ESSMA Pitch Management Workshop at the Amsterdam ArenA: the Highlights

This year’s Pitch Management Workshop was organised at Amsterdam ArenA. Over 55 members from 11 countries learned insights and shared knowledge related to multifunctional pitch management, dealing with weather and data tracking. Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to visit both the pitch of Amsterdam ArenA and the training facilities of AFC Ajax.

Day 1

To kick off the Pitch Management Workshop, Paul Baas and Arjan Knottnerus guided participants around the pitch and machinery area with information regarding pitch maintenance and how they implement and use the collected data.

The first topic during the workshop focused on multifunctional pitch management. Paul Baas and Arjan Knottnerus, responsible for the Amsterdam ArenA pitch, shared their experience and insights. With over 240 hours of use per year and two events during the football season, they opted for a hybrid lay & play system of GrassMaster Solutions. Sunlight and airflow are the main challenges of the Amsterdam ArenA, mainly linked to the design of the stadium.

Furthermore, participants took part in a group discussion focussing on the process of preparing the pitch for a non-sport related event including protocols and pitch protection. 

Part two of Day 1 focused on dealing with weather and its impact on the pitch. Sebastian Breuing, Head Groundsman SV Werder Bremen, showed how they are using several systems (weather forecast station, thunderbolt warning, etc.), what they’ve learned so far and ideas for future implementation related to weather management.

Furthermore, Jan Gijzen and Arno Harmsen shared the snow disaster case of FC Utrecht when they had to prepare the pitch for a match during snowfall, their lessons learned and how to avoid similar disasters in the future. Last to take the stage was Abdelkrim Djelloudi, Groundsman at the Algerian FA. He talked about the impact of heat on the pitch and shared best practices related to irrigation, height of the grass, deep grass roots and more.

Day 2

Participants took part in an extensive visit to the AFC Ajax training centre ‘De Toekomst’:

  • ‘School van de Toekomst’: educational programme for the youth players of AFC Ajax
  • Pitches: clarifying the use of all pitches at the facilities including the matchday pitch, training dome, etc.
  • Athletics track with built-in data sensors to track the players
  • Hangar with all machinery used for the pitches

To wrap up the Pitch Management Workshop, Arthur Berends focused on data tracking. At Amsterdam ArenA, they use several multifunctional tools for optimal pitch care including heat maps, robot mowers, crop temperature, etc. Furthermore, he showcased their pitch dashboard in which they analyse temperature, EC value, humidity, etc. With the help of 15 sensors integrated in the pitch and 30 sensors around the stadium, they are able to collect all the data.


Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.


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Posted on 20/04/2018 in: