In recent weeks it's been hard to switch-on the news without the weather featuring as a headline story. When it comes to us enjoying our weekly dosage of sport, our love of football often gets cancelled due to bad weather. Teams up and down the country are receiving that dreaded email saying 'Football is cancelled.'
We ourselves have not escaped the weather, having had fixtures both home and away moved or switched. Yet we are lucky that as a club Clifton United have access to and fortunate to use an artificial turf pitch known as a Third Generation (3G).
Having this artificial surface available has meant we can maximise the time available for our players to play. Providing player's with more opportunity to perform is clearly going to increase their ability. Yet it is important that we are maximising the quality of the time we have to train and play to.
Historically discussions about the state of youth football in England have focused around the quality of coaching and content being taught. But there has been little prominence given to the type of facilities players have been exposed to. Although currently unplayable; many pitches even with improved weather conditions are not fit for purpose.
The importance placed on technique and creativity is clear and justified. Young players are encouraged to deliver accurate passes and control the ball consistently, but this is will always be a challenge on uneven, poor surfaces many play on.
As a coach I would suggest the virtues of playing on 3G pitches are clear. A truer surface that allows players to express themselves can only be a good thing. Having a surface that promotes accurate passing can help improve a player's ability.
I feel confident that as a club our 3G pitch provides young players with the facility to play in almost every weather condition. Being able to consistently play football through rain and shine allows us to enjoy more football, strengthen our game and grow as a club for now and the future.