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benji

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Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 2,872
Reply with quote  #1 
Guess what... I just got the following from our school district maintenance folks:

"What is the optimal height of the grass on a soccer field? What height of grass would you be willing to play on? I'm working with the Grounds crew to get it to a playable length."

Hallelujah!  Can you believe it?  However, now I need to know the answer, in inches.  Assume Kentucky bluegrass, clay soil.  Any groundskeepers here know the best answer?

FWIW, I found both 1" (seems really short) and 2.0"-2.5" in documents on the internet.


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TheGiss

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Registered: 09/28/05
Posts: 5,532
Reply with quote  #2 
I think we have a mix of bluegrass and bentgrass, but it is cut to 1.5" on our practice field. Left a little longer in summer, at my request. If heavy clay soil, maybe leave it a bit longer if it is expected to take a lot of rain.
They also roll my practice field about every ten days- two weeks, which helsp immensely.
Our match field is shared with the pointy team, so I have no say.

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AFB

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Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 6,365
Reply with quote  #3 
Benji,

there are some other factors you may want to consider.  How fast is your team, how fast are your opponents, how good is your team in the air and in striking accurate balls in the air.  The longer the grass the more it will slow down fast teams, effectively neutralizing that advantage a bit.  The same is true for a short passing game played on the carpet; long grass will slow it down, but will not slow down the air game.  A poor touch is exposed more on short grass than on long grass, which will slow the roll away from a player.

There is not an optimal height.  There is a range.  Within that range you may want to use the height to your advantage,

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benji

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Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 2,872
Reply with quote  #4 
AFB, good point, I was thinking about the "health" of the grass as much as anything, and the fact that I know the typical 3" cut is too long for soccer.

I haven't really identified tendencies of our team to the point where longer or shorter will be to our advantage.  We have speed, but not across the board, and skill, but not across the board, and our opponents are similarly varied.  A short cut, for example, will benefit us in some matchups, and our opponents in others.  Plus, two other school use the same field.

I am just thrilled they are even asking, instead of turning the field into the overgrown swamp it has sometimes been in the past.


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johnmc09

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Registered: 02/27/09
Posts: 781
Reply with quote  #5 
Judging by a lot of videos featuring US youth players i have seen on the internet,I would have the grass as short as is possible.
This will help you develop a passing game and help the players be able to zip the ball around the field in comparison to other styles of play around the world.
EricMcGrath

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 7,792
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmc09
Judging by a lot of videos featuring US youth players i have seen on the internet,I would have the grass as short as is possible.
This will help you develop a passing game and help the players be able to zip the ball around the field in comparison to other styles of play around the world.


A high proportion of US soccer players play on Turf fields, John. Zipping the ball about and playing the passing game isn't the problem. Exposure to higher levels of play (i.e. watching the game at the highest level) is probably one of the biggest downfalls of the median US youth soccer player. There simply aren't enough players willing to watch the game for the enjoyment of watching outside of the top tier of youth players.
johnmc09

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Registered: 02/27/09
Posts: 781
Reply with quote  #7 
Well,I still say the shorter the better for playing football on.

How about cutting it to the same height as the all weather pitches in the local area?
benji

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Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 2,872
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmc09

How about cutting it to the same height as the all weather pitches in the local area?

You mean about 1/4"?   We play on artificial turf fields a few times a season.  A couple of the ones around here have the rubber infill almost up to the top of the "blades".  With that kind of installation, you might as well be playing on a pool table.

Not only are they asking our opinion for a change, but one of the district guys in charge is the father of one of my soccer players.  I think we will be able to get it to about a 2" cut, with a few weeks to get there from the current 4".

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Ned

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 4,990
Reply with quote  #9 
In July, I took a tour of Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.  The tour guide told us that United's manager, Alex Ferguson, has the grass cut to different lengths depending on United's opponents.  He actually holds a meeting with the ground staff and tells them exactly how long the grass should be for the next home game.  I found that very interesting - although I'm sure he's not the only manager who does that.
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CoachBobby

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 531
Reply with quote  #10 
Our "grass" on the rec fields is like walking through Vietnam. The grass is so damn high that my daughter can stand still and it will come up about 2 inches over her ankle and he feet are invisible!

The grounds keeper will NOT cut the grass to a playable length because the grass would turn more of a brownish color and it is all about perception to him. The greener the grass, the more people will think the field looks awesome.

Keep in mind the 7yos playing who don't have strong legs, so the ball rolls about 6ft. from a monster kick. Add wetness to it, from after a rain, and its useless.

/rant off
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