Waterless Hockey Pitches | Future of the Sport

maybe a new type of pitch in the future will replace the newly proposed waterless hockey pitchs.

Hockey has always required well-maintained pitches for the best possible playing experience. 

The synthetic turf has been a game-changer for hockey, allowing the sport to move away from natural grass or ice…. it has been used ever since 1976! The traditional method of maintenance of water pitches has been expensive, time-consuming, and detrimental to the environment. 

As a result, a new alternative has emerged: waterless hockey pitches. 

This technology is set to be used in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and has garnered interest from hockey clubs worldwide.

This non-water turf technology has also been developed for Hockey5s, which has gained popularity in recent years.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has elected a new president, Mr. Tayyab Ikram, who plans to implement waterless hockey pitches in the coming years to transform the sport into a more sustainable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly one.

What is a Waterless Hockey Pitch?

Waterless turf is similar to modern-day water turf… except without water


  • synthetic turf
  • artificial grass,
  • Dry artificial turf
  • Non-water turf
  • artificial turf

It’s a fabricated surface fashioned to emulate the attributes of natural grass, which is an amalgamation of materials, such as plastic, rubber, and sand. 

Since the surface does not require any watering or maintenance, rendering it a desirable preference for hockey fields located in regions where water resources are limited or the weather conditions are severe.

Additionally, these non-water turf technologies are environmentally sustainable since they do not require watering before use, mowing, or fertilization like regular grass does. 

So with this in mind…water consumption and pollution will be significantly diminished, resulting in time and cost savings.

The Need For Waterless Hockey Pitches

The need for waterless hockey pitches has intensified as conventional pitches require an excessive amount of water to preserve their quality and performance, particularly in regions with arid and hot weather conditions. 

The cost of maintaining the pitches is not only high in some places (paying for water), but also puts a significant burden on the environment (‘wasting water’).

Moreover, water scarcity is a growing concern in multiple regions, which poses a challenge in sustaining conventional hockey pitches over the long term. 

…so the introduction of waterless hockey pitches has become an urgent priority for the hockey community.

The Benefits of Waterless Hockey Pitches

Waterless hockey pitches represent a sustainable, cost-effective, and impartial substitute for hockey clubs and players, providing them with several benefits, including consistency, accessibility, ‘longer-life’ playing time, and cost savings.

…some other benefits include:

Environmental Sustainability

They offer an even playing surface that remains unaffected by weather conditions or excessive usage, guaranteeing a uniform playing experience for the players, and leading to enhanced performance and outcomes.


Waterless hockey pitches prove to be cost-effective in the long term, as they necessitate minimal maintenance and can last up to a decade, thereby decreasing overall maintenance expenses. Allowing clubs to channel their resources towards other crucial aspects of the sport, such as training, equipment, and player development.

Improved Performance

Waterless pitches provide a consistent playing surface that is not affected by weather conditions or heavy usage. These new waterless pitches ensure consistent playing conditions, making them ideal for international competitions and high-level training. 


The flexibility of waterless pitches makes them viable in any weather conditions, rendering them a dependable option for clubs situated in regions with extreme weather patterns. 

I.e. too hot means the pitch will dry out. Too cold means the pitch will freeze over. Both hindering performance and safety.


The synthetic waterless pitch is durable and can withstand intense usage, making it perfect for high-level competitions and training sessions. 

Low Maintenance

Its minimal maintenance requirements also enable hockey clubs to save substantial time and money on upkeep, freeing up resources for other crucial areas.


The safety of the waterless pitch is considered ‘controversial’ as some people argue that it’s not as safe as the regular water pitches. This is because the water is more forgiving when you fall/dive (or slide as a goalkeeper), as you can ‘glide’ across the surface of the water.

Challenges of Waterless Hockey Pitches

Waterless hockey pitches have a multitude of advantages. However, several problems arise when considering them:

Player Safety

As discussed above, waterless surfaces can be less forgiving when you fall. Also, they can be too grippy, meaning sprained ankles would become more common. Nevertheless, technological always adapts to the challenges at hand, such as, ‘less’ grippy shoes etc.

The up-front expenses

The installation costs of waterless hockey arenas can be large, particularly for minor leagues or underdeveloped nations. However, will be cheaper in the long run as there are no constant water payments, in come countries.

Athlete preferences

Although no hockey-specific waterless pitches are common, some players may pose predilection for the texture and maneuverability of water pitches (over waterless).

Heat retention

Waterless pitches have the propensity to retain more heat than traditional grass pitches, resulting in discomfort and even heat-related illnesses for players.


Specific waterless pitches may be stiffer than typical ones, magnifying the injury risk for players.

Ball rebound

The trajectory of the ball can fluctuate on waterless pitches, necessitating that players alter their playing style accordingly.

Looking into The Future of Field Hockey and Waterless Pitches

The increasing recognition of synthetic turf’s value attests to its auspicious future in the world of hockey.

Waterless turf is poised to become the de facto standard for hockey fields, as it offers a sustainable, resilient, and low-maintenance alternative for clubs. 

In the coming years, we can expect to witness several advancements, including:

More Intricate Surfaces

Synthetic turf technology is continually advancing, and we can anticipate the emergence of more elaborate surfaces that offer players superior performance and safety.


Sustainability is gaining significance in the world of sports, and synthetic turf can play a pivotal role in reducing the carbon footprint of hockey.

Integration with Technology

The fusion of technology and sports is gaining momentum, and we can expect to see synthetic turf integrated with cutting-edge technologies such as augmented reality and player tracking.

Global Adoption

As more hockey clubs recognize the benefits of waterless turf, its widespread adoption is expected on a global scale. This, in turn, will stimulate technological progressions and transform waterless turf into an even more appealing alternative for hockey clubs.


The implementation of waterless pitches in hockey is an ambitious and innovative endeavour that harbours the potential to revolutionize the sport. Its multitudinous benefits encompass environmental sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and amplified performance. 

However, it also poses some challenges, such as upfront costs, player safety, and player preference. Regardless of these challenges, we firmly hold the belief that the boons of waterless pitches outweigh the obstacles, and we wholeheartedly endorse the initiatives of the new FIH president to actualize this vision.

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