Why are hockey pitches wet? Reason blue Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games playing surfaces are watered

Following the start of Team England’s participation in the Commonwealth Games hockey, viewers are wondering why the pitches are wet.

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The Commonwealth Games hockey tournament is well underway for Team England, with the men’s team preparing to face Canada in a bid to secure a place in the semi-finals.

All hockey in the Birmingham Games will take place at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre.

Team England and Team Canada will play today (4 August).

The two international-standard hockey pitches were built in 2017 as part of the £10 million outdoor facilities redevelopment and temporary seating for around 6,000 spectators and accredited guests has been built around the main competition pitch.

The mens and womens’ teams have received plenty of support and both teams are still in contention for medals at the Games – but viewers may have been questioning why the hockey pitches are wet.

Why is the Commonwealth Games hockey pitch wet?

The playing surface of the hockey pitch is artificial and needs to be kept in top condition, so ground staff will spray the pitch with water cannons before every match - and sometimes during half-time breaks when the weather is hot.

Like all elite level pitches, the hockey pitch at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is water-based, as opposed to a sand-based surface. This helps prevent friction burn and other injuries – which is common with a sand-based surface – and also means the ball will roll faster and straighter than other types of artificial pitch.

There are many benefits of water-based pitches over sand-based pitches these are:

  • Water-based pitches are safer, as the water layer absorbs impact better than a sand-based pitch. It also gives the players more control over their slides.
  • Falls on water-based surfaces are less likely to cause injuries as watered pitches are much softer and cooler to play on.
  • Water based-pitches create a faster flow to the game, as the ball runs more freely than it would on a sand pitch.
  • The ball bounces consistently on a water pitch and at an appropriate height in comparison to with an irregular bounce that we see on a dry pitch.

Schedule for the Hockey in the Commonwealth Games 2022

Men’s group stage - Thursday 4 August 2022

Pool A

South Africa vs New Zealand - 7pm

Australia vs Pakistan - 9pm

Pool B

India vs Wales - 2pm

Canada vs England - 4pm

Women’s group stage - Thursday 4 August 2022

Pool A

England vs Wales - 11am

Pool B

South Africa vs New Zealand - 9am