Striping For Several Sports

“Many municipalities are looking to turn over their multi-use natural-grass fields to synthetic as the natural grass fields just cannot accommodate all of that use.”

McCamy says that football, soccer, and lacrosse have become his main concerns in terms of marking.

“While these three sports still hold the most demand, baseball has created a new dimension in multi-purpose fields, and that is growing tremendously,” he adds. “The combination of sports for multi-purpose fields does not create challenging design issues, but it can create a busy look, which is all about user preference.”

Synthetic-turf builders can inlay lines when turf is installed; in general, the brightest colors can be used for primary sports, with darker colors for additional sports. For example, one field might have white lines for football and yellow for soccer or lacrosse, while lines for other sports might be made in navy or silver.

The ultimate goal is to allow players and officials to have a clear sense of boundaries at all times.

In addition, line paint (temporary and permanent) is marketed for use on many artificial-turf fields; before applying anything, park managers are advised to obtain recommendations from the company that installed the fields. In the right circumstances, a temporary paint can be used to great effect, says Cote.

“A common practice with synthetic fields is to cut in permanent ‘tick marks’ or small squares that denote certain distances for respective sport lines and then paint those lines on in season. This practice eliminates having multiple sets of permanent lines.”

While synthetic fields can be designed and built with a specific sport in mind (for example, a GMAX rating would be essential to a football field, and FIFA standards for ball roll and bounce would play into the design of a soccerplex), a multi-sport field will serve many purposes, and as such needs to provide a safe playing surface with uniform results for athletes. Those who are looking into adding a synthetic field should work with the builder to provide all information on sports that will be hosted in order to have the best possible outcome.

Maintenance Crew

One of the major bonuses of the synthetic field is that it is, well, synthetic. It doesn’t require mowing, weeding, fertilizing, and so forth. But that can lead to a sense of complacency, say builders.

Even synthetic turf fields need regular maintenance. Photo Courtesy of Beals Alliance, Folsom, CA

“Synthetic-turf fields are not maintenance-free,” says Cote. “Rather, they are a lower-maintenance alternative to natural grass. Many manufacturers will include maintenance equipment such as groomers and tine rakes in their price.

“Managers should follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for frequency of grooming. Ensuring that they have the proper equipment to clean, groom, and maintain the field is critical.”

McCamy recommends a periodic walk-through of the facility to look for problems.

“Make sure to check infill levels of high-traffic areas,” he notes. “It is recommended to brush/groom a field once or twice a year as well. Keeping excess debris off of synthetic fields is the only job you should have to worry about for a longer-lasting, better-looking field, and this can be done with a simple leaf-blower.”

The Inevitable

Remember too, that synthetic surfaces have a definite lifespan, and they will someday need replacement. A builder can help you look for signs of problems, and discuss how to prolong the useful life of the turf.

The multi-sport field is the all-season athlete of a park system. With proper care, it can continue to provide all-star performance for seasons to come.

Mary Helen Sprecher has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association. She has written on various topics relating to sports-facility design, construction and supply, as well as sports medicine, education, and health and industrial issues. She is an avid racquetball and squash player, and a full-time newspaper reporter in Baltimore, Md.

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One comment on “Striping For Several Sports

  1. Troy Thunstrom on said:

    Adapting fields with inlaid lines for various sports is not a difficult task. Removable paint, and specialized equipment for removing painted lines, makes this process available for the masses. See on the Synthetic Field Maintenance tab and see the unique capabilities of the Chameleon model of the Kromer Co, Field Commander line of tractors for maintaining athletic fields. Or call Troy Thunstrom 952-491-0369 for technical questions related to this process.

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