At the highest levels of sport, athletes and trainers consider every factor that might have an effect on training and performance. Some training decisions ground themselves in strong science, some are based on anecdotal experience, and others are simply superstition. So is training indoors (perhaps in an air dome) as good as training outdoors?
Training to the Extreme
Athletes, especially at the elite levels, go to extreme lengths to reach maximum performance.
Training at higher altitudes has scientifically shown to increase the production of oxygen carrying red blood cells. The lower density of oxygen forces the body to compensate to make the most of what little oxygen there is. When the athletes go to compete, they have an advantage because their blood is able to carry more oxygen to working muscles.
Some soccer players choose to not wash the socks they train in, believing fresh socks will hurt their performance. In these players minds, the dirty socks are helping them to play better.
How about training inside as opposed to on an outdoor field? Is there a measurable difference if an athlete decides to solely train outside? Or is it like a superstitious soccer player's smelly socks?
Training in a Dome?
Is dome training an effective alternative for soccer or tennis training? Possibly, but the difference between indoor and outdoor might be moot since both have their own strengths.
Let's get the obvious benefits out of the way. Training indoors allows athletes to train in a space that's free from the limitations and hazards of the weather. Athletes can practice whenever without worrying about sudden rainfalls, heavy snowstorms, high-speed winds, or damaging sunrays. The flip side to this is that athletes don't experience what It's like to play in those conditions.
Many soccer (or football) enthusiasts can remember the 2008 Champions League Final between the two long-time rivals, Chelsea and Manchester United. Perhaps most memorable were the playing conditions. Heavy rains pelted the clashing teams throughout the match, testing both teams ability to control and find the ball in a downpour that destroyed visibility and practically turned the pitch into a Slip N Slide. The team that was better prepared for playing in those conditions was likely the deciding factor for the winner of this game. In this case, it was Manchester United.
Best of Both Worlds
Training outside does have it's advantages it prepares soccer, tennis, or football players for conditions that they might be forced to play under. Indoor training is unavoidable though, because it allows an athlete to focus on perfecting their skills, as opposed to acclimating to their environment.
Therefore, the best training involves playing both indoors and outdoors. Luckily, that'sxactly what sport domes are perfect for!
Seasonal soccer domes, tennis bubbles, and other inflatable air supported structures are perfect for training. A practice space can be open and outside for part of the year, giving athletes the opportunity to train in disparate conditions, and when the weather becomes too cold, a dome can be inflated over that same practice space.
With an inflatable air structure, off-season training can occur in the exact same place as during the sport season. To give a team a competitive edge, a facility like an air dome might just offer the best of both worlds!