Binghams Blog #5

15th August


Do artificial surfaces have an impact on players performance?


There is always an ongoing debate with regards to the difference in costs, maintenance and health & safety, between artificial grass and natural grass, yet no one hardly ever questions the performance aspect.


Without a doubt it is a controversial subject, but its one we’re sure teams and individual sports enthusiasts all over are interested in.


If any 1 surface type could be categorically proven to be the best, everyone in the sports industry would ditch all the other inferior alternatives and install what is proven to be the top sports surface. However, this isn’t and possibly may never be the case.


This said, we do believe there are more advantages in picking artificial grass surfaces, than a natural one.


Some players will always prefer to play on a natural grass pitch over an Astroturf surface, be this for performance or even environmental reasons.



Leading the way forward!


Artificial grass pitches have revolutionised the sports industry over the last 20 years.


Sports ranging from football, right through to golf have all benefited from the introduction of synthetic surfaces to their facilities, at both professional and grass roots level.


Despite this, it’s not always been the case. It still faces some harsh criticism with beliefs that it is no where near on par with a natural surface. Usually due to a bad experience while performing on an old 1st or 2nd Gen pitch.


Artificial grass is not a substitute for natural grass, it’s just the best alternative.


Sports clubs, schools, and local authorities could all benefit from installing an artificial grass pitch.



Train for longer, all year round!


Artificial grass increases the number of times you can train, due to its long lasting and weather resistant nature, alleviating any worry about the condition of the pitch.


This suggests that a player is able to practice their skills comfortably, for longer, helping them to perform the required skills at a much higher standard.


As the age old saying goes..... "Practice makes Perfect". 


The base layers in an artificial grass pitch contain optimum drainage, so regardless of the weather, training and matches can continue without concern over muddy, water-logged pitches that will take days to recover.


Athletes can judge the bounce and movement patterns of the ball with ease on an artificial pitch. Bumps, mud, and water patches on a grass pitch negatively impact a player’s ability to judge the ball. These types of grass pitches will only hurt a player’s athletic progression.


At the end of the day, artificial grass doesn’t hurt the game and it certainly doesn’t make the players any worse. It can be very hard to maintain a natural grass pitch to the high standards we see on the television these days, especially in the harsh winter months.


Sports players are massively benefiting from being able to train in all conditions, as often as they like all year round. The rewards of this being made obvious in match performances.



Advancements in Grass Technology


The artificial grass pitches being manufactured and installed now, are as close to real grass as you can get.


Historically, there has been concern that synthetic grass pitches are hard on impact and ‘carpet like’, resulting in players not being comfortable performing to their highest standards.


This just isn’t the case today!


Technological advancements in manufacturing artificial grass have led to yarn developments which now mimic real grass.


For example, when under pressure, the yarn twists and bends, like grass would, to create a bounce-back action which doesn’t result in weak points in the fibres.


This creates an experience more reflective of what a real pitch would deliver, giving players the opportunity to ready themselves for the exact playing conditions they’re going to experience on match day.



Reduced Risks


A big misconception with artificial pitches is the perception of heightened risk of injury.


There’s a preconceived idea that these pitches are hard under foot, resulting in high-impact joint injuries. Again, this isn’t the case.


Although there have been instances where coaches have blamed poor quality artificial pitches for a player’s injury, we are yet to see any research which proves that players are any more or less likely to get injured on a synthetic turf than a natural one.


Research in the British journal of sports medicine concluded there is NO evidence of a greater risk of injury when sport was played on artificial turf compared with natural grass.


What we must not forget is that poor quality, natural pitches have the potential to put players at risk, yet we very rarely see them tested. Some elite level clubs are reporting that players are receiving less injuries when playing on synthetic surfaces compared to natural grass.


There are several layers to the base of a 3G pitch, to emulate real grass. This provides a cushioning effect ensuring shock absorption and creates a smooth, level and sturdy playing surface, with less chances of slipping, in theory reducing the chance of injury.  



Enlightening Enhancement in Players Performance


While it’s not 100% conclusively superior to natural grass, artificial turf has been shown to improve certain aspects of a players performance. Because Synthetic grass is manmade, each individual fibre is precisely engineered to be identical to the rest, creating a consistently even playing surface.


Unlike on a natural grass field, when athletes play on an artificial field, they’re more likely to see better footing, optimized speed, safety and performance levels.


Coaches and players alike understand that in many sports, speed is critical. In a study conducted by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, researchers discovered that the players agility consistently increased by three percent when running on Astroturf rather than natural grass.



Bouncing Back to the top


When used on a consistent basis, a grass field can become worn down and rock-hard, posing a potential safety threat to players. This is especially true in full-contact sports, where falling to the ground is inevitable.


If you practice on the same field on which you play, turf proves not only more shock absorbent than grass, it remains that way under heavy use. As a result, your players will find turf a safer alternative to well-trod grass.


When it rains on a standard grass field, practices and games need to be canceled, because playing just a single game on mud can ruin a grass field for weeks or months.


A turf sports field is naturally resistant to damage from rain, mud, and ice; little to no cancellations necessary. That dependability allows sports teams to practice on a consistent basis and count on playing conditions that are largely unchanged in inclement weather.



What’s not to like?


In addition to the athletic benefits, turf provides an extra layer of shock absorption designed to lessen the impact of falls.


What’s more, a number of natural grass fields need to be sloped to “promote proper water drainage.” This gradual slope can contribute to potential injuries on the field. Such a precaution isn’t necessary with artificial turf. That means you get a flat, even surface on which to play.


We can visit you on site and go through the entire process from start to finish.


Check out our services and projects pages, or Contact us for more information on how we can help to fit your perfect sports surface, with a FREE site visit and quotation, with NO COMMITMENT!