May 17, 2019

Commentary Player Safety & Post Tension Concrete in Tennis Court Construction

Would you want your high school your track team athletes to practice and compete on bare concrete? How about your football team, basketball team, baseball team, lacrosse team, soccer team. What athlete do you know that does this? Tennis players! The time for building safe play areas for our young tennis athletes has come.

I recently article on court surfaces in Tennis Industry magazine and was shocked that professionals in the sports and engineering field , experienced in specifying athletic fields and running tracks, with high end shock attenuation and force reduction qualities are promoting the virtues of bare post tension concrete when it comes to the sport of tennis. What about protecting tennis athletes and extending their time on the court.

Shoe companies shout the shock absorbing qualities of tennis shoes in cushioning the athlete....come on who really believes this is the really the effective answer? Are we loosing some of the better athletes in school because of unsafe facilities?

How many high school tennis athletes are damaged, careers in tennis shortened because of substandard facilities? What happens to athletes that regularly practice and play on concrete? Joints, backs, leg fatigue, diminished careers, knee trama, ankle swelling. The fast paced game played on these unforgiving surfaces jolt the body. Parents that scream for protection to their high school athletes in sports don’t consider tennis. The fast paced serve and volley game promoted throughout the US is not developing better tennis players but is injuring countless possible future players that could be bringing the game of tennis back in popularity.

Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 1/6/1018 commented “Overall, recurrent injuries resulted in greater time away from sport, a higher risk of sport discontinuation, and a higher likelihood of surgical intervention. In tennis, the repetitive nature of high-velocity arm movements causes overuse injuries in the upper extremity while the sprinting, stopping and pivoting, and pounding motions place repeated rotational shear and loading forces on each joint of the lower extremities which, in turn, places the athlete at increased risk for acute and overuse injury. "

The problem is not that we do not have the technology, we do. Tennis is the only sport played on everything from grass, clay, crushed rock, synthetic turf, asphalt, concrete, rubber, urethane cushion, plastic tiles, carpet. Hard courts speed the ball up, creating more force on the arm, and keep the bounce lower. A few coats of paint may be pretty but it does not make a surface safe for young athletes.

Our public and private schools are not considering child safety when choosing tennis court construction. Schools should consider what bare concrete does to a young athlete. This is not to say that post tension concrete is not a good base, it is but the tennis surface needs to be more than a coat of paint. These player unfriendly facilities put schools and children at risk.

Lets grow the game by taking aim at keeping our young athletes healthier, safer from injury and the long term potentially effects of joint trama so they can continue playing careers in both recreational and in competitive environments. Maybe the USTA can help in bring back tennis by emphasizing safer surfaces to keep the athletes safer. Perhaps the American Sports Builders Association should work on solutions in construction. Lets all of us address this for the betterment of the game and our future in tennis. Rick Burke, President NGI Sports

Ask The Expert

Do you have any questions about any of NGI’s products, processes or anything industry related? Email burke@ngisports.com

Q. How long should the sub base be left to cure before installing the final surface?
Q. Are your all-weather Titan tracks environmentally friendly?
Q. What are the main criteria for selecting an athletic surface and supplier?
Q. Where have NGI Sports’ all-weather track and field surfaces been installed?
Q. How do I maintain my home Tennis court with your Pro Clay surface?
Q. How much does an NGI Sports surface Home Tennis Court cost?
Q. Does NGI Sports ever use any hazardous chemicals or materials in it’s manufacturing processes or installations?

July 15, 2019

Client of the Month: AllSport America

AllSport America Inc, has done business in N California and Nevada for the past 40 years. Part of their umbrella includes Sport Court Northern California and Boccee Builders of America. These operations focus on the residential backyard tile business for multisport applications and innovative bocce surfaces for both commercial and residential applications. Phil Park has been operating the business since 1979 and has successfully completed over 12,000 projects in his tenure.

Barrett Park, has worked at the business for most of his life from installing courts as a teenager to most recently managing sales. Recently the day to day operations of the business have been turned over to Barrett. Although Phil Park remains CEO of the company, working with Barrett as an advisor he has moved his focus to developing the bocce ball surfacing company named “Bocce Builders of America”. Barrett’s college sports experience and advanced business degree are now helping him to expand his core operations. He is expanding the operation to include a focus on NGI Sports “Overlay Renovation Technology”, building new and rehabilitating old tennis courts.

Expanding the focus of the core business to include the tennis court surfacing from NGI Sports, Barrett has hired, Lane Rutherford (from Oregon), to lead their NGI installation team. Lane has worked on projects across the USA installing the overlay systems and will allow AllSport to expand to install more successful projects. Presently, AllSport is working on 2 ProBounce tennis courts for a couple of high-end families, and has just secured a 2 court TitanTrax Air project for the City of Martinez, CA.

Barrett says ” Our team takes pride in our high-level of customer service and installation practices to ensure the client is taken care of from start to finish”. AllSport America is a Licensed General Engineering Company in both California and Nevada. Barrett Park is a Certified Tennis Court Builder, certified by the American Sports Builders Association.

