For many years, chain-link sports fencing served as the accepted standard at parks and stadiums. Made from galvanized steel, these fences keep spectators off the field and define the area of play. Smack a ball over the fence, and you could celebrate a home run. Put a fence around a soccer field, and you could keep the ball from popping into the parking lot or street.
But while chain-link fencing once appeared to have many practical uses, people have begun to realize that it's not the ideal material to use in parks and places where young people play sports. Chain-link fencing has many downsides that may not be immediately apparent.
Luckily, there are alternatives to this fencing. Smart recreation departments and schools are rethinking their use of chain-link fencing and instead considering options such as our SPECTO® outdoor fencing, which allows you to maximize playable surface areas. Learn more about chain-link fencing alternatives and what would work best for your property.
Different Types of Athletic Field Fences
There are different functions of a fence for every sport. Based on the gameplay, some may require extensive fencing for safety, while others may not need any at all. Here are some sports that use different types of athletic field fencing:
Baseball: Baseball requires a fence to outline the edge of the field - far enough away and high enough to meet regulations. More fencing is required behind the batter's box to protect foul balls from flying into the stands and hitting fans. Sometimes netting is used to stop the balls, too. A tricky aspect of baseball fencing — especially the fencing in the outfield — is that it must be durable enough to withstand the elements while also flexible enough for players to run into safely.
Football: Football — and soccer — usually only require some fencing to outline the field's perimeter and keep spectators out. Since the players won't be in danger of running into the fence, you can build a sturdier, decorative ornamental fence.
Tennis: Tennis requires tall fences to keep the ball in play and protect spectators. It's easy to spike a tennis ball into the sky, so fences will have to be built high enough to account for this. Tennis courts often have mesh or netting as well to catch the ball. They shouldn't be constructed with hardened materials that pose a serious risk to players.
Different Types of Baseball Field Fencing Materials
Baseball requires a lot of fencing, so people are always trying to find the best types of baseball field materials to use. Here are some common types of baseball fencing materials:
Wood: While there aren't many wood fences surrounding baseball fields, some still people like to keep wood fences up as a nostalgic symbol or to add character to a field. Though they may look unique, wood fences can create various problems as they age and lack the durability and resilience of other materials.
Aluminum: Aluminum adds some strength and sturdiness to a baseball fence. It's typically reserved for those who are going for a more elegant, ornamental look for their baseball field.
Steel: A steel baseball fence is all about stability — if you get this type of material, your fence isn't going anywhere. However, like aluminum, it doesn't play very well on a field where players will likely be running full speed into the fence. A more flexible material is encouraged for safety.
Chain-link: Many people settle for chain-link because it's durable and has some give for safety. However, as we'll see, chain-link has its own disadvantages, and people are starting to search for better alternatives for their field.
These options are sturdy, but they're often unsafe. An option like vinyl or mesh fencing has durability paired with the safety that many people are looking for.
Cons of Chain-Link Fencing
You can find many disadvantages of chain-link fencing. This material is:
Unforgiving: When a baseball or softball player makes a running catch in the outfield and slams into a chain-link fence, they run the risk of getting injured. Chain-link fences have little give, and the links on top and bottom include sharp edges where players can cut themselves.
Unattractive: Chain-link fences look old and clunky. They don't enhance the appearance of a park or tennis court.
Unmovable: You can't move a chain-link fence from one location to another, which means you can't reconfigure the space to make another field. There aren't any additional options with a chain-link fence. A baseball field can't change dimensions to become a softball field.
Inflexible: Chain-link fences have no customizable elements that allow them to change depending on the sport being played and also the look you want for your sports fields.
Unsafe: If you don't treat chain-link fences regularly, they can rust and become eyesores, in addition to safety hazards. Your park will look old and run down with a rusty chain-link fence.
Alternatives to Chain-Link Fencing for Sports
The good news is that you don't have to stick with chain-link fencing for your sports fields. You can find high-quality alternatives that will protect players on the field and give you greater flexibility. Your fields will also look more attractive with fencing that appears modern and sleek. You can find two main options.
Vinyl-Coated Chain-Link Fences
Vinyl-coated chain-link fences have a vinyl coating applied over the traditional chain-link material. They are less likely to rust. Plus, vinyl-coated chain-link is twice the cost of regular fencing and provides no extra protection for players.
Vinyl-Coated Mesh Fencing
Vinyl-coated mesh fencing, such as our SPECTO® fencing system, has many advantages. You can install it quickly and disassemble it just as fast at the end of the season, allowing you to store the fence away and keep it safe from the elements during the offseason.
Our fences are transparent, improving the view for spectators. It can be difficult to see through a traditional chain-link fence, but you can add an unobstructed view through welded wire fencing. You'll also gain new flexibility with your facilities, allowing you to rearrange your fields however you prefer. The portability of our fencing also makes it more convenient than chain link.
Grand Slam Sports Fencing vs. Chain-Link Fencing
Grand Slam Safety sports fencing is recognized as the safest sports fencing on the market. SPECTO® gently cradles players when they crash into the fencing, so they can go hard without fear of getting hurt.
In addition to its safety features, our sports fencing also has other advantages. You can:
Remove it from one field and put it on another, allowing for multi-use fields. On the other hand, chain-link fences never move.
Customize it to your needs for each sport or field. Chain-link fences can't adjust or give your fields any flexibility.
Use it over and over and over again with no discernable impact because it's so durable. Chain-link fences can break and rust due to their exposure to the elements.
Compared to chain-link fencing, our fencing allows you to save space because you can pack it away. The fencing folds up easily and won't take up valuable real estate in the winter, when sports equipment should be put away.
Get in Touch With Grand Slam Safety to Buy Fencing
Make this the year you explore options to replace your aging, unattractive chain-link fencing. Grand Slam Safety has outdoor fencing available that is perfect for baseball and softball fields, backstops, outdoor batting cages and more. Explore our options and improve the look of your park with Grand Slam Safety outdoor fencing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us to learn more!