In Which Country Is Baseball More Popular Than Soccer

In Which Country Is Baseball More Popular Than Soccer

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Baseball Was Invented in the United States and Its Popularity Grew in the Late 19th Century.
  • As Us Expansion Began Into Central America in the Early 20th Century, Explorers and Industrialists Introduced the Sport to Countries Like Panama, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
  • Soccer Has Lagged Behind in the United States and Only Gained Widespread Attention When Major League Soccer Began in the 1996 Season. 

Baseball is more popular than Soccer in the following countries:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • the Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuela and
  • Japan

Although soccer is the most popular global sport by a long stretch, with an estimated 4 billion fans.

Baseball is played more often and supported more in specific countries and regions due to a range of SOCIAL and HISTORICAL FACTORS.

For me, soccer was always the most talked about, most played and MOST ENJOYED SPORT from my childhood.

In fact, its presence was everywhere in British culture.

From adverts on the television to drop-down games played in school playgrounds and on neighborhood streets, soccer was ALMOST UNAVOIDABLE to an extent. 

In different countries and cultures, other sports are more prevalent, which is why they become more popular in these societies.

When I have visited other continents and countries, most of which have been in continental Europe and South America, the presence of soccer is everywhere.

Much like the UK, small soccer pitches are built into concrete estates, in the favelas of Brazil and some form of soccer is shown in bars EACH DAY. 

For baseball, similar histories exist, but they stem from the US instead.

When soccer spread around the world as part of British industrialization, baseball followed a similar path after its invention in the US in the late 18th century.

In this article, we highlight some countries where baseball is more popular than soccer and we compare the popularity of each sport. 

Why is Baseball More Popular Than Soccer in the United States?

As baseball was invented in the US, it is no surprise that the sport is more popular here compared to soccer.

Early, informal games of baseball were played since the 1700s when English colonists brought rounders and cricket to the US.

The two games were blended to create baseball in the late 18th century.

By the time of the American Revolution, baseball was played in major cities, mostly on the East Coast where many British colonists landed.

Then, the game went from strength to strength and the first codified set of rules was created in September 1845.

A group of New York City men who founded the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club came together to improve the gameplay and structure of baseball.

Eventually, Major League Baseball began in 1869, and the sport has been a favored pastime, particularly on the East Coast, ever since.

By comparison, Major League Soccer didn’t begin until 1996, the first time soccer was given a NATIONAL AUDIENCE and platform in the US. 

Although soccer has been unable to compete with MLB for around 150 years, there are signs that the tide is shifting.

Soccer is reportedly becoming more popular and a 2018 survey by American analytics company, Gallup, found that 9% of participants had baseball as their favorite sport, while 7% chose soccer.

How Did Baseball Become More Popular Than Soccer in Japan and Central America?

US culture, including sports like baseball, was introduced into Central America in the early 20th century.

Military personnel, explorers, and business people working in this region brought a piece of home WITH THEM.

Also, the conditions in these countries and regions suited a slower-paced sport like baseball rather than an INTENSELY physical sport like soccer.

The same happened in Japan after the end of World War II as military GIs and overseas workers continued to play baseball when stationed in the country.

However, baseball was already popular in Japan as the aims of the sport suited the Japanese philosophy of teamwork, making it a popular team sport before the US influence from 1945 onwards.

This introduction of baseball has had a POSITIVE EFFECT in these countries.

It is the most popular sport in countries like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Japan.

Alternatively, the reach of British and European colonists, who introduced soccer to new countries and regions, had VERY LITTLE INFLUENCE on the central American countries or Japan. 

How Should Soccer Cleats Fit: A Guide to Comfort?

How Should Soccer Cleats Fit

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Soccer Cleats Should Be a Tight Fit but Have a Small Space in the Toe.  
  • Different Players Have Different Needs for Their Cleats Based on Playing Time, Conditions and Playing Surfaces. 
  • Preparation, Trying On Cleats and Breaking Them in Is Essential. 

Soccer cleats should not fit tightly around your foot and some space is required between the end of your toes and the cleats.

Ultimately, you want the cleats to be a SLIGHTLY EXTENSION to your foot size for comfort and some room to maneuver. 

There is no substitute for a well-fitting pair of soccer cleats as problems will occur if players get the wrong size.

I have experienced poorly fitting cleats in the past from hand-me-down pairs and, honestly, it becomes PAINFUL IF YOU PERSIST.

When I saved up and eventually brought my pair of cleats, I was SO EXCITED to try them out that I came back with bloodied feet and was sidelined with injury for two weeks because I got the size wrong.

