One of the most ingredients to success in any sport is a strong team spirit and sense of symbiosis between team members. If you have had the opportunity to watch any of the high goal this Argentine season, the most impressive play has been when players are aware of each other’s position without even having to look around them! The sequence of play that follows is much more dynamic and fluid than that those without that sense and takes the opposing team by surprise. At any level of play, knowing your team and being aware of their strengths and weaknesses and how they play on the field is important for creating more windows of play and of course, opportunities to score goals. Unfortunately, the nature of the polo season means that all too often, players are constantly changing teams and for a lot of people, making a team up for just one or two tournaments with friends. Finding the time to practice as a team before tournaments is not always possible and therefore developing team strategies and set plays that we see in some of the high goal games can be tricky. Nonetheless, it is worth finding some ways of connecting with your fellow team members before a game, for it’s not always the best team that wins, but the team that plays the best together!
Warming up together:
Aside from the physical benefits of warming up before a game, it is also important to prepare yourself mentally. Warming up with your fellow team members will not only help you get your head in the game, but also will help you start working together well. Stretching and doing some basic exercise drills pre-game will help you co-ordinate your game better and kick-start that team bonding process! Any drills such as ‘piggy in the middle’ or a small game of football will also benefit your polo game as you learn to be aware of each other on the field. As a bonus it might help develop some strategic plays that you can transfer to your polo game. You will also be reaping the benefits of some extra cardiovascular activity!
As I have previously mentioned, finding the time to organize a practice with horses can be tricky for a lot of players, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get together to practice working on your game! Tennis Polo is not only a great way of practicing your hand-eye co-ordination, balance and concentration skills, but also is a good opportunity to get to know your team and practice games with a bit of competitiveness and pressure. Tennis much like polo is a game of problem solving and it is a good opportunity to practice doing this with your fellow team-mates. You can then transfer these skills onto the field! Have a look at our blog post on the website for a guide on how to play, however the development of the game is in its early stages so don’t hold back! Feel free to come up with new rules and regulations and be sure to get in touch with me when you do – we want to see you guys out there trying it out!
Finally, it might sound silly but if you haven’t got access to a tennis court or place to play football, something as simple as a game of charades or Head’s up (Can be found as apps) will give you the opportunity to practice communicating with each other; one of the key ingredients to performance in polo!
Until next time, stay active and keep healthy,
Your fitness for polo coach,