ESSMA Pitch Management Workshop: the Highlights
This year’s Pitch Management Workshop was organised at St George’s Park, the Football Association's national football centre. Over 25 ESSMA Member from 8 countries learned insights and shared knowledge linked to multifunctionality, pitch maintenance, diseases, renovations and the transition between football and rugby.
The first topic of the ESSMA Pitch Management Workshop focussed on the multifunctional use of the pitch and its consequences. First of all, Stuart Caine - CEO of Wasps Holding Ltd.- talked about the organisation of non-sports events in the Ricoh Arena and the opportunities and challenges that come with it. He shared Ricoh Arena’s experiences of last summer, when they arguably organised too many events, which put the pitch under so much stress that it had to be replaced. Secondly, Dan Sparks - Head Groundsman at Ashton Gate Stadium - talked not only about the consequences of groundsharing and how this influences his team from day to day. But also about the renovation at Ashton Gate Stadium, its multifunctional use and the importance of data measuring in pitch management.
Next, the group embarked on a guided tour around the Saint George’s Park facilities. After a tour of the indoor facilities including the player’s hotel, fitness centre, changing room and hydrotherapy room, Scott Brooks - Head Groundsman of Saint George’s Park provided more in-depth info on the training pitches and the indoor pitch.
To conclude Day 1, participants took part in an interactive group discussion to share and discuss their own experiences and challenges and to learn from their colleagues.
On Day 2, Becky Bullock - Senior Account Manager at St George’s Park - and Scott Brooks shared more insights on the development and day-to-day management of both the facilities and the training pitches at Saint George’s Park as well as how to recognise and deal with pitch diseases by Kate Entwistle - Researched at the Turf Disease Centre.
During the last part of the ESSMA Pitch Management Workshop, Scott Brooks and Kate Entwistle got the chance to follow up their theoretical presentations with some practical examples, as participants were taken on to the pitches of Saint George’s Park and shown how to take qualitative pitch samples for lab analysis. They also got the chance to see the Saint George’s Park grounds team in action as they were just renovating two pitches.
Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.
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