The performance of a sports surface is quantified for a number of reasons and by a range of methods. Four categories of surface performance testing are proposed: category 1, to determine compliance with minimum standards; category 2, to assess the overall quality of surfaces across different tiers of sport; category 3, to inform management intervention (construction and maintenance); category 4, to inform research into sports surface engineering, equipment development, the biomechanics of sports performance, and sports injury. The majority of testing in the UK falls into category 1, particularly for synthetic surfaces. Performance quality standards (PQSs) are a system for the quantification of natural turf surface performance and are suitable for category 1 testing but in this study the suitability of the PQS approach for category 2 and category 3 testing was considered in the objective statistical analysis of data from football (soccer) and cricket in the UK. Analysis determined that a PQS is suitable for category 2 testing but that a weighting system for individual components should be developed. Development of a system of decision support based upon PQS data will enable PQS systems to be used for category 3 approaches, although a coherent decision support system is not currently available. The limitation of this type of testing for category 4 was also considered.
Keywords: sports surface performance; performance quality standards; principal components analysis; cluster analysis; football; soccer; cricket