Fastpitch Masters Blog
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What to Expect Dirt vs Turf
The smell of dirt and fresh cut grass is a staple for softball games, but over the years we’ve seen more turf fields and indoor facilities being built. Switching from dirt to turf can come with some minor challenges, but some even prefer turf over dirt. This blog will provide tips on what to expect when playing on turf for the first time.
- Cleats. One thing people don’t always think of is that some turf fields require players to wear either no cleats or strictly rubber. If attending a tournament or camp with turf be sure to check what kind of footwear is allowed.
- Hops. We see the bad hops from rocks and clumps of dirt, but don’t expect this from a turf field. Many people love playing on turf for the lack of bad hops it presents. However, the turf isn’t as efficient as slowing a ball down like dirt and grass so expect the ball to come at you at a faster pace than normal. Along with this the ball is also more likely to bounce higher on turf which can result in misreads on balls or even high enough to bounce over a player.
- Sliding. Because there is much less friction on turf than dirt your slides may be a little crazy at first. The most common mistake when sliding on turf is sliding right past the bag. Players will slide much farther on turf, meaning it is important to make sure you can grab the bag to slow you down in case you slide past.
- Wet turf. If you’re playing on a wet turf field that doesn’t allow cleats it can be a nightmare. Certain turf can become very slick with rain and players must use caution when playing in these weather conditions.
- Hot turf. This isn’t an issue, but more of a warning that on a hot day the heat of turf surpasses that of a dirt field. Rubber pellets in turf are normally black which make them attract the sun more, creating heat waves on the field. When playing outdoor tournaments on turf in extreme heat make sure this extra heat is taken into account.
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