the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grass or Turf?

Previously we explored the differences between grass and artificial turf (from the old Astroturf to the current FieldTurf). Several NFL kickers discussed their kicking adjustments for different surfaces. This month we expanded the conversation to include kickers, punters, snappers and coaches from various leagues... asking them which they prefer. Turf won the popular vote, while grass garnered lengthier responses.


"Turf, it's consistent, no holes. Usually it's an even surface, rain doesn't change it." 
- Nick Sundberg, Washington Redskins long snapper

"Artificial turf--smooth, level, and doesn't get torn up over course of game."
- Leigh Tiffin, Tiffin Kicking

"Turf - consistent footing."
- Rob Maver, Calgary Stampeders punter 

"I loved kicking/punting on Turf.  Nice and short turf "grass" strands.  Less potential drag on my leg swing!  Although I did love grass in the fact that I used it to mark a small "plant foot" spot before each kick."
- Chris Husby, Special Team Football Academy 

"Turf hands down. You don't have to worry about soft spots on the grass that may cause you to slip."
- Geoff Boyer, former Albany Panthers kicker

"I prefer field turf because you never have to worry about uneven ground, holes, muddy spots, ect... With field turf you get a consistent surface to snap on."
- Kyle Stelter, Sacramento Mountain Lions long snapper

"Field turf.  It gives you a consistent plant and spot every time you kick.  You never have to fight a dirt patch or clump of grass."
-  Tony Yelk, Elite Kicking Solutions

"Field Turf, because it generally means we're kicking indoors."
- Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings punter


"Favorite place to play for the stadium and field (grass) is AZ Cardinals. After that, any turf field because you don't have to worry about footing."
- Ben Graham, former NFl punter

"I’m a grass guy, I like kicking off grass because I feel more comfortable. But now that I’ve kicked on more and more FieldTurf fields now that I’ve been in the NFL, I’m kind of leaning towards the FieldTurf just because it’s more of a flat surface and you never have the bumps and divots that you get in grass fields."
- Connor Barth, Tampa Bay Buccaneers placekicker


"Good grass is the best. It's more natural and if you hit a little behind the ball you can swing through the grass and make up for it when turf can stop your swing a little. Bad grass is the worst tho. You can't plant and you can't kick. When you don't trust the footing it's hard to trust your routine. Turf is consistent so that is one good quality it has."
-  Stefan Demos, San Antonio Talons kicker

"I prefer grass because I feel I get better contact on the ball and my plant foot sticks much better than on FieldTurf. Also, I prefer grass because we all grew up on grass fields and the smell of freshly cut grass on a game day is priceless."
- Jared Guberman, Ultimate Kicking

"There is nothing better than good, low cut, natural grass. Knowing that you wont leave half your cleat on the ground if you chunk it a little bit makes for a more relaxed swing. Field turf is really good as well considering footing is never a factor. But well kept grass is the way to go."
- Juan Gamboa, San Jose SaberCats kicker 2011

"Grass: I love the smell of natural grass and it always reminds me of football. Depending on the quality of grass you are kicking on, I believe it's an advantage to kick on grass. One reason is it makes for a strong plant foot. The stronger your plant foot can grab grass, the better your chances of being stable and locked in to swing through the ball. One of the best venues I kicked at that had natural grass was at Auburn in 2005. Their field is so flat and is an amazing surface to kick off."
- Brian Jackson, Team Jackson Kicking

"I think that I have always preferred natural grass, provided it was in good condition.  Even if the grass wasn't perfect, I think that I still enjoyed kicking off of the "real stuff." Having to adjust to bad weather was a challenge of course, but it's football. While kicking for the Bucs, the old Tampa Stadium was voted the best field year after year while it was in existence. Its surface was amazing, even with its high crown.The old artificial turf, basically carpet, was not enjoyable, the traction was too good. My plant foot would not move at all and my foot inside would always slide up to the front, which did not feel good at all. The new field turf is much better, but there can be some issues. First, not all surfaces are the same. Some have longer blades of the fake grass. Plus, when it is new, the rubber pellets haven't settled yet which can cause problems when swinging to kick the ball on a PAT or FG. I know that holders are fond of the new stuff. There is a good chance of getting little rubber pellets in your eyes, up your nose, in your ear and even in your mouth. Let alone all over your arms and legs.Just the smell of natural grass and the fact that if I had to make a tackle, it could be seen on my uniform makes the real stuff worth it me."
- Michael Husted, NFL kicker 1993-2002, National Camp Series


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