You love playing soccer but you’re feeling that it became a bit repetitive recently? You can always give soccer tennis a shot.
This sport combines elements of both soccer and tennis. It can be played over a net but it isn’t necessary if you prefer to play without it.
It’s also known as football tennis or futnet. Believe it or not, there’s even a worldwide soccer tennis association called Union Internationale de Futnet (UNIF) that oversees major international competitions in this sport.
So, what should you do to start playing?
How to Play Soccer Tennis?
Set Up the Court
First off, you have to set up your mini court. As we said, you can put up a net if you want a bigger challenge. If you don’t have one or find it tedious to set up, you can always avoid using it and just mark the court lines. For this, you can use some cones or small objects that are available to you. You can also use some tape or even chalk if you’re playing on a hard surface like concrete.
There should be one middle line dividing the two squares, two sidelines, and two lines behind each player’s back.
You can use whatever dimensions you feel comfortable with for the court size. It can be adjusted according to the number of players that are present. It also a good idea to tamper with the size to make the game more or less demanding. If you make the court smaller it should be easier for less experienced players to enjoy the game. A larger one is for veterans of the game that are looking for a challenge.
It should be mentioned that there are some official court sizes. In the international play, the court size for single and double is 9 meters x 12.8 meters (around 30 x 40 feet). It’s a bit larger when there are three players on each side. If you don’t want to stress over the precise dimensions, you can take 2.5 – 3 long steps to measure the length between the middle line and the backline. You can apply the same measuring method to the sidelines. Any flat surface should work nicely when setting up the court.
The Basic Rules
Since this is informal play, there aren’t any serious and precise guidelines. It’s basically tennis that’s played with a soccer ball and without using your hands.
So, what are the basic rules that you can implement?
- You can use your head, legs, chest, and shoulders to touch the ball. Basically any part of the body except your arms, like in soccer. A ball touched by an arm or hand means a point for the opposing side.
- The players should use these parts of the body to send the ball over the net (if there is one) to the opponent’s part of the field.
- You can allow the ball to bounce once on your side of the court before returning it. You’re also allowed to hit the ball before it touches the ground. These rules are very similar to tennis.
- If the ball bounces a second time after touching the side you play on, you lose that point. Of course, if you send the ball out of court’s bounds or return it into the net, the opponent gains a point.
- The number of touches that you’re allowed to perform should be decided before the game. Usually, it’s three touches but you can make it less just for fun. If you’re playing with teammates, you can also choose whether it’s allowed for one player to make all the touches or if you have only one touch per player.
- Every point starts with a serve. You can serve by letting the ball bounce once or just drop it from your hands. It must go over to the opposing side, where it should also bounce once. You usually have two tries to serve the ball over the net successfully. If you fail both times, the point goes to your opponent.
- The number of players is also very flexible. You can change it depending on the number of people around and the size of your court. In official matches single, double and triple are the most common variants.
- It’s also usually not allowed to hit the net. If you do this the point goes to the other side. If there’s no net, low shots will be considered as hitting the net and the point will go to the opponent.
- If you want to play very seriously, the players shouldn’t be allowed to touch the net. If they do, it’s a point for the opposing side.
- It’s not a rule, but it’s smart to have one of your friends as a neutral referee. This should help to avoid arguments when it’s unclear who should get the point.
- You should also decide the number of points that you need to collect to win the game. It’s most often 11, 15, or 21. Usually, you also need a two-point lead to win the game, but you can skip this if you prefer the simple one-point difference win.
Some Fun Challenges
When you play soccer tennis for a long time, you’ll see yourself getting much better at the game. This is the time to set the bar a bit higher and try some new playing methods.
For example, you can play the same game just without any bounces. This will significantly increase the difficulty, but it can also be very fun for experienced players.
Also, for players that are creative and like to make things complicated, you can lift the ban on the number of allowed touches. This will increase the strategic aspect of the game. It’s also going to increase the number of crowd-pleaser kicks and stunts.
One more option is to try the header only game. No bounces and you’re only allowed to hit the ball with your head. This is one fun and hard game modification that will literally make your head spin.
What Are the Benefits of Soccer Tennis?
It may sound surprising, but soccer tennis has many benefits for your game. Even some large soccer teams practice this regularly in their training sessions. You can have a good time and improve your skillset simultaneously. So, how does this work and what does it improve?
Communication Skills and Teamwork
Players tend to have a good time together when playing soccer tennis. It’s a fun competition and connections between teammates are going to improve significantly. One of the main signs of a strong team is that there’s great chemistry between the players. Soccer tennis should cover this without anyone even noticing.
Now for the technical part. Your ball control should see great improvements from practicing tennis soccer. You need to make a lot of soft touches and pass the ball to your teammates without it falling to the ground. After some time, it’ll be easier to make some pinpoint passes.
The first touch of the ball when receiving a pass should also see major upgrades.
Every tired team appreciates a soccer tennis drill after some hard days of training. It’s going to help to relax the players and lift the mood. Game strategies and physical exercises can make you feel tired and unfocused. It’s always a good idea to change the pace for a bit while still improving some aspects of your game.
This game makes you do quick positioning and greatly improves your footwork. Of course, this is very beneficial and has frequent applications when playing actual soccer. You’ll be able to react more quickly and put your body in an ideal position for receiving the ball.
It also lowers the chances of getting into the way of your teammates. You have to know where they are at any time if you don’t want to lose when playing soccer tennis. After a while, this should turn into a habit.
Better Coordination and Soccer IQ
By forcing you to think creatively and react on the spot, soccer tennis should even improve your soccer IQ. This will enable you to make quick and more precise decisions on the real court.
Coordination of your body should also gradually improve to the point where it’s fairly simple to make some impressive moves with the ball.
The most boring aspect of soccer is doing repetitive drills. Their purpose is to make your muscle memory used to certain moves. These exercises are great for improving your playstyle, however, they are often very tedious and kill the joy of the game.
Tennis soccer solves this too. In just one game, you’ll have many repetitions of the same moves without even noticing that you’re doing some kind of training. It’s also great that you have to use some unorthodox moves that wouldn’t normally be covered in your usual exercises.
Another fun way to improve your soccer skills is by completing soccer challenges.
Soccer tennis equipment
As we have seen you can play soccer tennis just by marking the lines using simple cones. But for more fun and challenge a net separating the two sides would be the best option. But which are the best option available?
1# Boulder Portable Net Set
It is portable so you can carry it and play soccer tennis where you want. It is also very easy to set up.
The greatest feature though is the adjustable height. If you want to increase the level of difficulty in your game you can just increase the height.
2# Kwik Goal Soccer Tennis Net
The second option is specifically designed for soccer tennis practice.