Here in the Northern Hemisphere, winter sports like skiing and ice hockey are just as beloved as field sports. But not everyone is eager to switch out the cleats for snowshoes come fall. Good news: there are plenty of awesome summer sports you probably didn’t know you could play in the winter!
1. Beach Volleyball
Who says you need a beach to play beach volleyball? Although the game may have originated as a summer pastime, it has evolved into a sanctioned Olympic sport practiced by serious athletes.
There are now indoor beach volleyball facilities (sand and all) built for year-round play. Sports domes like the Volleydome in Calgary boast courts for traditional indoor volleyball and the two-on-two beach game.
Of course, the game changes quite a bit when the green turns to white, and not necessarily for the better. The ball skips and glides across the snowy pitch with ease but is much harder to keep in control. The low-friction playing surface also puts players at risk of injury.
Playing soccer outdoors in the cold isn’t ideal unless the season runs long or winter comes early. Fortunately, there’s an alternative: the soccer dome.
Just be sure to dress for the weather with a moisture-wicking base layer and lots of insulating layers on top.
Believe it or not, there are lots of ways to experience the joys of cycling in the winter.
If you’re brave enough to venture outdoors, it’s possible to outfit your regular commuter bicycle to tackle the slippery roads ahead. However, it does require some extra maintenance; MEC recommends that you wipe down the chain after every ride, apply lube to the chain at least three times a month, and spray aerosol lube on all the moving parts once another.
For cyclists who prefer to stay warm, there’s track cycling, a lesser-known Olympic event that provides an incredible workout and a great show for spectators. Thanks to air-supported structures like the Team USA Velodrome, you can pick up this sport at any time of year.
5. Ultimate Frisbee
It might not have made the Olympics yet, but Ultimate Frisbee has been soaring in popularity ever since its inception in the 1960s. It’s become a favourite of college students and rec leagues around North America.
Trouble is, it’s not easy to catch and throw a plastic disc with mittens on.
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Canada. With benefits such as increased aerobic capacity, muscle tone, flexibility and endurance, it’s a great sport for children and adults alike.
Because year-round leagues are becoming popular, more and more teams are training in subzero temperatures. However, there are risks involved with playing soccer in cold weather, so it’s important to keep players safe, warm and comfortable.
The influence of cold weather can have a substantial impact on overall health and safety during practices and games.
However, with proper precautions, players can avoid succumbing to cold-weather illness or injury.
If the field is not covered by a soccer dome, wind chill is an important factor to consider.
The wind chill temperature is how cold it feels outdoors. Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin cause by wind and cold. Thus, the wind makes it feel much colder and poses a more serious risk to playing outdoors.
A gust of wind can be enough to infiltrate your clothing and remove the insulating layer of warmth that surrounds your body. The risk of frostbite increases as wind chill falls. It only takes up to 30 minutes to be exposed to frost bite if the wind chill drops below -7 degrees Celsius.
Dressing for Cold Temperatures
When outdoor temperatures drop, the body loses heat more rapidly than usual. It’s important to dress appropriately when playing in cold weather. Layering clothing can be effective, as long as layers are removed to avoid overheating. Dress so that you start off warm and remove articles of clothing as needed.
Start with a base layer made of polypropylene. It’s vital to avoid sweating before playing outdoors since your body will cool quickly. Polypropylene is a moisture-wicking fabric that does not absorb sweat.
Next, cover your first layer with a good insulating fabric such as microfleece or thermal. A mock turtleneck is a great option as well.
The outer layer should protect your extremities.
Ensure that feet, head, ears, hands, eyes and skin are protected before braving the elements. Wear additional clothing such as hats, headbands, gloves, sweatshirts and sweatpants.
It’s also a good idea to pack sunglasses and apply sunscreen before heading out.
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.
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!
If you want to play soccer during the winter, you’re forced to play it indoors. Or are you? While indoor soccer is the best way to play a traditional game of soccer, a little bit of outdoor winter soccer is a fun way to mix up the game.
Now don’t get us wrong, as a company that specializes in creating indoor sport facilities that are perfect for soccer, we’re not saying playing outside in the snow is a good replacement. After all, the cold can be uncomfortable, not to mention the risk for slipping or hurting yourself. No, winter soccer probably isn’t the way to enjoy a traditional game, but if you’re looking for a fun way to cool down after a practice, or have a few minutes to kill before you can get inside, here are 5 tips to getting a game of winter soccer going.
Wear Your Cleats
Snow is slippery! Keep your soccer cleats on to be able to dig in and avoid slip sliding around the pitch. Soccer cleats don’t provide much insulation, though, so be aware of your toes and don’t let them get too cold!
Don’t Use a White Ball
While a white ball is great for visibility on a green field, it’ll get lost pretty quickly amongst white snow. Couple this with how reflective snow is in the sun, and you’ll have a hard time picking out the ball.
A dark coloured ball will be that much more visible to help you avoid taking an accidental header during the match.
Play on a Smaller Field
You won’t be able to build up as much speed or put as much power into your kicks, so it’s probably a good idea to reduce the size of your playing area. Half or even a quarter of a pitch is likely to be enough for a short fast paced game of snow soccer!
Limit your time Playing
Doing anything outside in sub-zero temperatures can be dangerous. Running around and getting sweaty can be especially dangerous as the sweat will make your body cool down too quickly, putting you into a danger zone for hypothermia.
To avoid this, set a short playing time that makes sense for the temperature. If it’s really cold, a 5-minute game might be all that is safe.
Know when to Move Indoors
As noted in the previous point, you’re likely going to get pretty warm fairly quickly. This means you’ll be feeling good and having fun, but always be ready to move the game back inside. While you might feel nice and warm, your extremities might be getting cold without you realizing. Frost bite in your fingers or toes are a very real danger so be ready to get back inside quickly.
Any tingling or loss of feeling is a warning sign to move that soccer game back indoors so be ready to duck back into that soccer dome!
While playing in a heated, indoor soccer facility might be the best way to play soccer in the winter, a short game in the snow can be fun as well. The thing to remember is to be careful and be outdoors in moderation. And always be ready to bring that game back into your soccer dome!
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!
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!