Hannah Reck1, Brandi Decoux1, Samantha Carson1, Daniel B. Hollander1, Megan Gordon1, Bovorn Sirikul1, Christopher Wilburn2, Wendi Weimar2. 1Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA. 2Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

BACKGROUND: Examination of athlete performance and perceptions across different playing surfaces has provided useful information to better understand athlete preferences, tactical alterations, and focus areas for industry/material science developers. However, much of the previous research on natural grass (NG) and artificial turf (AT) surfaces has been limited in scope to comparisons of only performance measures or only perceptual ratings. Additionally, fewer studies have assessed both performance and perception across multiple AT surfaces and NG within the same project. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of NG and different AT playing surfaces on athlete performance and perceived performance satisfaction. METHODS: Seventeen male participants (age: 23.1 ± 2.9 years; height: 1.81 ± 0.06 m; mass: 77.8 ± 9.9 kg) completed three 20-yard sprint trials and three change of direction (CoD) trials (i.e., 5-10-5 agility) on four playing surfaces-one NG surface and three AT surfaces with varying structural components. After completion of all performance tests, each participant then responded to a visual analogue scale (VAS) questionnaire for each surface regarding their satisfaction with the surface’s grip/traction and softness/compliance as well as their ability to change direction and accelerate. Friedman tests were conducted to compare sprint time, CoD time, CoD deficit, and the VAS scores across all surfaces. RESULTS: There were statistically significant differences detected for CoD deficit (χ2(3)= 9.071, p= 0.028), acceleration VAS score (χ2(3)= 10.089, p= 0.018), and softness/compliance VAS score (χ2(3)= 10.804, p= 0.013). Post hoc Wilcoxon signed-rank tests with a Bonferroni correction (a=.0125) revealed that CoD deficit on the third AT surface was larger than on NG (p= .008), the third AT was ranked higher for acceleration VAS score than the second AT (p=.003), and the third AT was ranked lower than NG for softness/compliance VAS score (p=.002). CONCLUSION: Interestingly, the participants in this study perceived the third AT to be a harder surface that they could accelerate better on, and yet CoD deficit, a measure that is improved by enhanced acceleration ability, was compromised on this surface compared to NG. These findings suggest that perceptions of the performance-related characteristics of AT and actual performance are not always congruent. KEYWORDS: Perception, Performance, Artificial turf, Natural Grass

This document is currently not available here.