Training a high goal team

Having the possibility to train a sports team that competes at the highest level is a privilege. The expectations, and the challenges, are bigger. Commitment, discipline, dedication, hard work, willpower, strength and a desire to win are just some of the qualities that a high goal team must possess.

Even within the high goal handicap bracket there are different levels (18, 20, 22, 26 goal etc.) Every tournament is different; the fixtures, the timetable, the climate and the team. I try to apply the same theories and practices in every place I go. Occasionally, adjustments must be made for certain players, but the overall objective is to avoid injuries and to make sure every player is at an optimal performance level for each match. Every player is different and as such their training and fitness routines must be personalised. I normally try to do the recovery sessions with everyone together. While these can also be done individually, they do not need to be personalised. I try to encourage team sessions, because building and maintaining team unity is as important off the field as it is on. In my opinion team bonding is one of the key factors of polo.

Nutrition also plays a fundamental role in the physical preparation of players; it is a determining factor to whether a player is able to reach his maximum potential or not. Many players, even at the top level, do not pay enough attention to nutrition and how they fuel their bodies. But there are those who ask questions, inform themselves and do everything to improve their physical health.

Another key factor in the physical preparation of a high goal team is the way in which it reacts to the results on the field. The good mood that comes about as a result of a victory makes the hard work easier. Positive results help a huge amount with a player’s morale and this often means that training ideas are well received. However, it is also interesting to analyze what happens in training sessions after a negative result. I like to work with each player individually the day after a loss, start a dialogue and look at the positives. These recovery sessions are important in every aspect, both psychologically and physically. It is worth highlighting what should happen the day before a match and on the big day. A training session is not always the

It is worth highlighting what should happen the day before a match and on the big day. A training session is not always the most best preparation the day before a match; sometimes a massage or a rest day can be far more beneficial. If the team have a practice the day before a match, which is often the case, as well as the customary warm up and cool down, I often encourage a recovery session, where I make the players work at 50-55% of their maximum output. An adequate training program is always going to provide positive results and the player will notice a big difference in his performance even by just adding active recovery sessions to his routine. It is important to keep a good rhythm, but not to overdo it.

Match day is unique to each place or tournament. Every player is different and superstitions play a big role in polo. Before matches we do a warm up with exercises as a team or in pairs, thereby creating the first link between the team that day. During the match it is important to keep each player hydrated. Tip: never wait until you are thirsty to drink. Thirst is your body’s way of alerting you that you are already dehydrated. For maximum performance, players must remain fully hydrated throughout the entire match. The day after a game is planned according to each player’s physical needs. It is a good time to get rid of the waste that our muscles leave behind when we play polo. To conclude, I would like to congratulate the vast amount of players that take their fitness very seriously. In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a big change in the way polo players get ready for a game. Many are just realising how important it is. Nowadays, almost every high goal team has their own physio, trainer or both. Many players travel with their personal trainers around the world, just like tennis players do. I hope that more players from the medium and low goal take into consideration the importance of being fitness and thus improve their performance.

To conclude, I would like to congratulate the vast amount of players that take their fitness very seriously. In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a big change in the way polo players get ready for a game. Many are just realising how important it is. Nowadays, almost every high goal team has their own physio, trainer or both. Many players travel with their personal trainers around the world, just like tennis players do. I hope that more players from the medium and low goal take into consideration the importance of being fitness and thus improve their performance.

 

 

FBblanco

 

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