On the other hand, when I played soccer at university, I rushed to get a pair of cleats from the local sports shop, opting for a couple of sizes bigger as that was all the shop had.

Needless to say, my performance suffered as a result, and felt like I was playing on an ice rink. 

A lot of younger players I have coached also head into the game unaware of the potential injuries that come with ill-fitting cleats, such as blisters and friction burn.

In a recent season, one of my players was out of action for a month as they continued to wear poorly fitting cleats. 

To help find the best cleats for you, we have compiled a useful step-by-step guide to follow when purchasing cleats. 

How Should My Soccer Cleats Fit?

As a general guide:

  1. You should be able to press your thumb on the toe of the cleats and feel half of the space.
  2. If you can only feel your toe and nothing else, the cleats are too tight.
  3. If you cannot feel your toe at all, they are too loose. 

In an ideal world, soccer players would be able to go into a sports shop or head online, select their preferred cleats in their shoe size and start playing.

However, soccer cleat manufacturers update and change their styles and fits so much that no two boots are the same.

By the time you come to upgrade your cleats, they may be a completely different fit from YOUR PREVIOUS PAIR.

Research conducted by podiatrist Emma Cowley outlines all the factors that can play a part in ill-fitting cleats and the knock-on effect they can have on player injuries.

Her research outlines the fine details of getting soccer cleat fittings correct as movements in soccer are so reliant on the foot as a base. 

Whether you are a new soccer player or experienced and looking for an upgrade, we have outlined some questions to ask yourself below when trying to find well-fitting cleats.

How Can I prepare for My New Soccer Cleats?

Spending a bit of time researching your soccer needs and requirements for soccer cleats can save time, money and help you perform better on the pitch.

When I have rushed into purchases in the past, by choosing a cheap, ill-fitting pair to fill the void after my old cleats have broken, it has NEVER ENDED WELL.

The immediate knock-on effects were missed training sessions and matches while my feet recovered from blisters and burns.

However, long-term injuries mean I now have one permanently swollen little toe on my right foot from continuous friction and wear and tear, which occasionally becomes painful.

The steps below can help to PREVENT INJURIES like mine and they make for a smoother playing experience.

My failures were the result of being young, inexperienced and simply wanting to get on the pitch and play, completely unaware of the damage I caused to my feet.

A short amount of prep time would have led to more playing time.

1. Know Your Shoe Size First 

Any footwear shop will help you to measure your feet to find your correct shoe size.

Alternatively, you can measure your feet and use an online guide to find out.

From here, you may want to get a half-size bigger soccer cleats so you have the additional wiggle room in the toe area. 

2. Playing Conditions 

If you are playing in hot and dry conditions, a more breathable, lightweight fitting cleat will help.

Alternatively, wet and cold playing conditions may need more heavy-duty cleats made from natural leather. 

Also, think about how different layers may affect the fit.

When I played in the winter months in the UK, I would sometimes wear two pairs of thick socks and an ankle brace so I would get one size up from my natural shoe size. 

3. What Are Your Playing Needs? 

Are you playing soccer outdoors multiple times a week on a grass surface?

Or do you play the occasional small-sided match on artificial surfaces?

One of the joys of soccer comes from the multiple gameplay formats available.

Knowing your needs will help you prepare for the cleats you need, For example, a player who plays once a week on artificial grass may need more snug-fitting cleats with multiple, smaller studs.

Alternatively, a player who plays on grass multiple times a week may need soft ground cleats that allow some space for the toe.

When Should I First Try On My Cleats?

Once you have done your preparation and found the cleats you want, it is time to get them and TRY THEM ON.

But, never get your cleats out of the box and head straight on to the pitch as you could be heading back to the changing room in minutes. 

I have seen countless players of all ages, including myself, showing off their brand new cleats, ready to get on the pitch and take them for a spin, only to be limping by the end of the training session or match.

In many cases, players literally cannot jog after ten to 15 minutes of wearing badly fitting cleats.

Often, players don’t have time to break in their cleats as they fit in soccer between work, family, school etc.

However, just taking your new cleats out of the box and trying them on with a pair of soccer socks in your home will give you some kind of guide about how your cleats fit.

If the toe feels cramped in any way, or your heel is rubbing and feels sore, the cleats are too tight. 

Is Breaking In Important?

There is no substitute for breaking in a pair of cleats.

Even if you have found a pair of cleats you absolutely worship and they feel like they fit perfectly once they have arrived, you are likely to still encounter injuries or problems WITHOUT BREAKING THEM IN.

Taking things slowly and easing in your new boots is the ideal preparation to get them to match ready.

Rather than getting straight onto the pitch and going the whole 90 minutes in your new cleats, give them a 5-10 minute burst first.

