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Pitch Perfect: How to Mark Out a Sports Pitch

With autumn well and truly here, you may need to mark out the white lines of your sports pitch more clearly. But how much line paint and other equipment do you need to deliver sharp, straight lines?

The answer largely depends on the size of the sports pitch. Different outdoor sports - hockey, football (English, Gaelic or American), rounders, baseball, cricket, and rugby - have different sized pitches. So, let's use the example of a football pitch; how do you mark it out?


How big is a football pitch

Before you start, it's best to work out all the equipment and materials you'll need to get the job done. We've used the example of a football pitch - the actual playing area - because there isn't a national standard pitch size.

Non-premier league football pitches are often smaller than top-level pitches. The Football Association's regulations state that pitches can be anywhere from 90m to 120m long and between 45m and 90m wide.

Most Premier League football pitches are, in reality, between 102.4m to 105.2m and between 64m and 68.6m wide. But surprisingly, not all pitches in the top football league in the country are the same size; currently, Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace) and Anfield (Liverpool) have the smallest in the league. This is probably related to the age of the club as these two are the oldest in the Premier League.

Of course, these pitch sizes refer to professional footballers. The Football Association has different pitch sizes for youth teams, 5-a-side, 7-a-side and 9-a-side teams and just to make things even more complicated, their goal posts are also a different size.

What do you need to mark out a sports pitch?

Once you've found out the size of your football pitch, you'll be able to determine how much line spray paint you need. PROline Aerosol Spray Paint is a durable, long-lasting, and cost-effective line paint, ideal for marking out indoor and outdoor 3G synthetic grass pitches. It is highly visible and resistant to abrasions as well as chemicals. If you're marking out a natural grass pitch then a different type of paint is recommended.

One 750ml can of line spray paint, a synthetic resin, can produce a line 50mm wide and between 50m and 90m in length. It also dries quickly and evenly, is environmentally friendly and is available in a range of colours.

However, before you start spraying the line paint, it's a good idea to mark out the lines you need to follow clearly. There are two ways of doing this. Our PROline chalk marker line ensures your lines are straight and accurate. It works like a tape measure; just pull out the line, which is 12m in length, from a handheld device which then marks the surface clearly with an even distribution of chalk powder. Alternatively, you can mark out your sports pitch using Adhesive Floor Marking Tape. This can either be used for permanent line marking, ideal for indoor sports pitches, or as a temporary guideline. It has the added benefit of not leaving a sticky residue when it is lifted; it is available in various colours, including striped hazard versions.

Applying the line paint to your sports pitch would be hard and potentially wonky work if done by hand. However, there are two extremely useful tools to make the job much easier and quicker. Our PROline handheld paint applicator is easy to use. Rather like a sealant gun, once you’ve thoroughly shaken the paint can, insert it into the applicator and press the lever to activate and paint your lines. You shoot - you score!

The handheld paint applicator weighs just 1.5kg. It is ideal for various hand marking applications, like small, detailed lines, touching up faded lines, stencil use, marking out obstructions or objects, and highlighting hazards. But if you're marking out an entire pitch, or more than one pitch, opt for our PROline 4-Wheel Line Marking Paint Applicator.

Proline 4-wheeled line marking paint applicator

Quick and easy to assemble, a 750ml paint can slots in place just above the front line painting wheel. The trigger mechanism is comfortable and light, and you can adjust the width of your lines between 50mm and 75mm, depending on your requirements. Four wheels make it easy to manoeuvre, including getting sharp corners and angles in tight spaces. But if you need greater accuracy or are marking alongside an obstacle, such as a wall, you can remove the back two wheels.

football pitch line measurements

How to calculate how much line spray paint you will need

So, how many 750ml cans of spray paint will you need for a football pitch? Well, to err on the side of caution, our calculation is based on a pitch of 120m by 90m and paint coverage of 50m per can.

  • 2 x long sides = 240m
  • 2 x short sides = 180m
  • 2 x 18-yard box = 147m
  • 2 x penalty arc = 25m
  • 2 x 6-yard box = 59m
  • 1 x centre circle = 58m

This adds up to a total of 709m of lines. To calculate how many cans of spray paint are needed for a football pitch:

709m divided by 50m = 15 cans of spray paint, or
709m divided by 90m = 8 cans of spray paint (based on 90m paint coverage).

This calculation can be applied to any size of sports pitch, too.

Once you've got your cans of spray paint and marked out your sports pitch, and before you start painting, don't forget to wear protective clothing! It is highly recommended you wear a face mask, safety goggles and a high-visibility waistcoat.

ESE Direct is a leading UK provider of a wide range of products for use in the commercial and industrial sectors. You'll find our products being used in businesses, schools, colleges and universities, workshops and warehouses and of course sports pitches! We can help make sure you have everything you need to meet regulations and best practices. Not sure what you need? Talk to our highly experienced sales team, who have over 40 years of knowledge and can help with any query. Have a specific requirement? No problem. Our bespoke design and installation service is just what you need.

Photograph of Debs

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Digital marketer, social media, content writer, musician, sloth-lover, tea-drinker.