So, you have a sport in mind, a team prepared and the equipment ready – what’s left? Before you begin playing any sport, you must find the appropriate location and grounds to play it. That being said – you have to make sure that the turf you play on is safe, efficient and appropriate for the sport you are playing.
Why should you care? The turf you play on can have a major impact on your game. Think about it – you won’t have a good time playing baseball on wet grass or a rocky terrain. To have a good time, and for your players to have a good time, you have to seek out a sufficient ground to play on.
If you intend to keep going back to a specific field or pitch to play your favorite game, you may want to take the time to ensure that this turf is appropriate and reliable. Consider the following four major factors when selecting a turf.
How volatile is that turf to the climate of the city? Whether you live in a consistently rainy/foggy climate or a sunny/dry one – your turf may change accordingly. How effective is the drainage? Maybe this week that field works out for your game, but before you tell your players “next week, same place!” make sure your turf can keep you true to your word.
This brings us to factor number two – how much shade or openness the turf is to light. This could increase the effects of the weather. For example, the shadier the field is during cool days the more susceptible it may be to frost. You don’t want to have your soccer game turn into a slip and slide game.
The last two contributing factors are related: the health of the grass and the texture of the soil. Both of these features of a turf can directly effect your game. The grass can be changed by activities such as how frequently it is cut, the height to which it is cut, how fertile is it, and if it is regularly damaged by different chemicals. Tall grass may graze players legs, which may interfere performance.
Similarly, the texture of the soil (how grainy, clumpy, flat it may be, etc.) can be altered by how often it is kicked and used by others. The patchiness of the grass and soil can dangerously increase an individual’s chances of hurting and damaging their ankle/foot.
The last thing you want is your team member to get their foot caught on a loose piece of soil and trip! First-hand experience has proven that an uneven field with odd slopes did negatively effect the players performance and even resulted in a few dangerous trips. Make sure your field is flat and safe. This will not only help how players will run on the turf but even how effectively the ball will roll (if you are using a ball of course).
To help you understand further what turfs are best suited for your specific sport of choice, check out the following links explaining more.
Field hockey turfs – further understand the types of synthetic turfs are available to play on or what type of natural grass to use.
Soccer turfs – you can easily pick up a ball and head to any turf to play a game of soccer, but there are different types of fields that can better or worsen your game. Have a look at the types of fields, including artificial, and the pros of cons for each one.
Interested in knowing about what turf FIFA uses? Read more about FIFA Turfs.
Baseball turfs – read this article on the types of turfs used by major baseball leagues. We advise that you steer clear from pitches that have been significantly kicked into and are bumpy.
Tennis turfs – understand the four major turfs used in tennis: carpet, clay, grass and hard and how each one impacts a game of tennis.
American Football turfs – read about why football players prefer artificial turfs for their games.
Stewart, V. I., and National Playing Fields Association (Great Britain). Sports Turf. E & FN Spon, 1994.