How to Set up an Outdoor Soccer Training Facility
By Brad Murrow
, last updated December 15, 2011
An outdoor soccer training facility should allow you to work on playing skills, scrimmage to improve tactics and build conditioning. In addition to the practice area, your sidelines should provide space for spectators, coaches, trainers, equipment and breaks. Plan your outdoor soccer training facility needs in advance before you begin looking at potential sites.
Your training surface should be as similar to the one on which you’ll be playing as possible. If your games will be on turf, you may not be able to find a similar surface, so natural grass may be your next best choice, and vice versa.
You’ll also want to make sure you can play on the surface if it’s damp. Playing on moist grass may not be a problem for players, but may damage the field to the point you can’t practice on it in the future.
If you will be responsible for maintaining outdoor grass, you may want to install a sprinkler system around the field to make sure the grass is adequately watered.
You may not need a regulation size field for your training sessions. The width of your practice field may be more important than the length, since you can practice with only one goal. This will depend on the number of players who attend practice. If the width of your training field is the same as your game field, you can place one goal at one end and use a shorter field to practice attacking and defending. A correct width of your field will give your players a realistic practice.
Depending on your budget, your facility may not need permanent goals. If you are practicing on a rented field or at a facility that won’t let you erect permanent goals, you can use portable goals. If portable goals are not an option for you, this will limit your choice of facilities and fields. If you have a permanent practice facility, you can build permanent goals yourself with lumber and netting.
You may or may not be able to put permanent markings on your outdoor training facility, so look into addressing both contingencies. If you line with chalk each practice, or on a regular basis, you may need storage shed for your equipment. If you will spray-paint grass, you may be able to keep your sprayer at home and not need storage shed. One way to mark a soccer field without lines is to use sideline markers.
During outdoor soccer training, you’ll need to gather for group strategy sessions, keep equipment off wet ground and encourage parents and classmates to attend practices. Provide seating at your practice facility, a storage shed for equipment and a table or tables for schoolbooks, back packs, equipment bags, water, first-aid and other items.
Wherever you practice, you should have access to restrooms and adequate parking. If you are practicing with children, it’s a good idea to have a building nearby to use during inclement weather, and to get children out of the heat, if necessary. If you can’t get into a nearby building during practices, look for an outdoor spigot for filling your water jugs.
In addition to a regulation size field, you might want to set up smaller practice areas if you have the space.