Artificial grass vs natural grass – Part 11
Another improvement that could be made to artificial fields is to somehow reduce the abrasiveness of them. Many players including myself have gone in for slide tackles, or simply been shoved over only to come off the artificial turf all cut up. Now I don’t mean the occasional graze, that is just apart of football. I mean, taken a few layers of skin off to say the least.
The abrasiveness also has an impact on football boots and balls as well. Football boot brands now have specific built boots for artificial grass. These boots tend to feature a higher gum and rivets that attach the soleplate to the upper part of the boot. This is because artificial grass fields have been known to split boots as a result of wear and tear. I have experienced this myself when I had a pair that split after 10 weeks of wearing them relentlessly on artificial grass when they were made for natural grass or “firm ground”.
Footballs have also had to change, and I believe the outer shell of the ball is made slicker so that it slides across the surface rather then gripping and spinning on it. The gripping and spinning eventually leads to scratches and then tears. This can initially alter the way the ball moves, but then later can lead to holes rendering the ball unusable. Although I have never seen or used an artificial grass football, I know that they are out there. So, what is the solution.
America has been using synthetic and artificial fields since way before Australia. Hence you would assume that they are a little more advanced on the quality of fields provided. Allegedly on some fields in America they use a sand, nutshell and rubber combination in conjunction with the plastic grass. This apparently acts in a way that is a lot like the conditions provided by natural grass. Players do not get torn to shreds every time they go to ground.
I have also heard of hybrid plastic and real grass fields. However, this to me defeats the purpose of having artificial grass as it means you must be able to maintain the hybrid field more than you would a full artificial grass field.
Regardless if there was a way to reduce the abrasiveness of artificial grass whilst being able to keep all of the benefits it provides it would certainly provide a better experience.