Up Coming Events:

The STA SA calendar of events for the rest of 2017:

Nov 26th 2017 - STA Christmas Get Together.

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Talk with industry leaders and ask advice..
Talk to fellow industry staff and see what they have done to overcome an issue you are facing.. 

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Sports Turf Association of SA


Click the link below for event report:

STASA General Meeting April 2017

Example of Events Held:
On Wednesday the 20th of August, the STASA held its second formal Turf cricket pitch and sports ground seminar at the newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval. With 90 people booked for the event, they were all in for a big day with professional presenters lined up to deliver both theoretical and practical presentations.
After registration and a morning coffee, Tim Neilson kicked of the event with some anecdotes from his dealings with ground staff from other parts of the world during his involvement at the top level of cricket with coaching and more recently that of a team in the West Indies. Tim started to outline the importance for good surfaces for play at junior levels to keep standard high to maintain skill development and passion for the game.
Tim pointed out that as a coach of men, he spends a lot of time preparing them for competition and he sees similarities for groundsmen, in the preparation taken to have a surface ready for competition. For a quality surface, it takes hours of preparation at the right stages and having the ability to read the signs and know how to change things up when required. Understanding this skill comes with practice, training and strong networks to gain this experience.
See that a quality pitch is one that has its good points for the bowlers, has challenges and good points for the batters, and a surrounding surface safe and readable for fielders alike. Tim sees that through the media, some countries prepare pitches to suit the national teams strengths, but at a development level, a pitch must be suitable for all players. Ground staff know the surface they are preparing and the make up of the surface below, so get the best out of it.
In rounding out, Tim highlighted the importance of playing surface quality at a local level. And the continuity of these surfaces should be aimed for from a junior level to grade and then on to first class. All players aim to play in front of a crowd, and would ultimately love to play for the national team. He sees the premier league working and the pathways players have, is achievable.
We all ventured outside for some practical aspects of pitch preparation from Les Burdett, with Damian Hough and some of his staff demonstrating some tried and true techniques to apply for the upcoming season.
With some carful preparation, Les demonstrated how good planning and preparation could be the difference between a good deck and one not so good. One pitch had been pre watered well and another watered just before a roll. The use of fresh clippings was discussed to assist with the rolling process, to assist with the reduction of soil sticking to the roller and destroying the surface.
Participants were taken through the stages of preparation and planning philosophies in the demonstration with an emphasis on timing and its importance. But also how this timing can change, given different environmental factors. This led us into a morning break, with a view that we would return to look at how the demonstrations pitches would look different in the afternoon session.
After morning tea, Aaron Tuckfeild took the floor and highlighted the status of the quality of grade cricket and how the SACA had recently conducted a review. The key findings from the review pointed out that pitches wereto slow and had little bounce and not what players preferred.
As an action to this review, the SACA identified that they should take ownership of the management of all center wickets of grade cricket ovals. This would take a Manager to oversee this action and aim to make the management of the wickets more uniform and consistent. The Manager would manage relationships with contractors and field staff in conjunction with Council Management on ovals owned by Local Government. They would also liaise with clubs and ensure that industry best practices were being followed to ensure the consistency of preparation through to game day activities.
The SACA would also have monthly pitch and outfield inspections conducted by an independent contractor to track the progress of this new management practice. This action would also keep the ongoing management on track with clear KPIs to use. This overall strategic process will allow the ground staff to be committed to do a quality job and the Manager will assist them in the cause.
Craig James from the Onkaparinga Council was kind enough to present to the group an insight into the complex nature Local Government play in Sports Ground Management. It is not a case of one size fits all for grounds for many reasons. These include the use of the ground/s, the users of the ground/s, soil types, drainage, irrigation and turf type.
Many councils work on limited budgets for recreational areas and this can be impacted by environmental factors, different forms of sponsorship. To work around this, actions taken on grounds can fall into infrastructure or major projects. But sometimes modifications have to be made or thinking outside the square to get similar results.
Sometimes Local Government has to work to limited times frames and cant please everyone. This can be affected by short turn a rounds between seasons for different sports that use the same ground, weather conditions or community events.
Many Councils operate differently due to different resident demographics, topography and climatic conditions. The changing seasons from year to year can effect the activities and budgets that some councils work to also.
The Onkaparinga Council maintain around 44 hectares of sports turf areas covering sports like AFL, Soccer, Baseball, Rugby, Gridiron, and Athletics. The council manage these through field staff or contractors to care for the surfaces and allow the Clubs to concentrate on their core business of running the clubs. The management of the grounds includes renovations, mowing, fertilizing, disease and pest control, safety audits and event marking.
In rounding out, Craig identified that the key to this management process, is clear and effective communication between stakeholders. Education for understanding between these stakeholders then also reinforces the cooperation between the various users of the areas and facilities.
After Lunch David Egan went through some of the actions they would take when the oval would go over to cricket from the football season and then back again. One of the biggest factors they would have to manage would be the other events being held at the oval, like Soccer games, concerts and the Cricket world cup next year.
The Adelaide Oval does not have the budget that of the other states major ovals. The staff will have to be more innovative and use tried and tested techniques to tackle these hurdles. Some of these would include renovations, fertilizing programs and turf monitoring.
This then led into Les Burdetts discussion on plant nutrition and some key points to follow. Use good water, there is no point using saline water that will affect product you put down. Get it tested, or if access to mains is available, use it.
Asses the soils you are working with. There are companies here that can assist you get soils tests done and will advise of gaps that need to be addressed. Maintain a good relationship with these people as that will help when things go pear shaped.
Plan. Create a chart to work by that highlights when events happen and what actions are required before and after. This will assist other staff to know what is happening and assist when gaining access for funds required from finance managers.
Manage wear when you fertilize. Be prepared to flag or remove access for clubs when training. This will mean your relationship skills will be important. Work with coaches and officials and educate them on why actions you take will make things better for them.
Take photos of areas during the season that are an issue. This would include bog spots during the winter season and dry areas during the summer season. This will give you reference points to manage these when you can in the growing season or renovations. A good tip for low or high spots is to core and harvest the cores.
The event rounded out with a visit back outside to look at the pitches from the morning session. It became quite clear that the pre prepared watered pitch was far more workable.
We then moved over to the number two ground and looked at the progress of that pitch for an upcoming game. Les and Damian discussed and demonstration some pitch covers that use air for ease of application and management.
We ventured back inside for a turf question time forum, where participants could rack the brains of the guest presenter while ideas and question bubbled in their minds from the days presentations.
A big thank you to the Guest Speakers, SACA and Adelaide Oval for assisting the STASA run this event.