Players need the right combination of speed, rotation and slide for an artificial pitch. Footwear-to-surface interaction will endeavor to ensure players are confident and safe in their movements while keeping friction burns and abrasions to an acceptable minimum when sliding or falling.
A pitch for field hockey has to ensure the ball does not deviate from its path. As the ball is smaller than in any other contact sport, it is more susceptible to unevenness, so a pitch for field hockey needs to be consistently flat in order to be able to preserve unbiased ball roll characteristics.
Pitch smoothness ensures the ball can travel across the surface at high speed. Field hockey players also need the surface to be flat so the ball doesn’t bounce or change direction.
Given the choice, players who have had experience of the different types of surface will generally prefer an unfilled or water-based pitch. This is simply because, although most filled - usually sand filled - pitches are a significant improvement over natural grass in terms of speed, predictable ball movement and resistance to wear under virtually all weather and wear conditions, the unfilled pitch offers all of these advantages but avoids the filled surface which can be abrasive to skin, sticks and balls.