Mechanical and perceived behaviour of synthetic turf field hockey pitches
This research has investigated the behaviour of synthetic turf pitches for field hockey. A combination of mechanical and perceived data collection methods were used to provide an increased understanding of pitch behaviour. A methodology was developed to elicit perceptions from elite field hockey players. Part of the method was an inductive analysis of players responses during a participant led interview. This enabled the development of a 'structured relationship model' which Illustrated five general dimensions. Each general dimension was part of a hierarchical structure formed from base themes via players responses. Based on characteristics identified in the 'structured relationship model' a questionnaire was designed to quantify the Importance and preferences of certain playing characteristics for elite field hockey players. It was found that players thought 'surface consistency' and 'the ability to demonstrate deft skills' as the most Important surface characteristics it was also identified that given a choice the majority of players would like to play on a fast, low bouncing surface conducive to deft stickwork with 'high' underfoot grip, no ball spin and with a moderate hardness Monitoring during the construction of a world class water-based synthetic turf hockey pitch has shown the influence each layer on the overall pitch system. Novel equipment to the sports Industry was used to evaluate each layer during construction and a large amount of variability was identified across the pitch. it was identified that if the subgrade had a weak area of low stiffness then the subsequent layers above were also vulnerable to low measurements. This highlighted the Importance of quality control during construction A laboratory investigation using a combination of shockpad and carpet samples identified the Influence different systems had on the playing surface. During the investigation testing was conducted on the laboratory floor and in a prepared box constructed to Simulate a 'typical' pitch. it was identified that the layers below the shockpad had little Influence on the measurements. Conditions were monitored and it was identified the Importance water has on the behaviour of the surface lt was found to significantly reduce ball rebound height and rotational traction A series of site investigations using mechanical tests has shown the variability between pitches even at elite standard Six pitches were evaluated and a range of results were obtained and compared with the requirements from the international governing body for field hockey. A correlation between the artificial athlete Berlin and 2.25 kg Clegg impact hammer demonstrated that the Clegg hammer could be a valuable tool for surface assessment. A comparison of players perceptions and the mechanical measurements of six pitches were evaluated. lt was found that the perceived behaviour of ball rebound, underfoot traction and surface hardness correlated well with measured data. However, it was shown that players perceptions of surface pace did not correspond to measurements of ball roll distance. The three main sections of work comprising site data collection, laboratory testing and elicitation of players perceptions have been used together to provide a much greater understanding of the behaviour of synthetic turf pitches for field hockey.