viewers may not watch professional tennis as we know it. The proposed solution? Speed things up.
Association of Tennis Professionals President Chris Kermode feels these suggested changes are, "not only about the next generation of players, but also about the next generation of fans."
"We will be sure to safeguard the integrity of our product when assessing if any changes should eventually be carried forward onto regular ATP World Tour events in the future," he says.
Here are the proposed rule alterations:
The number of seeds would drop from 32 to 16. The idea here is to make the early matches more exciting due to the higher caliber of players. Viewers would become hooked from the beginning and then keep watching right through the championship.
First to six game sets would drop to first to four, with a tiebreaker resolving a 3-3 deadlock. Also, a sudden death deuce point (allowing the receiver to choose their court side) would replace so-called advantage scoring. Sets would be best of five.
Reduced Starting Time
Once the second player steps onto the court, the match must begin in five minutes, down from the previous ten.
Already tested at the U.S. Open qualifying and the Next Gen ATP Finals, this would ensure players adhere to the 25-second rule between serves. The clock would also time the warm-up, set breaks, and medical timeouts.
A no-let rule for serving.
Player and Coach Communication
While communication would still be possible between players and coaches at certain points during the match, the latter could no longer step onto the court.
Electronic Line Calling
There would be only the chair umpire on the court. An electronic line calling system would signal unsuccessful serves and when the ball is out, replacing its human equivalent.
Increased Spectator Freedom
Elimination of the rule restricting spectators from coming or going during a match.
Kermode stated that these alterations should not alienate the current fanbase. A shorter format and faster pace may well stop people from changing channels, but that remains to be seen. If these come to pass, it will certainly be interesting to gauge player reactions, particularly veterans who made their reputations via the traditional form of play.
Changing demographics are also clearly a factor. As the veterans who reliably drew viewers enter retirement, executives hope to attract a younger demographic to the sport. The thinking is that a swifter game, and not just exciting personalities, is key to making that change.
Indoor sport facilities, whether they be air supported or brick and mortar, all have one thing in common: artificial turf.
Grass doesn’t grow inside—unless you have a very sophisticated setup—so artificial grass is the closest you can get.
Turf technology, though, has come a long way to reproducing the actual feel of real grass, so much so that many outdoor fields have opted for artificial over real grass.
But there are still differences between artificial turf and the real thing, so you’ll need to consider these before kitting yourself up for the winter indoor season. Traditional soccer cleats can do damage and without a surface that grows and repairs itself, this is an issue for any indoor sport field maintenance crew.
The shoes you wear on turf need to be gentle on the surface, but still give you the support and balance needed to compete, so here are some tips on picking out the best shoes to play your indoor sport.
1. Buy Actual Turf Shoes
This tip is pretty obvious, but a lot of players still think that their regular sneakers will do just fine on artificial turf. The reality is that actual turf shoes are designed to give you the most grip and manoeuverability on artificial turf surfaces.
Outdoor cleats shouldn’t be worn (and are likely not allowed) on artificial turf as the aggressive spikes can create holes or tears in the turf which then need to be repaired.
Turf shoes will typically have short rubber spikes, instead of cleat spikes, that are grouped closer together. These will bite into the surface and give you the traction you need, without damaging the turf.
Try out a few pairs before buying though, as too much grip can be a bad thing as well. A small amount of slide isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and depending on the sport, you might want to be able to slide around. Like for slide tackling the ball in soccer.
3. Proper fit
As with any shoe, making sure it fits properly is important for comfort and function. Make sure they fit right when you buy them and keep in mind that you won’t need to use thicker socks to keep your feet warm. Playing inside means the temperature won’t be an issue when deciding which footwear to buy and you won’t need to consider any added insulation.
4. Avoid wearing them Outside (If You Can)
While turf shoes might also work well on grass, you may want to avoid wearing them on other hard outdoor surfaces.
Being mostly rubber, you’ll likely wear out the small rubber spikes faster, making them not work as well when you’re back playing on turf.
If you’re going to be playing sports indoors this winter, don’t forget to use the proper gear. Especially if you’re competitive and want to gain an edge, having the proper shoes just might do it.
Indoor sports fields and artificial turf are a great option for playing sports during the winter, but unless you have the right equipment, you might not enjoy the experience as well as you could!
Early in the decision to build an air dome, a common question is, “Is this a good spot for a dome?” Odds are that, yes, you can build an air dome there, and yes, we’ve most likely already done it before.
Whether it be a lone bubble in the middle of an empty field, or a dome squeezed into the heart of a city, domes are remarkably adaptable. Because of the simplicity of the design, it’s actually a lot easier to get a dome into some places than to build something out of steel and bricks.
Dome in the Suburbs
Air supported structures are appealing when you’re looking to build something big. And the best place to build something big is where you have a lot of space. The problem though, is that building something large like an indoor sports complex, can be a challenge.
Big buildings typically need lots of materials, lots of time, and lots of money. This isn’t true for an air supported structure, though. Domes don’t need near as many materials to build. After the foundation is built, the fabric for an air dome takes up very little room at all. This makes them ideal for transporting long distances.
Dome in the City
Modern cities are so jam-packed that it’s hard to fit in anything new, especially when it’s something as big as an air dome. That doesn’t mean we haven’t done it, though.
Air domes work remarkably well in areas that you typically wouldn’t be able to use for very much else. For example, cities need a lot of space for the number of people that flock to them at specific times of year, so why not use that space for a temporary structure when the space isn’t needed?
Parks and sports fields in cities get plenty of use in the summer, but usually those spaces remain unused for the winter. Seasonal domes in cities make perfect sense to make use of precious space throughout the year.
The Farley Group have also squeezed domes into unique spaces that wouldn’t otherwise be used for very much. For example, on top of buildings or under bridges.
New York is one of the biggest cities in the world, so when looking for places to build indoor sport facilities, Farley air domes fit right in. We have completed rooftop installations and even a dome that sits under the Queensboro Bridge, the Roosevelt Island Racquet club.
By thinking outside the box, air supported structures can bring indoor sport to even the most crowded of spaces. And being a non-permanent structure, it leaves flexibility for any reason that you might need.
Still not sure if an air dome can work for you? Have a look through some of the other domes we’ve completed over the years, or better yet, contact us today to find out if we can provide a solution that you might not have ever thought of!