Astro Turf was first adopted for use in sport by baseball. Its inaugural usage in the Houston Astrodome paved the way for other teams and other sports to cover their own pitches with it, and in fact coined the name as well. Originally called Chem Turf, the name was swiftly changed due to popular usage of the term Astro Turf.
In fact, Astro Turf itself has almost become obsolete in its original form, but the colloquialism still stands as the most popular name for all forms of artificial grass.
Why Use Astro Turf?
There were many initial advantages for the use of artificial turf in sports. It is relatively low maintenance, extremely hard-wearing and can be laid almost anywhere without sunlight and irrigation considerations. The durability makes it ideal for training, where real grass pitches could become churned up and unsuitable for use by game time. It is obviously better for indoor arenas, and resists the heavy usage likely to occur in most sports.
Yet some disadvantages became apparent fairly quickly – the artificial surfaces had much less give than grass fields, and players often found themselves with far more serious injuries than they may otherwise have incurred. This was especially true in sports such as soccer, where players were likely to be sliding on the ground, and kits did not cover all the skin.
However, the new generation of synthetic grass, Field Turf, uses polyethylene fibers, which cushion a fall in much the same way as real grass does. Astro Turf and its new generation brothers make play in ball games much faster, and they give a far truer bounce as well.
The advantages of this are obvious, as players can throw the ball longer distances by utilizing a bounce, safe in the knowledge that the ball will not hit a divot and veer off to the left or right. Also, the lines for the field of play are sewn into the original design, so there is no risk of them fading and making it harder to call out.
The main benefit of training on Astro Turf or Field Turf is that it doesn’t mess up the surface of the pitch. Often, teams are reluctant to practice on their match pitches, as in some weathers it can then make the surface unplayable for days afterwards. Training on synthetic grass has no effect on the playability of the surface, so teams can go all out in practice as well as during a match.
This post was written on behalf of Hi-TechTurf.co.uk
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