Hockey Balls

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Hockey Balls - The Buyers Guide

Over the years, hockey balls have largely developed in response to the surfaces on which the game has been played. The modern hockey ball now features dimples designed to help them move faster on synthetic surfaces, is made from some of the latest synthetic materials to improve durability or create better feel, and is available in a multitude of colours. To find out more about the factors which might influence your decision, please read on:

Size

Standard hockey balls are spherical and regulated to a circumference of between 224–235 mm (8.8–9.3 in) and weighing between 156–163 g (5.5–5.7 Oz). Differing materials constructions and manufacturing processes lead to the minor variations in size and weight seen in hockey balls.

Colour

Hockey balls are usually white, although they can be any colour as long as they contrast with the playing surface. High visibility Orange, Yellow and Pink hockey balls are often used in poor light conditions. For league or competition hockey games please check with the authority or organiser for their requirements on match ball colours, as this may vary.

Dimple versus smooth

Hockey balls are often covered with indentations or dimples to reduce aquaplaning that can cause an inconsistent ball speed on wet surfaces. This is why hockey balls used indoors or on grass have historically been smooth, whilst hockey balls used on artificial "Astroturf" pitches tend to be dimpled.

Materials

Modern hockey balls are constructed of various different types of plastic, usually Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyurethane (PU) or a blend of the two.

Many cheaper balls are made purely from PVC, which is very durable and perfectly adequate in most normal playing situations but tend to have a harsher feel and can be prone to cracking in use at lower temperatures. PVC hockey balls are therefore an obvious choice for indoor hockey where temperatures do not tend to fall and strike impact speeds are lower.

PU hockey balls have a softer feel, but less durable, which most players prefer and are ideally suited to water-based pitches. On sand based/dressed PU hockey balls tend to wear rapidly and can create a little too much friction making them feel slow and "sticky".

Many hockey balls are hollow but some more expensive hockey balls do have a cork and/or rubber core to provide a better feel.

Price

Hockey balls are often covered with indentations or dimples to reduce aquaplaning that can cause an inconsistent ball speed on wet surfaces. This is why hockey balls used indoors or on grass have historically been smooth, whilst hockey balls used on artificial "Astroturf" pitches tend to be dimpled.

Decision factors

Inside or outside

Hockey balls for inside use are smooth and can be PVC. Hockey balls for use outside, particularly in colder temperatures will last longer with higher PU content.

Skills level

Generally the higher the ability level and age of the hockey player, the greater the force they can impose on the hockey ball. With increased ability, the importance of "touch" or softness of the ball becomes more pronounced. As a result hockey balls made of PU have become more popular due to their playability, despite not having the durability levels of PVC.

Playing Surface

Indoor and grass surfaces which are not prone to water are better played with smooth hockey balls, whereas games played on artificial surfaces are best played with dimpled hockey balls as they prevent aquaplaning. High PU content hockey balls are more suited to water-based pitched, with lower PU content hockey balls suiting sand based/dressed pitches.

 
 
 

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