3G football pitches are becoming more popular throughout the world, whilst in the UK, many Premiership clubs are already using them as part of their training facilities. But what is a 3G pitch exactly and how is it so beneficial to football from grass roots level upwards?
What Is 3G?
Firstly, it’s important to make a distinction between these new pitches and the types of Astroturf surfaces that some professional clubs had installed in the mid-1980s. Those pitches had many disadvantages including a high and irregular bounce. In addition, the surface itself could cause burns and other injury if you fell awkwardly or slid into a tackle along the pitch itself. The only real positive side to them was the fact that they allowed you to play in all types of weather.
With a 3G pitch, you have that clear advantage of an all weather surface, but the key difference is that the pitch itself not only looks like grass, it feels like grass too. It is safe to play on and it replicates the feel of a traditional football pitch. That is the very reason why clubs across the world are using 3G for their training facilities.
The usage goes further, however, as this type of pitch is being used by professional clubs in many parts of the globe. A 3G pitch was used for a European Championship qualifier between Russia and England back in 2007 and Dunfermline Athletic in Scotland and the New York Red Bulls in the U.S. also permanently installed it.
The Real Benefits
The advantage is very clear if you consider how much damage rain and other inclement weather can cause. We are all used to seeing perfect surfaces used in top-level matches in England, Spain, Italy and beyond, but as you move down the league ladder, the picture is much bleaker.
Around the UK, games at lower levels are being called off on a regular basis once the winter starts to set in. Without sufficient drainage, heavy rain can cancel a game in an instant whilst sharp frosts in the winter can also render a pitch as too dangerous.
This is a headache for those players who give up their time to play, but there is a knock on effect that filters its way right down through the club itself. Most, if not all, clubs affiliated to the FA will have a thriving youth section and it’s on these main pitches where youngsters hone their skills and perfect their game.
How 3G Hones Talent
Many of the game’s professional footballers in the UK started at this level, so there has to be a future when pitches are available all year round and that’s where 3G steps in. There is the clear advantage of year round availability, but the fact that 3G is actually replicating grass is another positive benefit.
In the future, maybe all football pitches will be 3G, but that won’t happen for many years. In the meantime, young players can build their talent on a safe surface that imitates grass and they will, therefore, be much more prepared when the time finally comes to play on the real thing. Just as many sports organisations are looking at tennis court resurfacing for similar reasons. Tennis clubs in the UK are looking to utilise 3G.
The unique surface can develop young skills and that factor can only serve to benefit the nation’s football as a result. The developers are very optimistic for the future of this innovation.
This post was written on behalf of Playrite