This could be some passes, sprints, jogs, and jumps to get your new cleats used to the movement of your feet.

Furthermore, you get a feel for how your new cleats react on your feet and you can decide if they are the right fit for you and your playing needs. 

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis (Try This 3 Techniques)

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis
  • Place Backspin on the Ball
  • Hit With a Continental Grip
  • Play From an Appropriate Court Position

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Hitting a drop shot in tennis is one of the shots that is not exploited enough in my opinion.

With the modern-day game, players are often slugging it out far behind the baseline.

This alone suggests that a drop shot is a great way to mix things up, especially since they would then need to track forward to the net from all the way back behind the baseline.

Of course, the purpose of a drop shot isn’t always to end the point, despite what some people think.

In most cases, playing a drop shot is simply done to SWITCH UP THE RHYTHM or gain a MORE DOMINANR POSITION in the point.

With that said, in order to play a drop shot successfully, you need to be fully aware of how to execute the shot.

And as you can see from the information presented above, you can give yourself the best chance possible of a successful drop shot by following those three tips.

Note that this doesn’t guarantee a 100% drop shot success rate, but these tips will certainly improve how effectively you hit the shot.

And now, I’d like to take some time to run into further details on each of the three points raised above.

A More Effective Drop Shot Explained

If you need any confirmation as to how prolific a great drop shot can be, look no further than the 2020 French Open match between Stan Wawrinka and Hugo Gaston.

(Hugo Gaston vs Stan Wawrinka – 2020 Tennis Match)

Wawrinka is a huge hitter of the ball, and he is far better than Gaston from the back of the court.

But Gaston was able to beat the great Swiss player by simply hitting AWESOME DROP SHOTS.

Obviously, this match was played on clay, which is the surface in which drop shots are used more often, in general.

But regardless, the Gaston drop shot managed to completely turn the outcome of this match!

And now that I’ve highlighted how effective a great drop shot can be, let me run through the three tips mentioned earlier.

1) Applying Backspin

When hitting a drop shot, the aim is to get the ball as tight to the net as you can.

Since you can win a point in tennis by getting the ball to bounce twice, this is the best shot you have of an outright winner from a drop shot.

But this isn’t always, and shouldn’t always be your aim when hitting this shot.

However, the objective is always to get your opponent out of position and hustling forwards to the ball.

Now, in addition to hitting the ball tight to the net, it’s always important to add a little backspin if you can.

This is what stops the ball from sliding through the court, which is advantageous if you are dragging your opponent OUT OF POSITION.

To apply backspin successfully, I recommend cutting down on the ball – not necessarily slicing right underneath.

It’s also good if you can reduce the follow-through of your racket when playing a drop shot, as this will stop the ball from carrying too far into the opposing court.

I’d recommend watching this video of Roger Federer hitting drop shots to get a better understanding of how this is done:

2) Continental Grip

If you are to successfully hit backspin on the ball, you need to hold a continental grip on the handle.

This is the grip that is used for serving, volleying, and when hitting slice backhands.

When holding the racket in this position, the racket face is more open than usual, so you can really cut down on the ball, which creates the backspin.

I also find that it’s easier to control the amount of spin and power you are putting on the ball with this grip.

However, beginners and sometimes intermediate players try to hit the shot with a standard forehand grip.

But when doing this, your racket face is flat to the ball on contact.

So not only is it very difficult to cut under the ball with this grip, but the ball will then push through the court after the FIRST BOUNCE.

This reduces the margin for error that you have on the shot, and it increases the likelihood that your opponent will track the drop shot down easily.

This then puts you in a defensive position instead of an attacking position following a drop shot.

3) Appropriate Court Position

Finally, I’d like to talk about when you should actually be hitting a drop shot in tennis.

Besides the technical pointers raised above, if you don’t play the drop shot at the correct time, it will not work in your favor – I promise you.

So what is an appropriate court position?

Well, there are two parts to this answer really.

The first answer is your own court position.

Personally, I would only be looking to play a drop shot if I find myself inside the baseline.

The one and only exception to this is if my opponent is way behind the baseline, as a standard rallying position.

I recommend this because it INCREASES THE CHANCES of success on your drop shot.

Secondly, you need to have a fundamental understanding of your opponent’s positioning, which I’ve touched upon earlier.

To hit the most effective drop shot, you need to hit this ball when your opponent is either off balance or out of position.

This gives them the least chance of actually tracking the drop shot down. 

Finally – make sure that you actually follow your drop shot in once you’ve played it.

I see many club players making this mistake and getting burned for it. Remember, the most likely return from a drop shot is another drop shot.

