If you walk around universities, colleges, schools, public parks, and many other places chances are you will find an all-weather pitch installed in the premise. Also known as MUGA pitch, an all-weather pitch refers to a pitch that is made using artificial grass and customized to include the turf and markings of the game that will be played on the pitch. A lot of growth has been witnessed since the first artificial turf was used in 1965 during a major league baseball game involving the Houston Astros baseball team.
A lot of sporting activities such as rugby, basketball, football, tennis, cricket, hockey, lacrosse amongst others have since benefitted from the invention of artificial all-weather pitches. The pitches are preferred due to their low maintenance, high-quality performance, and long-life service as they can be used all year round regardless of the season/weather. The all-weather pitches have also taken away the cost associated with maintaining natural grass pitches to the delight of many., in particular, appreciate the all-weather pitches as their design and construction include underlays which have minimized the number of injuries that they experience.
The underlays lessen the impact from a fall by absorbing most of the shock from the fall. The evolution of in the design and build of all-weather pitches has seen ensured that there are different types of pitches available in the market. The pitches range from type 1 to type 9, and you are likely to find one of the pitches installed in sports arenas around the world.
Below are a few of the all-weather pitches from around the world that you have probably heard about or are likely to come across as you travel.
Wimbledon Tennis court:
If you know Serena Williams, Rodger Federer, or Rafael Nadal or you are just a tennis enthusiast then you have probably heard of the Wimbledon tennis court before. The Wimbledon tennis court is an International Tennis Federation (ITF) approved all-weather pitch. This pitch functions just like natural grass allowing the tennis players to utilize it as though they are playing on natural grass. Constructed with laser grading equipment, the pitch has a porous structure which ensures that it is free draining and the playing surface is of an extremely high-quality level.
Having hosted a lot of hockey tournaments including the 2017 European hockey championships, the Wagener stadium pitch is one of the best all-weather hockey pitches. Also known as the TX Elite, this pitch in Amstelveen, Netherlands has been designed in line with the standards set by the International Hockey Federation to offer the best high-speed play. The surface of the pitch has a multi-layer backing for added stability and features dense monofilament fibre with excellent foot grip.
Hosting major football tournaments, the Wembley stadium features an all-weather pitch that utilizes the Desso Grassmaster system. The pitch, however, is a mix of natural grass growing at the stadium and synthetic grass technology. The natural grass at Wembley 100% ryegrass mix that’s exclusive to Wembley and together with the synthetic turf, the combination is maintained using integrated undersoil heating, artificial lighting and a SubAir system thus ensuring the playing surface is not only world class but is also in line with most football associations.
Stade du Moustoir:
Home to FC Lorient, this stadium is also known as Stade Yves Allainmat, and is a multi-use all-weather pitch in Lorient France. Even though it is majorly used for football, this pitch can be used for many other sports, and it features AirFibr hybrid grass. The grass combines the naturally growing grass at the stadium with synthetic reinforcing fibres that make it resistant to damage. This all-weather pitch is ideal especially because the weather in Lorient is mostly rainy, and the hybrid grass provides players with excellent training conditions for enhanced agility and faster-paced gaming and training sessions.
Located in Foxborough, Massachusetts features synthetic monofilament fibre of the highest standards. The surface of the stadium is soft but durable and is player friendly offering excellent playability and performance. The synthetic fibre features proprietary heavy infill system that gives it the look and feel of natural grass.
Benefits of All-Weather Pitches
The increasing popularity of all-weather pitches is not without reason. These artificial pitches have numerous benefits for sports professionals and teams. Some of the benefits include;
- If the name doesn’t reveal it all ready, the first and most apparent benefit is these pitches are designed to withstand any weather and can be used all year long.
- The pitches are good for the environment as they use very little water and do not require pesticides for growth.
- The pitches look and feel natural, and to an untrained eye, it is very easy to confuse the pitches for natural grass.
- They require very little in terms of maintenance. Except for the occasional refill and brushing, you can forget about trimming, aerating and mowing.
- All-weather pitches are incredibly durable and long lasting. The occasional fibre refill and brushing keeps the fibre viable for use for a long time.
All-weather pitches are a great and smart way of utilizing small and large spaces for sports activities. This is because they are versatile and can be used for multiple sports by merely modifying the markings on the pitch a fete that natural grass pitches cannot achieve. Most of the pitches we have previously mentioned are professional sports pitches, but amateurs can use them.
The pitches have been created to optimize player capabilities due to the playing properties such as overlays, infills and free-draining porous surfaces that the pitches possess. The evolution of all-weather pitches is likely to continue as technology evolves and the chances of seeing pitches that are even more advanced than the ones mentioned are very high. With worldwide sporting events such as the world cup taking place every other year, we shall continue to see even better all-weather pitches being installed around the world in preparation for the games.
Nevertheless, it is advisable that a certified professional undertakes the job of installing an all-weather pitch to ensure proper installation and to avoid the possibility of players getting harmed.