Contrary to what some people might think, the groundskeeping team aren’t the only ones responsible for getting a football field in good shape for the upcoming season. Sure, the groundskeepers are the ones who mow the field, keep it watered, aerate it, clean it, cover it with sideline tarps and handle other field maintenance tasks, but that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t take an active role in field management. The fact is that the safest, most beautiful football fields often result from a coordinated effort between the groundskeeping crew and the team’s coaching staff.
Why do coaches need to be involved in field maintenance?
Prevent Excessive Wear and Tear
Here’s a key example of how coaches and groundskeepers can work together for the common good: As practices start to ramp up during the preseason, teams have a tendency to practice in the same areas day in and day out. The problem is that this compacts the soil, wears out the turf, and creates unsafe playing conditions because the groundskeeping team is unable to properly treat those areas and allow them time to recover.
The solution to the problem is for the groundskeeping team and the coaching staff to work together to move the practice areas around to other parts of the field to prevent overuse and to allow for better field recovery after practices.
Dwight Hunter, Field Manager of North Syracuse Central Schools and Treasurer of Sports Turf Managers of New York, said that, “communicating with coaches so they have a better understanding that continued over use can really cause deterioration of the field to the point where it will cost lots to return the field to a playable condition,” is an important challenge of preseason football field maintenance.
Hunter continued, “The grounds manager and the coach need to work together to determine when conditions are just not safe enough to allow play.”
Identify Problems Early On
Because coaches spend hours on the field every day with their team, they are often the first ones to notice field issues. When there’s a good line of communication between the coaching staff and the groundskeeping team, coaches are able to relay these issues in a timely manner so they aren’t overlooked. By bringing the field issues to the attention of the groundskeeping team, they can take immediate action to rectify the problems before they worsen and lead to player injury or costly field repairs.
Football Field Maintenance: A Joint Effort
When everyone shares responsibility in football field maintenance, turf conditions improve and the athletes are able to enjoy a better, safer playing conditions. Proper communication from both parties — the groundskeepers and the coaching staff — is essential to making sure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal. Make field maintenance a joint effort this season!