The science behind a water-based hockey pitch

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The science behind a water-based hockey pitch

Used from entry level right up to the highest level of competition, water-based artificial grass pitches are considered one of the best playing surfaces for hockey. But what are they actually made of, and what benefits of keeping these pitches irrigated with water?

The playing surface: artificial grass

The top layer of a water-based hockey pitch is a synthetic fibre carpet, also known as artificial grass. The tuft is very dense and short, and no sand infill or “rubber crumb” is required.


This carpet is then bound to a shockpad. The shockpad usually consists of a rubber padding, which protects the players from stress to the knees and ankles thanks to its shock absorbent qualities.

Engineered layer

To enhance the durability of the water-based hockey pitch, an ‘engineered’ base of tarmac is underneath the shockpad. Thanks to its porous nature, this provides great irrigation as the water can easily drain away, helping to maintain the surfaces quality.

Base layer

Finally, the base usually consists of a stone layer and textile membrane, sitting on top of prepared soil.

But why water? What are the benefits to water-based hockey pitch?

  • The water lubricates the pitch, reducing friction and allowing for quicker and smoother play, giving the ball a true and uniform roll.
  • It allows players to easily manoeuvre the ball with the stick without it catching. This is particularly important as hockey balls tend to be dimpled, and on a dry field this can cause the ball to bounce which can disrupt play and cause injury.
  • A water-based pitch also further reduces the risk of injury as there is less chance of scrapes to the skin, when compared to sand alternatives. It also allows freer movement of the body, so is kinder on knees and ankle joints.

If you’re interested in finding out more about hockey pitch installations, why not contact us to speak to an expert?