Different types of practice fields: Important for style of play

BC Place Stadium

BC Place Stadium

In professional soccer, teams have a specific way they prefer their pitch to be. It’s so specific, that they monitor how often they like to have their grass watered and make sure that the grass is a specific length. When the match result is not what a team expects, it seems as though the pitch is used as an excuse to justify the outcome.

In March 2012, after a UEFA Champions League quarter-final game against AC Milan, FC Barcelona, “lodged a formal complaint to UEFA regarding the state of AC Milan’s pitch.” That’s one of many incidents of “pitch-blaming” seen in professional soccer.

When this excuse is used it poses the question, does the field that you practice on have an impact on the way you and your team plays in a game?

Every place that you can practice dictates the type of game you play, and each has its pros and cons. Whether you’re in Vancouver, Spain or England, the winter season brings about sudden changes in weather and rain.

This causes many club teams to make the decision to practice indoors in a gym rather than have the risk of being unable to practice due to weather conditions. This allows the team to have uninterrupted practice despite the weather. The floor of the gym makes the ball roll much faster than it would on a grass field.

As Metro Women’s Soccer League player Courtney Celentano points out it, “makes your reactions quicker when placed in a real match,” even if that match is being played on grass.

However, because the gym is so small, teams are unable to practice their big kicks and crosses. As Celentano’s teammate Allie Lescisin points out, that this may be a problem for defenders because, as a defender you have to be able to clear the ball. And without having the opportunity to practice those big kicks, a defender is more likely to mis-clear the ball in a real match.

Is there a happy medium? What type of field lends itself to all the needs a team would want? Perhaps an artificial turf field, where the grass is fake but it is the proper size field. The ball moves faster than on grass, and defenders are able to practice their clearances, as well as their passing accuracy.

However, maybe their is not just one straight answer. The field that a team practices on should be dictated by the team’s style of play, whether you are a passing team or a team that prefers the tactic “kicking and chasing.”

Shea Thomson

Journalism student, and future Sports Broadcast Journalist, with a passion for the beautiful game of soccer.

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