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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Dry synthetic grass? – Studio.Hockey


In November 2018 Thierry Weil, the then newly appointed CEO of the FIH, stunned the world of hockey. He introduced the Video games of Paris 2024 can be performed on a floor that didn’t want any water. His foremost message was hockey might be performed on any floor. A message I assist with all of my coronary heart and is a key issue, I imagine, in rising the game worldwide.

That being stated… topsport wants consistency and a significant profit from our water-based pitches, apart from the pace and high quality of play on it, it additionally permits for comparable & secure circumstances in most climates!

In our column from June 2019 we raised our doubts, even once we applauded the initiative in itself. Paris 2024 by no means was a sensible goal. Nearly all consultants doubted any substitute for our water-based turf can be prepared for topsport in 2024 if we wish comparable enjoying situations. When the Covid pandemic slowed down growth it grew to become clear to all. Nonetheless, huge strides have been made in decreasing the water we’d like on the turf. So we’re on course. When it grew to become clear Paris 2024 would nonetheless be performed on water, the FIH wanted to set new objectives and, once more with out a lot related concertation, the FIH selected the world cup in 2026 as the brand new purpose for a dry synthetic pitch. Or relatively non-irrigated. Making Paris 2024 the final main occasion on a water-based turf.

New purpose: World Cup 2026!

Following the task of the brand new world cup for 2026 to each the Netherlands and Belgium, the FIH determined this occasion can be the primary for non-irrigated fields. A lot to the shock (once more) of most concerned. After we talked to gamers, coaches, excessive efficiency administrators and different related consultants most have been and are very sceptical. I feel all of us agree it’s the approach ahead. Water is a scarce useful resource and we have to discover a resolution. But when the timeline for it is a unilateral resolution made by directors, with out involving related stakeholders, we think about it may very well be problematic. So we invited some consultants for an open and clear panel speak in regards to the transfer in the direction of dry synthetic grass for hockey.

Panel discuss dry synthetic grass for hockey

In February of 2023 these consultants joined me in a panel speak in regards to the transfer in the direction of a non-irrigated floor for hockey. Under this column or on Youtube you’ll discover the total and unedited video of this panel speak. Our panel featured the next consultants:

  • Jeroen Hertzberger 🇳🇱, worldwide participant
  • Adam Commens 🇦🇺 🇧🇪, former worldwide participant & coach – now excessive efficiency director for Hockey Belgium
  • Stephen Butler 🇮🇪, former worldwide participant & co-founder Osaka (stick & shoe model)
  • Colin Younger 🇬🇧, world R&D director for Tencate Grass
  • Alastair Cox 🇬🇧, Amenities & High quality Programme Supervisor for the FIH

For the aim of this column I chosen a number of clips about participant welfare, truthful sportsmanship, how a lot time gamers & coaches want and a sensible potential timing as prompt.

Jeroen Hertzberger: “I don’t see it occurring earlier than 2026”

“So the pace has been going up and down within the final 20 years. In order that’s one thing I don’t fear an excessive amount of about. Nonetheless, the protection, yeah that’s the massive one right here. As a result of there are even gamers now which are overlaying their knees with tights, as a result of even with the water based mostly pitches, typically pores and skin accidents is is a factor. And what we really need to see in our recreation is we need to see diving tackles. We need to see gamers diving to the second put up and getting on their abdomen and getting on their knees. And since that’s the feeling of the game.” – Jeroen Hertzberger

“After which there’s one other factor that jumped into my thoughts is that truthful play can also be… when you take a look at efficiency everybody wants to have the ability to put together for a World Cup or an Olympics or a Professional League or no matter in the identical approach.” – Jeroen Hertzberger

I don’t even see it occurring earlier than 2026 as a result of it merely wouldn’t be truthful for all of the international locations that want to arrange for these huge tournaments, as a result of all of them have to have entry to those pitches.” – Jeroen Hertzberger

Jeroen Hertzberger: “Don’t use Hockey 5s for testing”

