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School districts and communities make a concerted effort to find new, creative ways to provide engaging and fun activities for children in their area. When embarking on these projects, organizations can discover that available space is an issue, or perhaps even safety of the participants is difficult to ensure. A new trend in densely populated cities across the United States, borrowed from an already established fad in Europe, is the installation of a mini pitch that can be used for 5-a-side soccer or box lacrosse.
Our team has installed a number of these systems, also called InPlay, throughout the Midwest for school districts and municipalities, alike. They include a 5,000-7,500 sf synthetic turf field, lined for soccer and lacrosse, and are enclosed with fencing or netting. The systems can also include the use of a shock absorption pad under the turf and typically an organic infill to help mitigate the heat.
These mini pitches can provide many benefits and opportunities:
The reason these installations grew in popularity, in European cities is because they are typically constructed over an existing tennis or basketball court, even some old parking or dirt lots. Even though they include a synthetic turf field, there isn’t the need for base construction and they can simply be installed on the concrete or asphalt.
Many of these spaces were unkempt over the years and created an eyesore for the area, allowing for the ability to repurpose and establish a usable play area for kids in the surrounding community.
Utilizing a mini pitch can provide more areas on campus that allow athletes to perfect their craft, which gives them added benefits of:
While they can be used for pick-up games or organized competition, they can also provide an additional space for organizations with a packed facility schedule that just need somewhere to house practices, training, etc. for their athletes.
Considering they’re installed over old courts or parking lots, the field and the system itself can bring some added green space or color. The panels that create the box around the field can be decorated with advertising or school colors, to bring additional life to the small area.
Each InPlay or mini pitch system is constructed with panels and netting to create an enclosed area around the field for participants to safely play soccer or lacrosse. In addition, doors or gates can be locked, if extra safety is necessary.
We’ve installed mini pitches in many diverse areas – an old basketball court at a school in downtown Cincinnati or an accessible playground at a large inclusive athletic complex. The consensus is clear for organizations that make use of a system like this: it provides the ability to bring the community together for common activities.
If you have a space that needs repurposed and you’d like to see if it’s a candidate to utilize InPlay, contact us to get more information and speak with a member of our team!