Artificial turf or artificial turf grass is designed primarily as a substitute for real grass, especially in a sports setting, due to the latter being unable to withstand the rigors of being used for sports like football, soccer, and field hockey. Besides the fact that artificial turn and artificial turf grass is being studier against the heavy use common in sports, these kinds of artifical turf are also much easier to maintain, as they need no watering or irrigation. It is also much cheaper, especially in the long run and with indoor stadiums, as using real grass indoors is much more difficult and much more expensive than using artificial turf.
History of Artificial Turf
The technology was developed in the 1960s by a team of researchers headed by David Chaney. Artificial turf is also referred to as Astroturf and became prominent in 1965 when it was used in the newly-minted Astrodome in Houston, Texas. This totally changed the face of field sports, field hockey included, as more and more teams and stadiums chose this easy to maintain and economical alternative to real grass as a playing field. The usual type to be used is called unfilled or wet Astroturf, which is a type of artificial turf that needs to be showered with water before games and in-between periods. This type of artificial turf grass is much safer for players compared to the use of sand-filled types, whose abrasiveness make players prone to more injuries. Wet-type artifical turf is most often used in elite-level Field Hockey games.
Applications in Field Hockey
The use of artificial turf has drastically changed the sport of field hockey in particular, as the sport has evolved to incorporate the use of artificial turf grass. Artifical turf grass was first used in the 1970s with even the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics using artificial turf for the first time in the sport. Artificial turf grass used in field hockey is different from other types used in other sports as it does not try to emulate real grass and is therefore, shorter than the usual type of Astroturf. This has resulted in enhanced movement of the players, making the game more fast-paced. Even the techniques and the equipment used to play the game have been developed around the use of artifical turf. Sticks have become stubbier and more durable and protective gear for the players such as helmets and padding especially for the goalie have become much thicker. Shoes have been designed to be more adapted to the wet artificial turf. Even the ball used in field hockey has changed, from a leather ball to a much harder and dimpled plastic ball which is better suited to the wet artificial turf grass used today.
Artificial turf has revolutionized the playing field for Field Hockey, making it into the fast-paced ball game it is today. Its a more practical and economical alternative to real grass, and game technology today has made artificial turf become a safer playing field medium for all Field Hockey player around the world.