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Athletes practice and train to meet performance metrics so they can execute and bring home a W when it is game time. You want your synthetic turf field to do the same: perform when you need it to. To ensure the turf is excelling to match the effort your athletes are putting in, it’s beneficial to conduct regular performance testing on the field.
There are numerous performance testing options available that can cover a wide range of metrics for how your field is behaving and how it is interacting with your athletes. The tests can also provide insight into concerns for the turf and what remediation needs may be necessary.
The top things we find most valuable that field owners can learn from performance testing their turf are:
One key insight you can learn from testing your field, particularly through the GMAX test, is when to begin planning for replacement. A GMAX test measures the shock attenuation of your turf field, or how the surface is absorbing impact from athletes making contact with it. As a field ages, fiber breakdown may occur which can also lead to reduced infill depths and can begin to lose some of the shock attenuation. Many of our customers utilize our annual maintenance program, which includes a GMAX test. The owners, as well as our team who conduct the services, are able to keep an eye on how the numbers change throughout the years, and will give an early indication, with time to plan, when the field is nearing the need for replacement.
The health of your field can also impact the safety of your athletes. There are additional performance tests available that can measure other ways your field is interacting with the athletes playing on it. Through the Advanced Artificial Athlete (AAA) machine, there are three player safety metrics that can be collected:
Vertical Deformation is the measure of how much a surface gives underfoot. Athletes tend to like a firm surface to play on, which is important for game performance. However, it’s crucial that the field still has some give to protect ankles, knees, etc. Measuring the vertical deformation can ensure your field is playing to the athlete’s expectations, while also helping to alleviate unnecessary injuries.
Energy Restitution is the measure of how much energy as a percentage is returned from a surface to the athlete. This piece of the test is in line with vertical deformation, in that a field which is too soft or has too much give underfoot can lead to athletes exerting more energy and additional fatigue. The last thing a player wants during a big game is to lose energy when they need it most!
Shock Absorption is exactly as it says, the measure of shock absorption percentage by a surface. For reference, a lower score indicates a surface is harder and is absorbing less of the impact. A harder surface means the impact could vibrate back through the athlete’s legs. A higher score indicates a surface is absorbing a higher amount of the shock, with less vibration traveling back to the athlete’s legs.
We understand that there are quite a few testing options available today and it can probably be fairly daunting to decide what’s most important or even to digest all of the information one of these tests can provide. Our Motz365 team can work with our partners at Shaw Sports Turf to assist. Shaw has developed the patent pending Playability Assessment Tool, an innovative and comprehensive avenue to test field playability, covering many of the tests offered in the market and simplifying the results to the owner. Get in touch with our Motz365 experts today and learn how our performance testing capabilities can benefit you.