In response to the cycle described in the previous post the council has sanctioned the development of artificial grass fields. Artificial Grass fields are more seen in the United States and where they are used for the NFL and now the MLS. Allegedly they tried using them in the UK however concerns were raised over the potential for increased injuries that lead to a halting of this process, more on that in a later post.
The artificial fields are made from a very thin green plastic grass, with black rubber pellets acting as dirt. That’s what is visible to the naked eye. Underneath this is usually a sand base, on top of a concrete slab. In terms of a direct comparison to a natural grass field around where I live that is a little hard to make. Because of the changing state of natural grass pitches, I will compare the artificial grass to both the start of the season natural grass and end of football season.
That leads nicely into my first comparison. Consistency. The changing state of natural grass fields mean that coaches and players must constantly change how they play in order to cope with the conditions. However, as we are at amateur level some players and coaches do not have the skills or ability to adjust to the ever-changing conditions leading to a drop in quality. Many teams resort to long ball football in order to bypass this issue and games end up becoming about who has the fastest and tallest players, and who gets the luck of the bounce.
With Artificial Pitches this is not the case. The artificial grass stays constant throughout the entire season, both in terms of field gradient and in terms of “grass” coverage. This flat and consistent field enables players to potentially play a better brand of football or at least play something other than route 1. In this instance artificial fields have the upper hand [over the current availability of natural grass fields.