“From a participant standpoint normally with regards to new pitches and typically you arrive at a match simply talking from expertise and also you’re undecided how new the pitch is you’re undecided if the sphere goes to be bouncy. You don’t know if it’s going to be this or that.
And normally our conclusion is all the time the identical is that small play, since you gave the instance of fives… In small areas, you’re not gonna discover the distinction as a lot with regards to how a discipline is performed in comparison with the lengthy distances.
So, normally you acknowledge the massive distinction between, let’s say, and a foul pitch. Once you’re trying on the longer distance of play. So I discuss lengthy passing, speaking about lengthy aerials, speaking about lengthy one-on-ones the place you really attain a excessive pace of above 25 kilometers per hour working after which hitting the brakes after which having to make an inside break, a 90 levels flip.
That’s normally one thing that you just don’t get… You don’t get these speeds and distances and also you don’t get this momentum of our bodies enjoying in small areas like for instance, fives. Similar to in indoor hockey, you don’t get these lengthy distance speeds. You don’t get the , the excessive dash meters.
I fear slightly bit as a result of if you need to take a look at a discipline, you possibly can really solely take a look at when you have a correct dimension pitch and you’ll really play 11 on 11 to see how issues work out.
That, that’s the principle factor for me. I simply needed so as to add on as a result of normally it’s not the stuff that occurs within the D and it most likely gained’t be the penalty nook both. Trigger this stuff, you discover a solution to, to make it occur. However it’s the lengthy stuff bodily and technically that, that will probably be influenced most by a change in floor.”
– Jeroen Hertzberger

Adam Commens: “I would like some ensures”

“If we have been having an increase in accidents, would we simply merely push on and say, no, we’ve made the choice or would we have now a dialogue with the nations which are concerned in these tournaments.” – Adam Commens

“I’d need some ensures that our athletes and groups are gonna be consulted by way of do they really feel that these surfaces are secure for athletes on the main occasions.” – Adam Commens

Stephen Butler: sneakers will want 2 years

“You’ll want a shoe that does two issues.That may react to completely different situations. As a result of doubtlessly will probably be a dry discipline, doubtlessly of it rains will probably be a moist discipline.” – Stephen Butler (Osaka)

“We need to make the transition as minimal as potential. (…) However there nonetheless will probably be some iterations which are wanted. We don’t need it to be an excessive amount of grip, as a result of that will probably be harmful. Additionally we don’t need the grip to be too low when it’s moist, as a result of in any other case gamers are goung to be falling over on a regular basis. (…) The suggestions up to now is almost all footwear has been designed to be considered and included throughout the system, however inevitably when gamers get onto a full dimension discipline and get a bit extra dynamic, we would determine some modifications there which are wanted and any recommendation on footwear or different gear will probably be very welcome.” – Colin Younger (Tencate Grass)

“We simply have to certainly get a while on the sphere. I feel there’s sufficient expertise now in our product growth that we’ll have the ability to discover one thing that may have the ability to work beneath each situations. (…) It does take time, however to be sincere, it’s very troublesome to say.
You get really, what Jeroen stated was in my thoughts as nicely, with a full-on take a look at on a full-on pitch, as a result of till you get to that section and then you definitely get via your first two prototyping phases. Then you possibly can actually begin with the opening molds and getting the product cycle working. The minimal is basically 18 months and it usually takes us 24 months for a brand new product.”
– Stephen Butler (Osaka)

“We totally settle for that persons are not gonna convert their foremost stadium discipline or the primary discipline to new expertise. That that’s affordable. However we might want to organize for gamers from the Dutch squad, the Belgian squad, the Australian squad, whoever it might be, to go to those venues to play on them.
And we’ll want the help of the nationwide associations, the excessive efficiency coaches right here, Adam and his colleagues all over the world to make sure that occurs. As a result of clearly their expectation is gonna be very completely different to a typical neighborhood participant and we’d like that prime stage suggestions.”
– Alastair Cox (FIH)

Situation 1: the dream situation

Almost certainly prime gamers and groups will begin testing these new prototype non-irrigated fields solely in the direction of the top of 2024 to keep away from potential accidents and points within the lead as much as the Paris Video games in the summertime of 2024. Which means if (and that’s a giant IF) all goes nicely and nothing main must be tailored, in a greatest case situation nationwide associations may begin utilizing the primary new technology synthetic surfaces in 2024 and possibly, simply possibly, the 2024-2025 season may very well be the primary for use for some actual worldwide testing of the brand new floor.

Situation 2: when actuality units in

A extra doubtless situation, at the very least in my view, can be one the place following the primary full-on exams on the finish of 2024 they’ll want some diversifications that may set us again in time. Both in gear (sneakers) or the artificial fields themselves. That means severe aggressive testing throughout Professional League will begin within the 2025-2026 season. And we would have one thing that truly works and is secure simply earlier than the LA 2028 Video games. Which in my view ought to be the actual purpose for the superb ambition of a full transition to a non-irrigated hockey discipline.
I perceive there’s worth in pushing for an earlier deadline in getting issues achieved. However as Adam Commens rightfully talked about the gamers, coaches and NA’s do want a assure that issues might be water-based if the gamers don’t really feel secure performing on the highest stage and pace we’ve come to count on from them.


The complete unedited panel speak ↓

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