July 15, 2019

Client of the Month: Court Makers, Inc

Court Makers Inc. has been in the tennis industry since 1976. They have been steadily growing through word of mouth referrals as well as direct contracts with the South's most prestigious clients.

A family business, Marshall Dye along with his daughters Bridget Davis and Eileen Johnson and son in law Dwayne David, run the day to day operations. Marshall is an avid tennis player, golfer and hunter, but probably loves his family and 5 grand children more than anything.

Most Tennis players in the Atlanta area have probably played on a tennis court designed, constructed, lighted or resurfaced by Court Makers.

Marshall works closely with the ALTA community, swim & tennis clubs, private country clubs, schools, private home courts, apartment courts and public courts throughout Georgia. As a leader in tennis court design, construction, resurfacing, lighting and equipment supply, Court Makers top priority is getting the job completed on time and in a professional manner.

Marshall Dye and the Court Makers team strive to be innovators in the market. Marshall is a certified tennis court builder with American Sports Builders Organization.

10 Years ago Marshall heard about the new TitanTrax Shield crack renovation technology through NGI Sports being introduced into the tennis community. Marshall drove to Chattanooga to meet David Burke and see the product in person. In that one meeting Marshall requested to be the exclusive representative for TitanTrax Shield in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.

July 15, 2019

Client of the Month: Court One

Court One was started in 1980 by two retired Navy officers in the Tidewater area of Virginia. They opened an office in Raleigh, NC to capitalize on the growth in the Triangle area of NC. In 1985, Gerry Wright purchased the NC operations with the idea of expanding Court One’s services of building and resurfacing hard tennis courts. Over the years Court One has expanded to two offices to better service our customers in NC, SC and VA.

Of course, a company’s success depends on the contribution of its management team and the competency of its crews. Vice Presidents Brian Wright (CTCB), Jon Wright (RA) and Branch Manager Rich Benson (past CTCB) guide the production crews and subcontractors. As a licensed General Contractor in NC, SC and VA, Court One oversees a variety of court and running track projects for both the public and private sector.

Not only has Court One expanded their office locations in North Carolina but also their services to include running tracks, clay courts, bocce, basketball, and pickleball. Court One was named “Builder / Contractor of the year by Tennis Industry Magazine for 2016.

Attracted by the challenge of constantly striving to provide a better product, Court One has embraced new technology and products that can provide customers more and better options for the repair of their courts. NGI continues to introduce innovative repair options. Now Court One not only does all weather tennis courts but has expanded their services featuring projects like NovaBocce courts at Carolina Arbors, cushion overlay systems like the new installation of 8 TitanTrax Xtreme tennis courts at the home of the 2016 mens state champion, Walter Hines Page HS in Geensborro, NC.

Court one Brian Wright also worked with the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Hornets' Michael Jordon to provide TitanTrax Xtreme cushioned basketball courts for the inner city basketball program. “We are excited to bring the Hornets Experience to these three neighborhood courts in Charlotte,” said Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield. “It is important to us to give back to the youth of our community, and we can think of no better way for them to show their love of both the Hornets and the game of basketball than by playing on Hornets-themed courts at their local parks. We also want to thank the NBA for demonstrating its continued commitment to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County by joining us in this effort.”


 

 

July 15, 2019

Concrete Thinking

Let’s make sure we’re putting in court surfaces that keep our athletes healthy.

Would you want your high school track team athletes to practice and compete on bare concrete? How about your football team? Or basketball team, or soccer team?

Do you know which athletes do play on what is essentially bare concrete? Tennis players! The time has come to do something to change that, and to build safe play areas for our young tennis athletes.

I recently saw an article on court surfaces and was shocked that professionals in the sports and engineering field—experienced in specifying athletic fields and running tracks, with high-end shock attenuation and force reduction qualities—are promoting the virtues of essentially bare post-tensioned concrete when it comes to the sport of tennis. What about protecting tennis athletes and extending their time on the court? How many players, especially young players, is our sport losing to injuries caused by hard surfaces? How many high school tennis players have to quit, their careers shortened because of substandard or unsafe facilities?

Shoe companies constantly tout the shock-absorbing and cushioning qualities of tennis shoes. Sure, this may help lessen the impact with the court surface, but is this really the most effective answer to a playing surface that is essentially a concrete pad?

The fast-paced game played on these unforgiving surfaces jolts the body, wreaking havoc on joints, backs, legs and more. Parents of student athletes in all sports want their kids protected, but often, parents of tennis players don’t even consider the surface the youngsters are playing on regularly. An aggressive serve-and-volley game on hard courts may not so much be developing better tennis players than causing long-term injury to countless players, who may well have to stop playing altogether.

“Overall, recurrent injuries resulted in greater time away from sport, a higher risk of sport discontinuation, and a higher likelihood of surgical intervention,” according to the Jan. 6, 2018, edition of the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine. “In tennis … the sprinting, stopping and pivoting, and pounding motions place repeated rotational shear and loading forces on each joint of the lower extremities which, in turn, places the athlete at increased risk for acute and overuse injury."

