Soccer continues to inspire the creation of many new games, that while loosely based around the sport’s old aged principles, adds a range of interesting and unique innovations.
From Beach Soccer to Soccer Golf, each iteration offers its own take on the original and has built a large global following in the process.
Soccer Tennis is one such game. It is played by lots of age groups and demographics at both an amateur or professional level. The sport has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its accessibility and the skills building opportunities it provides.
But what exactly is Soccer Tennis?
What Is Soccer Tennis?
Soccer Tennis is a standalone sport, best described as a blend between the games of Soccer and Tennis.
It is generally played with a standard soccer ball and an accompanying tennis style net. Contested by two teams, each consisting of between one to three players, who compete on opposing sides of a court which is divided by the net.
It is sometimes referred to as Football Tennis (particularly in Europe) Futnet in the Czech Republic and Nohejbal in Slovakia. A further variation of Soccer Tennis is Teqball, which incorporates elements of table tennis, with players hitting the soccer ball across a large and specially designed curved table.
Where And When Did Soccer Tennis Begin?
Surprisingly perhaps, the origins of Soccer Tennis can be dated to as far back as the early 20th century.
Numerous records indicate that players from Czech Republic league side Slavia Prague would play a game they’d call ‘Football over the rope’ around 1922. As the name suggests, rather than the court being divided by a net, their playing area was in fact separated by a suspended piece of rope instead.
What Is The Difference Between Soccer Tennis And Soccer?
Soccer Tennis and Soccer are clearly two separate sports that have a number of different objectives, aims, rules and regulations.
Soccer is undoubtedly the world’s most popular sport with reportedly over a quarter of a billion professional players globally. Traditionally two teams of eleven players line up against each other on a rectangular field or ‘pitch’ made of grass with a goal placed at either end.
The aim of Soccer is to score goals by moving the ball into the opposition’s net. To achieve this, players must use a variety of different skills including dribbling, shooting and tackling.
In comparison, Soccer Tennis is much less popular with an estimated 60 million players taking part across the world. Each team has significantly fewer players with the game played over a much smaller area and typically on a hard court surface.
The pattern of play is similar to that of Tennis with players kicking the ball back and forth over a net. They primarily use their feet but can also utilise the chest, head and any part of their legs to keep the ball in play.
There is an alternative ball used in Soccer Tennis that differs from a normal Soccer ball.
The futnet’ ball is a similar size but is glued and not stitched together. It is made up of thirty-two synthetic leather panels and has less bounce than a soccer ball.
How Do You Play Soccer Tennis?
Typically, a Soccer Tennis game is played either one vs one or as a doubles match where two pairs face off against each other. Sometimes, games can feature three players per side.
A player from the team serving first kicks the ball over the net to the opposite side of the court. This team serves for five points in succession and then the other side will do the same.
The receiving team has a maximum of three touches (two if playing a singles game) with the ball being allowed to bounce once, to return it back into their opponent’s half.
Contact is made using any part of their body apart from hands and arms. Touches with feet, head, thigh, chest or shoulder are all permitted. The ball is required to cross over the entire net before it can be returned.
If the ball bounces more than once then their opponent gains one point. In addition, a player isn’t allowed to touch the ball twice in a row but can take alternate touches.
There is no requirement for a team to take the maximum touches allowed or for every player in the team to touch the ball. A player is allowed to return it over the net with their first touch if they are able.
If the ball hits the net, and falls back to the side of the team that attempted to hit it over, then play doesn’t continue like in volleyball.
How Do I Set Up A Soccer Tennis Court?
Informally, Soccer Tennis can be played in any space and where cones can mark out the boundaries of a playing area.
A net isn’t required either, instead a line of cones or a rope can be used to represent a barrier between the two halves of the court. However, if a proper net is available its inclusion will naturally add more challenge to the game.
Ideally, Soccer Tennis games should be set up on a standard tennis court and with a regulation tennis net. The official size of the full playing area, mainly suitable for a doubles game, is 78 feet long and 36 feet wide.
The court can also be made smaller or larger, making the game easier or more challenging, depending on player’s demands and skillset.
How Does Soccer Tennis Scoring Work?
Technically, there is no limit to the maximum score a Soccer Tennis game can reach and no points total to indicate the end of a game. In fact, in many settings, scoring has flexibility and teams can decide before starting a match how many goals should be scored in order to win.
Commonly, there is an option in less formal settings to play until a team reaches 11, 15, or 21 points. In order to claim victory, a team needs to win by at least two clear points. Once this is achieved then they win the set – winning two out three sets resulting in an overall win.
Across more professional settings and in all disciplines, a set finishes once a side gains 11 points with a two-point difference between the sides. Points are scored when the opposition makes an error or misjudgment and is unable to return the ball over the net successfully.
How Long Is A Game Of Soccer Tennis?
In some professional scenarios, where an objective is to reach 21 points for a win, there is often a time limit whereby the team who has most points after a 10-minute period is victorious.
Do Professional Footballers Play Soccer Tennis?
Soccer Tennis is sometimes used to aid the training methods of soccer teams from all over the world.
Premier League sides such as Manchester United have been known to add variety to training sessions and use Soccer Tennis as a way to improve particular techniques.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich are rumoured to play the game during training in order to sharpen player focus along with the development of touch and decision making.
Why Should I Play Soccer Tennis?
Soccer Tennis is not only a fun and accessible sport but offers a variety of benefits for players of all different abilities.
Firstly, it improves a player’s ball control. Because in Soccer Tennis it is a necessity to control the ball with a variety of body parts such as the chest or head.
Soccer Tennis also encourages communication and teamwork. Typically teams of two or more need to talk, both verbally and non-verbally, in order to keep the ball active – including explicit spoken instructions or even gestures with the body.
The sport is especially effective in improving cardiovascular fitness. The game can be relentless and often places huge demands on the player’s bodies. Participants must be willing to continuously run and jump whilst being incredibly agile.
A huge benefit that many other soccer based games fail to enhance is reaction time. Its fast-paced nature develops players’ skills in responding quickly to keep the ball in motion.
Soccer Tennis is both an exciting and challenging sport, helping players of all abilities to improve both their personal and technical skill sets.
Typically it’s my passion for Sports and Music that get the typing juices flowing. But ultimately I enjoy writing or blogging about any topic I can get my keyboard thrashing hands on!