Proper sports gear is important for play, not just because you want to look the part, but also because of safety issues. But what if you are all kitted out and ready to play, but the match gets cancelled due to a soggy pitch or field? The disappointment is acute. Nothing can beat the feeling of playing on Natural grass sports surfaces, however, there are limitations. Natural grass cannot withstand extreme weather conditions owing to its delicate and fragile nature. As a result, artificial playing surfaces have gained popularity, which allow players to enjoy and play their game irrespective of the weather conditions. This is so because artificial sports surfaces are made from synthetic materials like polypropylene. This material is unaffected by rain or extremes of temperature. Furthermore, the construction of the pitch is such that proper drainage channels are built into the foundation, so that the pitch does not get flooded or soggy even after heavy rains. The artificial turf is filled with sand or rubber which provides stability to the surface. The base is made up of an impermeable material, making it weather proof and safe to play on.
Artificial turf first came to prominence in 1965, when AstroTurf was installed in the newly-built Astrodome in Houston, Texas. Since then, these sports surfaces have gained popularity.
Some of the reasons why synthetic sports surfaces are preferred over natural grass are:
Artificial sports surface are more economical in the long run
It is weather resistant
It requires minimum sports surface maintenance.
It exhibits uniform playing characteristics
It offers protection to players from injuries due to sliding and falling, because of an inbuilt shock pad.
In addition to these advantages, one of the main features of synthetic outdoor sports facilities is that it can be designed as to exhibit different playing characteristics, to meet the requirements of different sports. Different types of outdoor sports pitches include In-filled artificial turf made of polyethylene, In-filled artificial turf made of polypropylene, Sand-dressed artificial turf, and Unfilled artificial turf.
In-filled artificial sports surfaces can cater to a wide variety of sports. This is because these pitches exhibit different kinds of playing characteristics by varying the length and the density of the synthetic grass fibres. Not only this, these artificial outdoor surfaces are natural in appearance, skin and joint friendly, and possess shock absorption features. Thus, their use has also been approved by international sports associations like FIFA and UEFA.