This is also the easiest shot to hit once you’ve tracked one down.

Therefore, you need to move forward with the ball in order to eliminate this shot choice from your opponent.

Has this helped you to understand what’s required to hit a great drop shot? Let me know in the comments if so!

Top 3 Simple Ways How You Can Coach Tennis

TONY NADAL How to Coach Tennis
  • Be Positive
  • Adapt to Each Individual
  • Understand Students’ Needs

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Coaching tennis is something that almost anybody can get involved with.

However, only a small percentage go on to become what I would consider being ‘good or great coaches’.

Having worked as a full-time coach myself in the past, I’ve seen evidence of this first hand.

There are many people who become qualified as a coach, and then try to follow a supposed blueprint for coaching the game.

This has always been a bit of a mystery to me, as there is no exact way to coach tennis that will suit all people.

However, some have obviously found an approach that works for most, such as the great Nick Bollettieri.

For that reason, I’ve included ADAPTATION as one of the MOST IMPORTANT TRAITS of any decent tennis coach.

And as you can also see, positivity and understanding the student are the two others.

Sure, there are a few more things to being a great tennis coach than these three traits.

But I firmly believe that all good coaches need to demonstrate EFFECTIVE ABILITIES in each of these three fundamental areas. 

So now that these have been highlighted, I think it’s time that we took things a little deeper.

Becoming a Great Tennis Coach

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about becoming a decent tennis coach is that you need to have been a great player to do this.

The evidence is everywhere that this just isn’t necessary.

Look at guys such as Richard Williams or Toni Nadal – both guys never played tennis at an ELITE LEVEL, yet they have produced some of the greatest players of all time.

In fact, I found this cool video of Toni Nadal giving a Ted Talk, and this gives a real insight into the mind of this truly awesome coach (video is in Spanish with English subtitles):

Of course, you’ve then got other guys that have indeed played tennis at a pretty high level.

But in my experience, it’s not always your own level that dictates whether you would be a good coach.

It’s how you can explain the game to a student and get them to understand and improve, and this is different for every individual.

Coming back to the three traits now, let me explain why they are so important.

1) Positivity

When it comes to positivity, I’d like to take you back to your high school days to emphasize why this is so important.

Think back to your class schedule – which classes did you enjoy the most?

Did you enjoy classes where the teacher had a ton of knowledge but presented things in a rather boring and methodical manner?

Or did you prefer the classes with an upbeat, passionate teacher who explained things in a positive manner?

I would hope that the answer is the latter!

And this also holds true when it comes to tennis coaching.

Being a great tennis coach all STARTS WITH:

  • YOUR PASSION FOR THE GAME and
  • HOW POSITIVE YOU CAN BE when teaching people to do it.

You have to be able to explain what the student needs to do and demonstrate this in a way that is exciting, not in a way that is somewhat robotic.

Believe me, I’ve seen coaches go through the motions out there on the court.

And I always liked to think that if I was ever bored or disinterested when teaching a class, then this certainly means that the students were bored!

Of course, creating a positive environment is also critical if you are to get the best out of your players.

2) Adaptability

If I am to be completely honest, I feel that the way in which tennis is taught to most people is FAR TOO GROOMED and robotic.

I’m not denying that there are certain fundamentals that need to be taught in tennis in order for an individual to improve and REACH THEIR POTENTIAL.

This is common knowledge.

But I firmly believe that you need to adapt to how an individual prefers to play the game and then style your coaching approach to suit.

For example, if you are teaching a student who loves to hit the ball flat from the baseline and this is one of their main strengths, it would not make sense to then focus so much on trying to get them to hit heavy.

In addition to switching your focus in relation to the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, you need to adapt how you actually explain things as well.

Some people are very visual learners, whereas some are perfectly okay with you just explaining how things are done.

So on that note, you need to be flexible and adapt your approach until you find a style that is getting the best out of the individual.

3) Understanding of Student’s Needs

It goes without saying that not everyone you teach wants to become a Wimbledon Champion.

In fact, depending on where you actually teach tennis, you may never teach someone who wants to become a professional.

So for that reason, you need to make sure that you actually understand what the intentions are for your students.

It’s important to keep in mind that some people receive tennis coaching purely because they want to get some exercise while socializing at the same time.

And if you have a group like that, you will obviously approach the session differently than if you were coaching aspiring juniors.

On a more personal basis, if you are teaching private lessons, it’s important to ask the student what they want to work on.

I always found that this is the best approach rather than simply picking what I think is important and then hammering it home.

By taking this approach, the individual will get the most out of the session, and they will leave the court with the knowledge that they worked on what they wanted to – not what you felt was necessary. 

