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Elite players’ perceptions of football playing surfaces: A qualitative study

journal contribution
posted on 22.10.2019, 11:18 by Jonathan Roberts, Paul Osei-Owusu, Aimee Mears, Andy Harland
Purpose: The decision by the International Football Association Board in 2004 to approve the use of artificial surfaces in elite football (soccer) competitions remains controversial amongst many players, managers and coaching staff. The aim of this study was to conduct a comprehensive assessment of players’ opinions to better understand the influence of playing surfaces on the game of football and identify factors that may contribute to differences of opinion. Method: Qualitative data were collected from 103 elite footballers and 21 coaching staff during a series of interviews and focus groups. A thematic analysis was conducted to identify patterns in the data. Results: Players considered that the type and condition of a playing surface influenced ball-surface interactions, game play, tactics/strategy, footwear selection, movement, risk of injury and fatigue. Together these influence a player’s perception of the suitability of a surface and also their mindset, which could ultimately affect their performance. Conclusion: The majority of participants in this study expressed a higher preference for natural grass over artificial turf pitches. A perceived increased risk of injury on artificial turf remains a primary concern despite a lack of supporting evidence in research studies. To address this discrepancy, the reporting of muscle soreness and the effect of constant surface switching merit further consideration. Not all participants shared the same views and player characteristics such as age, surface experience, injury history and playing style/position were found to be potential factors that could account for differences in elite players’ opinions regarding the surfaces used in football.

Funding

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

History

School

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Volume

91

Issue

2

Pages

239-251

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© SHAPE America

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport on 24 October 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02701367.2019.1660757.

Acceptance date

22/08/2019

Publication date

2019-10-24

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0270-1367

eISSN

2168-3824

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Aimee Mears. Deposit date: 21 October 2019

Exports

Loughborough Publications

Categories

Exports