Pitch (sports field)

A pitch or a sports ground is an outdoor playing area for various sports. The term pitch is most commonly used in British English, while the comparable term in American and Canadian English is playing field or sports field.

Comparison of the playing area for various sports to scale

For most sports the official term is field of play, although this is not regularly used by those outside refereeing/umpiring circles. The field of play generally includes out-of-bounds areas that a player is likely to enter while playing a match, such as the area beyond the touchlines in association football and rugby or the sidelines in American and Canadian football, or the "foul territory" in baseball.

The surface of a pitch is most commonly composed of sod (grass), but may also be artificial turf, sand, clay, gravel, concrete, or other materials. A playing field on ice may be referred to as a rink, for example an ice hockey rink, although rink may also refer to the entire building or, in the sport of curling, to either the building or a particular team.

In the sport of cricket, the cricket pitch refers not to the entire field of play, but to the section of the field on which batting and bowling take place in the centre of the field. The pitch is prepared differently from the rest of the field, to provide a harder surface for bowling.

A pitch is often a regulation space, as in an association football pitch.

The term level playing field is also used metaphorically to mean fairness in non-sporting human activities such as business where there are notional winners and losers.[1]

Fields of play in various sports

Field sizes

of players[2]
Kabaddi (standard)[3] Rectangular 13.00 m - 10.00 m - 7
Kabaddi (circle-style)[4] Circle 44.00 m - 44.00 m - 8
Badminton (singles) Rectangular 13.40 m17.40 m 5.18 m8.18 m 1
Badminton (doubles) Rectangular 13.40 m17.40 m 6.10 m9.10 m 2
Volleyball Rectangular 18.00 m24-31 m 9.00 m15-19 m 6
Tennis (singles) Rectangular 23.77 m37.00 m 8.23 m18.00 m 1
Tennis (doubles) Rectangular 23.77 m37.00 m 10.93 m18.00 m 2
Swimming (short course) Rectangular 25.00 m- 20.00 m- -
Kho kho Rectangular 27.00 m30.00 m 16.00 m19.00 m 9
Kho kho (Ultimate Kho Kho)[5] Rectangular 22.00 m26.00 m 16.00 m20.00 m 7
Basketball (FIBA) Rectangular 28.00 m- 15.00 m- 5
Basketball (NBA) Rectangular 28.70 m- 15.20 m- 5
Basketball (3x3) Rectangular 11.00 m - 15.00 m - 3
Futsal Rectangular 38-42 m- 20-25 m- 5
Handball Rectangular 40.00 m- 20.00 m- 7
Swimming (Olympic) Rectangular 50.00 m- 25.00 m- -
Box lacrosse Rounded rectangular 55-61 m- 24-28 m- 6
Short track speed skating Oval 60.00 m- 30.00 m- -
Ice hockey (IIHF) Rounded rectangular 61.00 m- 30.00 m- 6
Ice hockey (NHL) Rounded rectangular 61.00 m- 26.00 m- 6
Track and field (indoor) Oval 90.03 m- 45.78 m- -
Field hockey Rectangular 91.40 m- 55.00 m- 11
Indoor hockey Rectangular 36-44 m- 18-22 m- 6
Field lacrosse Rectangular 100.00 m- 55.00 m- 10
Bandy Rectangular 100-110 m- 60-65 m- 11
Association football Rectangular 100-110 m- 64-75 m- 11
American football Rectangular 91.80 m110.00 m 48.75 m- 11
Flag football[6] Rectangular 64.00 m - 22.86 m - 5[6]
Indoor American football Rounded rectangular 45.90 m61.00 m 26.00 m- -
Rugby league Rectangular 100.00 m112-122 m 68.00 m- 13
Rugby union Rectangular 94-100 m106-144 m 68-70 m- 15
Canadian football Rectangular 101.00 m137.00 m 59.00 m- 12
Baseball Diamond 92-128 m- 137-150 m[7]- 9
Softball[8] Diamond 61-67 m - 50+ m - 9
Baseball5 Square 21.00 m- 21.00 m- 5
Cricket Oval 119-164 m[9]- 119-164 m- 11
Indoor cricket Rectangular 30.00 m- 12.00 m- 6
Australian rules football Oval 135-185 m- 110-155 m- 18
Long track speed skating Oval 178.00 m- 66.00 m- -
Track and field (outdoor) Oval 176.91 m- 92.52 m- -
Ultimate Rectangular 64.00 m110.00 m 37.00 m- 5

