Thursday, May 10, 2012

DIY Soccer Wall/Goal For Kicking Practice: Our New Design

This spring, my boys outgrew the simple ready-made soccer kicking wall (pictured below) which I put up for them in 2009.  Three years of growth and LOTS of training were bound to make their kicks more powerful.   But when they started blasting holes in it for fun, I decided it was time to replace it!  Lol!  You see those holes?  (And you thought I was kidding, didn’t you?)Old Kicking Wall
We thought about buying a portable rebound net/wall.  But if we left them out, the elements would take their toll on the net and poles and we would be looking for a replacement (again) in a year or two.  Plus, we already knew how much fun it was to kick against my trial wall, and we were happy with the three years it gave us.
Long story short, we decided to build a wall. 
Our Supply List:
  • six bags of cement
  • three 4x4x8 treated posts (edited 6-9-14)
  • Fifteen 1x6x10 treated decking boards  (13 to make the face of a six foot high wall, and a couple spares)
We figured if the boys were old enough to blast holes in the old wall, they were old enough to do most of the work for the new one.  Right?
While my hubby and I went for supplies, they did an awesome job digging the three post holes.  Each needed to be 24 inches deep and roughly 18 inches in diameter.   
When we got home, they helped set each post in its hole, mix the concrete, and brace them in line, making sure to keep them plum.
After the concrete was set, they removed the braces and attached the decking boards.  It wasn’t hard.  They just had to make sure the first board was level.  The rest went up easy! Soccer wall 1
Using galvanized screws is a good idea, and making sure the screws are set below the surface of the wood is very important.  Otherwise, the balls could be damaged.
soccer wall 2 I was really proud of them for the job they did. 
soccer wall 3
They had the face of the kicking wall up in no time, and even mulched around the base.
soccer wall 4 Once it was up, they tested it out and decided it needed a little more bracing on the back.  soccer wall 6
We found enough old 2x4s and 2x3s laying around to add a 6 foot vertical brace to each edge, plus one between each 4x4 post. 
Holding the brace in place from the back, someone screwed the face boards to it from the front.  The added braces firmed up and flattened out the kicking surface very nicely.  The boys even sanded the edges.  :)
socer wall 5
The extra deck board on the top is mainly just to protect the tops of the posts. 
The new wall was up and in use within a week of removing the old one.  If you look closely, you’ll see they added targets to the corners using sidewalk chalk.  soccer wall 7
I really recommend something like this for every little soccer player.   My boys are out there every single day.  It can be a lot of fun whether you have just one player, or a dozen.  It’s also great to practice on whether you are a beginner, or a veteran.   
When we scrimmage, we use our portable second-hand soccer net (you can see it in the sixth picture) as the other goal .  Depending on the age of the players, we can adjust the field length by moving it closer or father away.
Incidentally,  the wall doubles nicely as a backyard backstop for the occasional neighborhood baseball game.  :)
This will no doubt be the last soccer practice wall we will have to build. 
If they start kicking holes in this one, their future in pro-soccer will no doubt enable them to afford much better systems…on their own estates!  Lol!


in the coop said...

Well done! My daughter saw this and said we need to build one. Apparently the barn wall isn't sufficient, as the boards wobble when hit with a ball. I'll be taking your lead, and letting the soccer players build it!

Mari said...

What a great idea!

Susie said...

LOVE it! I think we might need something similar here...though we have lots less space, so maybe ours will have to be more portable. Hope the boys gets lots of (fun, no doubt) use out of it!!

Sandy@JesusandDark Choc said...

Oh my gosh, I wish I could build cool stuff like that! My kids would have loved a wall like that! I still love you yard, it is such a great yard for boys to grow up in!!

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

I'm sorry but I had to laugh when you said, "Long story short, they built a wall." LOL!
They did a great job. They should be proud.
Have a GREAT day.

You said...

I was looking at the supplies because I'm putting a wall together for my daughter. You have 10' posts listed and you said you buried them 24", which would leave 8' to put boards on. Since you said you did a 6' wall, did you buy 8' posts and type 10' by mistake?

Raise Them Up said...

Yes, you are right. Thank you for catching that! The posts were 8 feet long, and we buried two feet in the ground. So sorry!

jay bruns said...

I was just telling my wife I would like to build a wall to get the kids more interested in kicking the ball around. Are the 1x6x10 boards strong enough, or would 2x6x10 work better?

Raise Them Up said...

Jay, the 1x6x10s we used are working well even with intense high school workouts. You could certainly use 2x6x10s if you don't mind spending a little more on lumber and longer screws. But I don't think it's necessary. In either case, I recommend the extra verticals on the back. These help keep the boards from warping too much and also help absorb and disperse some of the play from hard strikes. Best of luck to you!!

B0123 said...

Hi, great info! I'm looking into a similar idea for my kids. They play soccer, lacrosse, and baseball. I wonder if you might recommend a slight tilt for bouncing back smaller balls (such as lacrosse or baseball)? Thanks!

Raise Them Up said...

B0123, I really couldn't say how tilting it would work. My own preference would be to keep it straight so you could use it from any angle. If you do decide to incorporate a tilt, let me know how it works! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Mark Pickering said...

Looking at doing this for my girls this weekend. Do you need the concrete, or could I get 4x4x12s and burry 4ft of them? I'm only thinking about the future, when it's time to replace it, how hard it will be to dig out the concrete.

Raise Them Up said...

Mark, I think longer posts would help if you don't want to do concrete. You want a solid wall that doesn't budge for the best rebound action. It WILL take a pounding as your players develop. My only concern would be that the constant vibration and even straight line winds (which we get a lot of in Indiana) would eventually loosen the posts.

My husband suggested still using concrete but backfilling the last 6 or 8 inches with dirt. That way, if you ever wish to remove the wall, you could dig down to the concrete, cut off the posts and refill with dirt. In other words, just leave the remnant well beneath the surface.

Good luck with your project!

Matti Dwyer said...

Inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing :) Building a futsal training center in my garage! This has sparked some ideas :)