Do you have anything to add when it comes to teaching tennis in the best possible way? If so, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.

Best Tennis Courts in the World. Here’s Why They’re So Cool.

Coolest Tennis Courts in the World
  • Monte Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo
  • Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast
  • Foro Italico, Rome

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

There are plenty of cool places to play tennis in this world.

But when people imagine cool tennis courts, they often think of the major stadiums where Grand Slams are played.

Sure, these courts are magnificent in their own right.

But in my opinion, when I think about cool tennis courts, I like to think of courts that are a little bit out of the ordinary.

So for that reason, I’ve listed the three tennis courts that you can see above.

You can always go and see these courts for yourself, but since they are so exclusive, I don’t believe that you can book in and play on them – as much as we’d all like to!

And while I have listed these three tennis courts above…

..I have to give some honorable mentions to stadiums such as Centre Court Wimbledon, the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, Melbourne Arena, and Phillippe Chatrier at the French Open.

I feel that these stadiums are full of character, and they have been host to some extraordinary tennis matches over the years.

But coming back to the main point of this piece now, I would like to get into why these three tennis courts are so spectacular.

Details of These Three Unbelievable Tennis Courts

As you’ve seen already, these three courts are not all in the same country!

However, two of them are actually based in Italy – which is a testament to the quality of the architecture of that nation in general.

So without further ado, let me run through some specific details on the courts mentioned.

Monte Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo Country Club is one of the MOST EXCLUSIVE SPORTS COMPLEXES in the world.

Of course, this country club is centered around tennis, and many of the most elite tennis players in the world actually use this place as a base.

Guys such as Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov spring to mind here, with both of these guys being residents of Monte Carlo.

You can even see a quick guided tour of the place from Dimitrov in this video:

All of the courts in this complex are clay courts, and as you probably already know, this is the location for one of the biggest Masters events of the ATP Tour.

This tournament is simply known as the Monte Carlo Masters, and a man by the name of Rafael Nadal has won that event nine times!

While there are many courts around the complex, I believe that the Center Court, which many games are played on during the Masters, is one of the COOLEST COURTS in the world.

Not only is the court itself spectacular, surrounded by the mountains of Monte Carlo, but it also has a backdrop at the Balearic Sea which LOOKS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

I’m not sure how the players can even concentrate on competing in their matches with such beautiful scenery around! 

Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast

(Spectacular View From the IL San Pietro DI Positano, Amalfi Coast Hotel)

Speaking of exclusive tennis courts, this one is right up there with the Monte Carlo Country Club.

As it happens, the Il San Pietro di Positano is actually a five-star hotel and resort, and it is pretty spectacular from what I’ve seen (in photos).

Of course, the Amalfi Coast is one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL regions in Italy, and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places in Europe, period.

And since you’ve then got a 5-star hotel and resort nestled between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, what more could we really ask for?

However, in order to play on this tennis court, you need to be staying at the hotel as a guest.

The court is completely closed off to the general public, and even if you are staying at the hotel, I believe you still need to pay a handsome rate to play a game of tennis on the court.

But when you look at the photos of the location, IT REALLY IS BREATHTAKING.

However, since II SAN PIERTRO DI POSITANO is so close to the sea, I think that if you were to shank a ball out of the court…

.. you might need to go and purchase another one rather than TRYING TO FISH IT OUT!

Foro Italico, Rome

(Foro Italico, Rome Tennis Court)

The third and final tennis court I would like to talk about is located in the Foro Italico sports complex in Rome.

Much like the Monte Carlo Masters, this is the location of another Masters event, simply known as the Rome Masters.

This is another clay-court event, and surprise surprise, Rafael Nadal has been the most successful player at this event, winning the title a staggering 11 times.

Putting the tournament aside, when you look at the architecture and location of the court, I really do think it is one of the coolest tennis courts in the world.

With the court being built into the ground, which is ALREADY COOL, I love that it is then surrounded by statues of great Romans of the past.

Obviously, Rome is one of the most historical cities in the world, and I love that the design of the court has captured this.

So even though guys are playing there and competing to win a tennis match, this court really does have a sense of magic about it, which adds to the spectacle.

It’s almost as though the Romans of the past are there to ENJOY THE SHOW AS WELL.

And naturally, with Rome boasting some pretty nice weather, this court looks ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR against the clear blue skies of Italy’s capital.

Conclusion

I do hope you have enjoyed this brief piece about the coolest tennis courts in the world.

And if you feel that you want to actually visit any of these locations, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING SO.

Should you be able to combine your visit with watching one of the Masters events, for two out of the three courts, this will be even better.

And if you do get to visit, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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