How to keep your ground playable: come rain or shine.
Stay vigilant and take action as soon as you can!
In order to keep your players happy and motivated it’s important that you keep your ground in a decent condition – fail to do so and you might well find that your players will leave to play at another ground that offers them better facilities. Regardless of what sport you host, it’s crucial to take good care of both the ground that you play on, as well as the amenities that come with it, they are a source of pride for your players, members and supporters.
I’ve put down just a few suggestions for what you should keep an eye out for in order to keep your pitch in good condition:
Dumping & Fly-Tipping
For many people a large open green space is a wonderful thing, especially in a built up urban city area, however there are the minority who see this green space as an opportunity to dump unwanted construction materials, broken white-goods and other such trash that they might otherwise have to pay to dispose of. Fly-tipping is a nationwide issue that affects landowners across the country, for sports clubs it can be a real nuisance as club members and groundsmen have to allocate precious time to getting rid of this refuse, rather than spending time on working the ground.
How to avoid it? Make sure grounds are inaccessible to the public when it’s not in use. Strong, high gates and fences might not look very attractive but neither does a tip’s worth of rubble
Whilst it’s always good to know that your grounds is being used, sometimes a lovely green open space can attract the kinds of people who might undo the good work that your groundsmen have been doing. Under-age drinkers, delinquents and dog walkers are just a few of the people who can disturb well-laid turf, leave scattered piles of rubbish, light fires and generally cause a nuisance – this isn’t good for the reputation of the club and it certainly isn’t good for the ground.
How to avoid it? Short of keeping a nightwatchman on duty whilst the club is out of use, it can be hard to stop unauthorised users. A top security system and anti-vandal measures can help keep people out though.
Stay Vigilant for Invasive Plants
Britain is a country of avid gardeners which, as nice that sounds, does have its downsides…this country is plagued by numerous invasive plants that are incredibly hardy, fast-growing and can give even the fittest groundsman a heart-attack. Giant hogweed, Rhododendron ponticum, Himalayan balsam and, of course, Japanese knotweed can all play a part in making your ground unplayable, so it’s vital that you keep an eye out for all off them.
How to avoid it? Constant vigilance and immediate action are what’s required to keep on top of invasive plants. Sites like https://www.knotweedhelp.com offer advice and professional treatment services for those serious about treating their grounds.
Protection from the Elements
Any groundskeeper worth their salt will be able to tell you how much rainfall and sunlight affects a pitch on a day-to-day basis. If you’re hoping to get consistent games on your ground and make sure that your players become comfortable playing at home then you should protect the vulnerable sections of your ground from any unnecessary water or sun-damage. A cricket wicket that has not been protected from the rain is not worth playing on and could lead to your club being fined by governing body of your league.
How to avoid it? Investing in covers is a must for any grounds that are used during the summer months, the English weather is unpredictable so it’s good to have a man close by to protect the ground as and when.