It’s not that this industry lacks the technology for softer court surfaces. Tennis is the only sport played on everything—grass, clay, crushed rock, synthetic turf, asphalt, concrete, rubber, urethane cushion, plastic tiles, carpet. Hard courts speed up the ball, creating more force on the arm, and keep the bounce lower. A few coats of paint may look pretty, but it does not make a surface safe for young athletes.

Often with court construction, our schools are not considering child safety and what bare concrete does to a young athlete. This is not to say that post-tensioned concrete is not a good base. It certainly is, but the tennis surface on top of the concrete needs to be more than what is essentially a coat of paint. These player-“unfriendly” facilities put children—and schools—at risk.

For the future of this sport, let’s all address this—court builders, facility managers, tennis coaches, teaching pros, the USTA, ASBA, TIA. We need to promote surfaces that keep our young athletes healthier and safe from injury, so they can continue playing tennis recreationally and competitively for their entire lives.

by Rick Burke - Longtime tennis and sports industry executive; President of NGI Sports

July 15, 2019

INSIDE NGI

Many athletic playing surfaces are designed to be shock absorbing and cushioned so an inflated ball like a basketball, tennis ball, soccer ball easily bounces to a comfortable height, but not pickleball. Pickleball is played with a plastic ball that has 40 air holes. The fast growing and quick paced game of pickleball requires a responsive, firm playing surface to obtain the required ball bounce height. Many public tennis and basketball courts are being converted from existing courts that are older to include pickleball. NGI Sports has developed and patented a playing surface designed for the sport of pickleball, TitanTrax PK. As part of NGI’s “Overlay Renovation Technology” TitanTrax PK provides the ball bounce and pace favored by players and as outlined in the International Federation of Pickleball tournament rules and meets USAPA and International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) requirements for surface performance.

July 15, 2019

TitanTrax AIR at Miracle Field

American Tennis' Jeff Nichols and NGI Sports' Mike Burke proudly spearheaded the installation of TitanTrax AIR to renovate the facility.

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL - The Miracle League baseball field for individuals with physical or mental disabilities is reopening at Frank Brown Park on Thursday March 28, after field replacement. The Grand Re-Opening Game and Celebration is scheduled for 5:30 PM at the field with a short ceremony and scrimmage game between "Twins" and the "Phillies." The baseball field is a specially designed field made of a soft rubberized surface with painted bases and baselines which allow children in Bay County, ranging in age from four and up, with physical and mental challenges, to play baseball safely. The league welcomes any special needs young person to register and come be a part of a real baseball team! Written by Erin Morgan

Watch Video

July 15, 2019

What is Force Reduction?

 

At NGI Sports material science is becoming one of the largest areas for innovation in tennis surface engineering and technology. Force reduction through cushioning and shock attenuation is not only an important property of a tennis court surface, it is also considered a key indicator of the performance, safety, comfort, and suitability of the surface for play.

A tennis player’s lower body is subject to great stress and abuse through movements that create different forces on the lower extremities. Rapid stopping or foot planting creates some of the highest forces in tennis. There are frequent center of gravity adjustments where the body's center of gravity needs to be adjusted in any direction quickly and in a controlled manner, the direction of the forces placed on the foot and leg are forward, backwards, vertical as well as lateral. The body encounters more than just its own weight's worth of forces from the energy returned from the tennis court. The surface therefore is important in reducing the impact of those forces to your lower extremities leg and back

As a designer and manufacturer of tennis court surfaces NGI Sports uses impact testing to measure and evaluate the effects surfacing design and surface design changes have on the impact forces generated on the body from the surface.

Testing results assist owners and players in making an informed, efficient, and empirical decision concerning a replacement tennis surface and for decisions regarding new surface selection. Puhulla et al (1999) defines hardness as “the ability of the surface to absorb shock imparted by the colliding object”.

NGI has conducted impact tests on numerous court surfaces. The impact forces simulated in the test method are intended to represent those produced by the lower extremities of a tennis player during play and impact on the tennis court. Below are some results as expressed in G Max values from 100 to 500. Benchmark figures for our use were based on concrete, asphalt and clay pavements.

In most cases clay (fast-dry) court play on courts two (2) to six (6) years old is thought to provide for a very comfortable and forgiving surface. Of course, the slide or foot release factor is not considered in this test. Results are based on an average of numerous sites tested with varying site conditions. Note that a larger numerical value reported represents less force reduction, a surface harder on the body.

These tests indicate a significant decrease in stress or advantage in force reduction for the NGI Surfaces. This appears true in all cases when compared to tennis courts built with hard pavement; thin cushioned finishes and as good as or better than clay courts in good condition.

We are continuing this study to build a database that compares the most prevalent courts in use today.


 

July 5, 2019

INSIDE NGI

We are currently in the final stages of rebranding. This will entail some product name changes. For example, ProXtreme is now TitanTrax Xtreme. We are also categorizing products by color and surface type.

All of these changes are anticipated to be complete, along with an updated website, by end of Summer 2019.

We also continue to make important additions to our Overlay Renovation Technology with the introduction of TitanTrax AIR. Our latest surface is made especially for hard pavements like post tension concrete. We recently completed installation of AIR on the Field of Dreams Baseball Field in Florida last month. The force reduction quality is unparalleled.