Game court

Game court is one of the names for a multi-sport athletic space, typically constructed outdoors, where such games as basketball, volleyball, paddle tennis and other racquet sports, and up to a dozen more games and activities can be played. They are usually smaller than a regulation tennis (120' x 60')or basketball (84'x50')court, although there is no set dimensions or size for a game court. The game-court concept was popularized by Sport Court in the 1970s, and some generic references are made to game courts as 'sport courts', although that is a trademark of Connor Sport Court International, LLC. Game courts are often found in residential backyards, giving families and children opportunities for healthy recreation close to home.

Game courts are usually constructed using a rectangular sub-base made from concrete or asphalt, then covered with an open-grid modular polypropylene (or similar) sports surface to improve safety. Most feature athletic equipment such as basketball goals, net systems for racquet sports, volleyball and badminton, lights for nighttime play, fencing or ball containment netting, hockey/soccer goals, lines or markings for various sports, and practice or training components can also be incorporated into the design.


The surface of a game courtas opposed to simply playing on concrete or asphaltis designed for safe play and to reduce injury. Many people have started to use suspended athletic courts to cover old athletic courts like tennis courts and basketball courts. The surface should provide appropriate traction for various types of sports and activities, as well as shock or force reduction to minimize overuse and stress injuries.

Game courts are typically custom-designed to the interests of the family or organization, and are versatile in enabling a wide variety of sports to be played in a relatively small space. Some activities played on a game court are enjoyable modifications of other sports (such as short-court tennis) that allow for similar skills to be developed as the 'regulation' game, but on a reduced-scale court size. A typical game court of 50 by 30 feet (15.2 m × 9.1 m) might include a basketball key and 3-point line arranged around a hoop, overlaid by short-court tennis or pickleball lines (which can also be used for volleyball or badminton) along the longer dimension.

Ball containment

Game courts for private use will frequently be built with a high fence surrounding the surface to allow for containment of the ball used in play, and, if required, to prevent people from entering. Any of several materials have been used, including chain-link fencing, welded wire mesh fence, and fabric mesh or netting.

See also

  • Line marker (sports)


  1. Kapstein, Ethan B (16 Dec 2010). Economic Justice in an Unfair World: Toward a Level Playing Field. Princeton University Press.
  2. The minimum (or typical, if there is one) number of players per team on the field is shown.
  3. "Kabaddi: Origin, rules and the Pro Kabaddi League". Khel Now. Retrieved 2021-09-27. The dimensions of the playing area vary for men and women. It is 33ft x 43ft for the former{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "Standard style and circle style - the two variants of Kabaddi". SportsAdda. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 2021-10-07. In the circle style format, the field is a circle with a radius of 22 meters [i.e. diameter of 44 meters] which is divided into two equal halves by a mid-line.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "rules-season1.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 2022-08-14.
  6. "FLAG FOOTBALL". The World Games 2022 | Birmingham, USA. Retrieved 2021-09-27. Teams compete on a rectangular 25-yard by 50-yard field, with an additional 10–yard end zone. [i.e. an end zone at each end, so 70 yards total length]{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. http://web.mit.edu/~xsdg/Public/papers/himcm-2003.pdf "The width is the distance between foul poles... the Twins’ field width (473.9 ft) and the Braves’ field width (470.2 ft) is not significant. However, the difference between the Rockies’ and Yankees’ field widths (492.9 ft and 446.9 ft, respectively) is very significant."
  8. Jay. "What is Girl's Fastpitch Softball Field Dimensions?". Softball Focus. Retrieved 2021-10-10. The NCAA recommends that the fence should be a minimum of [...] 230 [feet] in center field if the fence is 4 feet high. USSSA recommends that the fence be [...] 200-225 for 15U through the Open Division.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. https://resources.pulse.icc-cricket.com/ICC/document/2020/09/02/6dec295c-9378-46ae-8caf-bd799858c144/05-Mens-T20I-Playing-Conditions-2020-V2.pdf "no boundary shall be longer than 90 yards (82.29 meters), and no boundary should be shorter than 65 yards (59.43 metres) from the centre of the [field]"
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