A turf manager’s most important job is ensuring athlete safety. For track long-jumpers this includes building them a safe sand pit to land in.

The days of filling jump pits with any old sand from the local gravel pit are over. Thanks to improvements in science, materials testing, and education, we are now equipped to make better decisions when selecting long jump pit sand.

When choosing sand for a long jump pit, follow four guidelines:

  1. Say No To Gravel – Use a sand with few particles larger than 2mm in diameter. Otherwise, jumpers are in danger of getting cut by sharp stones.
  2. Make Silt & Clay Go Away – Silt and clay are the very small particles found in most sand deposits.  Choose a manufacturer that removes silt and clay during sand processing. A sand containing too much silt and clay will get muddy when wet and hard when dry.
  3. Sand Size Matters – Find a sand which contains mostly particles sized between 1.0mm and 0.15mm in diameter. This allows for fast water drainage and the right amount of stability.
  4. Get In Shape – Use sand with “rounded” to “sub-angular” particle shapes. Avoid angular sands which can lock together and form a hard surface.

Remember these maintenance tips to keep your pit in top condition:

  1. Tarp the pit when not in use to keep sand dry and clean.
  2. Rake the sand regularly to maintain a level surface.
  3. Add additional sand when necessary to maintain regulation height.