Types of Pitch
Q: How many different types of wet (unfilled)surfaces are in the FIH approved range?
A: A full list of currently approved pitch surfaces can be found here. The approvals cover the carpet/shock pad system combined.
Q: What is a sand-filled pitch?
A: A sand-filled, or more correctly, a filled pitch has a higher (longer) but less dense pile than an unfilled pitch. Sand or similar material is used for 100% of pile depth to maintain pile verticality.
Q: What is a sand-dressed pitch?
A: A sand dressed pitch, or more correctly, a dressed pitch has a slightly higher (longer) pile than an unfilled pitch but not as high (long) as a filled pitch. Density of pile is approximately the same as a filled pitch, i.e. less dense pile than unfilled pitch. Sand or similar material is used for approximately 66% tp 80% of pile depth to maintain pile verticality. The appearance resembles an unfilled pitch.
Q: Is the Long Pile type of Pitch which is currently being used for soccer, suitable for hockey?
A: None of the turf carpets which are sometimes referred to as “long pile” or “3G” have been submitted to FIH by manufacturers for testing against the hockey performance requirements. This is because they would probably fail.
The carpet for these turfs is not as dense as an unfilled, filled or dressed hockey turf. The pile is much longer especially the part that is left unfilled by sand or rubber.
The diameter of a hockey ball is much smaller than a soccer ball and so a hockey ball sinks further down into the longer unfilled part of the pile of this type of pitch. Consequently, there is much more frictional drag on a hockey ball which restricts its movement. The same principle also applies to the hockey stick and therefore makes deft stick-work difficult. In addition, if the unfilled part of the pile is longer than a normal hockey pitch the stick can more easily get under the ball causing lifting.
Having said all that, there are signs that some of the pitches now being manufactured primarily for soccer leave very little of the pile unfilled, have a more dense pile and may meet the performance requirements for the “standard” type of hockey pitch. So long as they do meet the requirements, we will give them approval in the appropriate category for hockey.