• Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Slipperiness of damp non-filled turf surfaces still problematic

The current non-filled synthetic turf pitches are still too slippery when damp or wet. An analysis of video recordings shows that every few minutes, a player loses his footing on such a field.

It is only a few years ago when contractors in the Netherlands had to replace their non-filled synthetic turf surfaces. Players vocally complained about the slipperiness of the surface. New synthetic turf systems were developed that were expected to solve the issue, but a study commissioned by the Dutch FA (KNVB) has ruled differently.

They asked a scientist from the Amsterdam University Human Movements Department to capture games in wet or damp conditions and to plot incidents where players went down.

“An analysis of the recordings showed a player falling down every few minutes, although the incidence-rate differed per system. Information for the various mineral-filled surfaces showed significant differences,” says Patrick Balemans of the KNVB.

10 different incident types

The slips or falls observed were assigned to one of 10 different categories. “It could be a slip or fall during a sprint, with or without the ball. There was also a group for slips or falls while making a pass or receiving the ball.”

In particular, slipping during a sprint without a ball, causing the player to fall, was observed the most. Slipping during a sprint without the ball but where the player remains standing was also repeatedly observed.

Insufficient feedback

The KNVB opted to do this research, as it is unsatisfied with the amount of feedback they have received for users of non-filled synthetic turf fields. All but one non-filled field in the Netherlands are still being considered as a pilot. One of the consequences of this status dictates that the municipality must obtain feedback from players. The information is used to guide the industry in further improving the product. As the KNVB felt this feedback was not forthcoming, they commissioned this study.


This coming Thursday, I will publish part two of my feature article on new developments regarding non-filled synthetic turf. Part one discussed product development. This time, I’ll focus on the research that is taking place behind the scenes.

Guy Oldenkotte

Guy Oldenkotte is senior editor of sportsfields.info and has been covering the outdoor sportssurfaces market and industry since 2003

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