Preparing pitches and racetracks for summer
Now that summer is almost here, thoughts inevitably turn to the numerous sporting championships coming up over the next few months. Yet whether your summer sport of choice is cricket, athletics, basketball or tennis, they all have one important thing in common – the need for a properly prepared and maintained the track, pitch or court. Grass, concrete, wood or AstroTurf all need extra care and attention in the summer months, due to increased footfall, exposure to hotter temperatures and the higher risk of fading from the sun amongst other things. Here’s how to ensure your sports hall remains performance-ready for an entire season.
A major component of any sports ground is the marking scheme applied to it. Whether that involves lanes and finishing lines or boundaries and goal areas, these must be clear and indisputable to ensure fair play. Summer is a great time to think about getting these lines remarked. The threat of rain and the hostile weather is not as great and the longer days and increased sunshine allow better visibility. Line markings can be applied using various materials, such as epoxy resins, paints and thermoplastics. Materials can include UV-resistance for longer-term visibility and match to any colour for consistency with any existing branding and line-marking schemes.
Groundsmen caring for grass pitches will usually have tried-and-tested methods for caring for and feeding their turf to help it stand up to the heavy demands put upon it week after week. However, other surfaces need attention too. Regular inspections for damage are essential, as is an effective cleaning routine and assessments for any potential health and safety risks, such as trailing wires, broken fences or barriers and peeling stickers and markings. Also, consider your warning signage– is it time to update or upgrade this to keep players and spectators safe?
Mind the gap
A hot sun blazing down on a concrete court or track can cause significant damage over time, including cracks that appear due to material expanding and shrinking as temperatures alter between night and day. While it may not be realistic to expect a totally crack-free surface, regular applications of a good solvent-based acrylic sealer in particularly vulnerable areas can help, as can injecting epoxy resin into existing cracks to smooth them off and prevent further harm.
Don’t fade away
The sun can cause significant fading to coloured pitches and to the lines marked on them. This is due to the UV rays contained within sunlight that break down the pigment in the colour. Again, a UV-resistant sealer applied to the coloured areas will help protect your colour for longer and this practice should be part of a regular sports ground maintenance programme, carried out every two to three years. Jet washing the areas can help too, as this removes the surface dust and dirt that cover up the vibrant colours and lessen their impact.