There was a time when field hockey was just as the name indicated and hockey was played on a grass field. However, playing hockey on a real grass pitch has become less common as hockey clubs use artificial surfaces that are more suited to playing in all types of weather. What are these artificial surfaces, and how do they benefit the game?
According to the New Zealand Herald, the captains of the top 12 football teams in the Netherlands are looking to have the playing of matches on artificial pitches banned. However, artificial pitches for playing hockey have been in regular use since the 1970s. Why do these pitches work so well for hockey?
Different types of turf
Three different types of surfaces are used for playing hockey, and research is continuing to try to find the ultimate playing surface for this game. The three different types are sand-dressed, sand-filled or water-based. At the moment, different types of turf are used for playing hockey at different levels, including multi-sport turf, national-level turf and global-level turf, which is used for hockey competitions at the world level. Some national-level turf and all global-level turf requires the use of water, which helps to improves the overall performance of the surface. Nevertheless, using water is something that the International Hockey Federation is hoping to eliminate in the long run.
Why play hockey on synthetic turf?
Artificial pitches have been used as far back as the Montreal Olympics in 1976, and they have changed the way that the game is played. Playing hockey on synthetic pitches makes the game faster and means there are fewer disruptions, although critics argue that these are not positive developments. The more widespread use of artificial pitches has meant that the game has had to change, including developing new overall rules, along with new techniques and tactics for playing. Ideas for these can be found by watching a hockey drill video such as those from https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/. Artificial pitches are now used for most national tournaments in addition to international hockey matches. However, some local clubs are still using good old-fashioned grass.
The future of hockey most certainly lies with artificial pitches, but there is still some work to do to try to achieve the perfect pitch.