Loughborough University
Thesis-2013-ElKati.pdf (6.46 MB)

Effect of mechanical behaviour of artificial turf on player-surface interaction in soccer

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posted on 2013-06-03, 13:25 authored by Rene El Kati
This study aimed to extend the knowledge on player and surface loading by contributing new data in relation to a greater range of movements, relevant in-game scenarios and on carefully controlled third generation artificial turf surfaces. This was done by selecting soccer relevant movements and in-game scenarios for a player movement study with the help of a player focus group and questionnaire. Furthermore, four surfaces were created with surface hardness and rotational traction values at the upper and lower limits of the standards set by FIFA. The study showed that both the surface hardness and rotational traction properties can affect the human movement dynamics, though these effects were mainly present during the stop and turn manoeuvre. During the stop and turn manoeuvre the soft and high traction surfaces conditions led to increased frontal plane moments as well as increased average ground reaction forces during mid-stance. In combination with decreased ground contact times it appeared that the players were able to decelerate / accelerate faster and generate a larger force on the soft and high traction surfaces. During peak push off it appeared that the players were able to generate a larger force on the hard surfaces, which also led to a significant increase in plantar flexion moment. While some parameters showed an effect for surface hardness and / or rotational traction across all four surface conditions, for others such as the knee valgus, hip extension and hip internal rotation moment showed only a significant effect between two of the four surfaces. At the same time the other surfaces showed either no effect or the opposite effect. This suggests that the effects of the surface hardness can be influenced by the rotational traction properties, and vice versa. Regarding the jumping / heading manoeuvre the effects of the surface conditions were limited. This may have been related to the high demands of the movement, or to limitations of the mechanical measurement methods. In addition to the effects of surface properties on human movement dynamics the study also showed that the mechanical measurement methods may not be representative of the human loading. The impact force conditions of the advanced artificial athlete were substantially different to that of the stop and turn and jumping / heading manoeuvre. Whereas for the rotational traction test the study showed that the rotation of the foot during the ST was substantially less than the minimum 45° required by the FIFA guidelines. Regarding the inclusion of in-game scenarios the study showed that both the simulated opponent used for the stop and turn manoeuvre, and heading a ball during a maximal vertical stop jump manoeuvre can affect the human movement dynamics. During the stop and turn with a simulated opponent the frontal plane moments in the lower limbs were significantly increased. However, this increase in joint loading could not be related to any changes in movement strategy. During the landing after heading a ball during a maximal vertical stop jump the players used a different landing strategy by landing in a more upright position and increasing the ankle plantar flexion ankle just before lading. This allowed for a larger change in the ankle plantar / dorsi flexion angle to absorb the impact of the landing. In addition to this, the heading manoeuvre also led to a significant increase in the frontal plane joint moments of the lower limbs. For future studies it is recommended that a combination of surface properties is used to gain insight into how these affect each other regarding the effects they have on human movement dynamics. In addition, they should provide detailed information on the surface design as well as the properties. Regarding the quantification of the properties it is recommended that in addition to industry standards the surfaces are also quantified using conditions closer to those expected within the study. It is also recommended that future studies incorporate in-game scenarios in order to gain more insight into the effects of interventions that simulate actual match situations.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Rene El Kati

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en