and hard floors with line
markings. “The most pop-
ular variety of indoor foot-
ball at the recreational
level is flag,” says Shapero,
“although some [member
facilities] host tackle
leagues on their rink-sized
or larger fields, similar to
outdoor football but with
There’s even a version of
arena football that allows
the ball to bounce off a net
while remaining in play.
Seeking summer fun in
the winter? Volleyball rules
are generally the same outdoors or indoors, but some
facilities even provide sand
for beach-like games
indoors. If it’s a hard surface,
kneepads and elbow pads are
Leagues offer seasons
year-round, and indoor soccer can be played in facilities with turf or on a hard
surface. On turf, soccer is
similar to its outdoor version. On a hard floor, there
are fewer players and it is
faster-paced because the
ball rolls quicker. It’s more
exercise as well, because
everyone tends to get more
time with the ball.
Arena soccer, a version
of indoor soccer, is played
in the confines of a boarded
(walled) system, like ice hockey, with goals
embedded in the far walls, says Shapero.
Players use the walls strategically on offense,
as well as defense.
Indoor soccer is popular enough that you
can find shoes specifically made for the
indoor version, but tennis shoes will work
for most other sports, says TJ Dunn, program manager at HotShots Indoor Sports
Arena in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
Because a wood floor is harder than grass or
artificial turf, kneepads and elbow pads are
recommended for many sports.
Recreational lacrosse player Cat Crowley
grew up playing lacrosse in Southern
California. She recommends being careful
when playing lacrosse indoors because on a
hard floor the ball can bounce at weird angles
that are hard to predict. She says it’s best to
use an indoor space to practice shots that
don’t require bouncing off the floor.
Conditioning drills, passing and setting
up plays are also doable in an indoor facility.
Box lacrosse is a special version played completely indoors with the boards (walls) used in
play and the goals set inside the walls.
When choosing among indoor tennis
facilities, ask about ease of getting court
time. For instance, if you’ll primarily need
court time after ; p.m., ask how far in
advance you’d have to book. If you want lessons, ask about instructor credentials. If
you want to join leagues or social clubs, ask
Meadow Creek Tennis and Fitness Club in
Denver is experiencing an influx of customers
for pickleball, which is increasing in popularity, says Adam Kahn, Meadow Creek’s co-owner
and managing director. The club divides a tennis court into two smaller courts set up for
pickleball, which uses smaller rackets and a
Wiffle ball. There’s enough demand that pickleball leagues can be found all over the U.S.
Another indoor alternative is table tennis (pingpong); some facilities offer pingpong or pickleball lessons.
Baseball and softball
Indoor facilities for baseball and softball
are generally set up for practice, as opposed to
actual games. Netting often separates the two
sides of the court, so that base-running practice can take place on one side, with batting
practice on the other. You can also look for separate batting cage facilities.
No matter what sport you choose, make
sure the facility you opt for is set up with the
rules and markings you need, whether the
markings are temporary, using tape or chalk,
or permanent, with field markers on a surface
that’s used for multiple sports.
You may be surprised what activities you
find when you begin exploring. Who knows—
maybe pingpong will become your next winter workout! C
Reyna Gobel is a freelance writer from
Brooklyn, New York.
1. Book ahead of
time. You generally can’t call
an hour or so before arrival and
score court or indoor field time.
Have a winter plan for activities
and coordinate with friends.
2. Know what adaptations you’ll need
to make. Equipment isn’t
much different from outdoors,
but think about whether you’re
OK with a hard floor versus turf.
Also, ask questions about sport
changes, such as not playing
full baseball games and instead
spending time on skills practice.
If you do sign up for a league of
any sport, ask if you can try a
practice game or take a lesson
before fully committing.
3. Look for leagues.
Unless you are looking to play
racquetball or tennis, most
indoor sports require having a
team to play. Bring your own
group or find out when leagues
4. Ask arena setup
questions. Indoor arenas
vary quite a bit in how they’re
designed, from hockey arenas to
artificial turf fields. It’s important
to understand not just the facility
but how it is set up for field
markers and other sports needs.
5. Try a new sport or
go back to childhood
gym class. You can play
anything from tennis to dodge-ball indoors. Take this time
to try a sport you normally
wouldn’t play or one that takes
you back to when you aced
6. Use usindoor.com
to find a facility. Go to
the website and click on “Find
a Facility” at the top right of the
screen. You can also use the
site to learn about a variety of
sports played indoors.—RG
Costco members will ;nd sports equipment
seasonally in the warehouse and year-round
on Costco.com, for tennis, soccer, lacrosse,
hockey, table tennis and more.