Football is a complicated game, especially in the UK, and as it has become ever more competitive and technology focused on the pitch, so too has it become ever more important to professionally maintain the pitch itself.
No matter how technically gifted or well coached a team might be, a bad pitch will all too often take this edge away and hand an advantage to lesser opponents. Here we'll take a look at what's involved in maintaining a soccer pitch, and why it's increasing important to outsource this essential skill to a qualified grounds work operation.
The Risks Of A Poorly Tended Football Pitch
Much more than may meet the eye! First of all consider the number of matches - league, cups and friendlies - that will be hosted by the pitch over a season. Already it's likely that the turf is going to be overused, with 22 pairs of studded boot players contesting 90 minutes at least 20+ times per season. Also, and perhaps most importantly of all, consider the various seasons over the year and the toll they will take upon the grass. Waterlogged football pitches are just as bad as churned up, muddy and bumpy ones, and will naturally as a consequence reduce passing skills and add unnecessary risk to the players.
What's Involved In Maintaining A Pitch Over A Season?
Accounting for the above requires a great amount of planning, anticipation and skilled treatment. Regular inspections are an absolute must - and this isn't done by eye alone. Taking regular PH tests will allow for the grounds team to monitor the health of the soil - and consequently the grass - allowing them to use the appropriate amount and style of fertilizer.
Routine treatment such as mowing will often be the first means of identifying a problem, detecting that growth is either/or uneven and bumpy. Waterlogged pitches must be treated thoroughly to ensure that drainage issues are addressed to maximum effort, as these can not only cause the turf to plough up but also damage the quality of the soil for the chance of the grass to regenerate.
Even weeds and common garden parasites can wreak havoc on the quality of a football pitch - and again these are the kinds of issues that only a properly trained grounds team will be able to notice and repair.
Why Outsourcing Is Often The Best Issue
There's massive advantages in taking on a professional service to keep close eye and tend pitches over the season. Regular field inspections will have a comprehensive checklist of what to look out for, and be able to advise upon prevention as well as cure.
A good team will monitor the amount of grass they mow with each turn, assessing the health of the pitch in accordance with the amount they collect. Likewise they will avoid common mistakes such as over seeding, avoid using sand to cover up patches, ensure effective watering in warmer months, and employ quality top-soiling over fallow periods to return the surface to great health.
Professional services that have been outsourced are also often much cheaper than the team employing their own staff whose standards and application may not be close to the same standards.