Scoring in bike polo is probably one of the more frustrating elements to new players (and to more experienced players too, let’s be honest with each other). I thought I’d give some very basic tips for those who don’t want to look like a pisser.
Before I begin, I want to make something very clear: even the very best players in our humble sport miss a lot of shots – getting discouraged because you can’t hit the broadside of an Amish Terrarium shouldn’t factor into your attitude. Just keep swimming, Nemo.
So here is our willing subject, Horse. He’s sitting in the goal as if three doods where pushing their way up to him like 3 of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse (the 4th is talking to his mom about dinner arrangements).
We all are familiar with the big wheels and mallet. They do take a huge amount of the goal out of play. We can also see, however, a few openings:
- Just behind the back wheel
- The great big open space in the middlebits
- Just before the front wheel
Most people who defend a goal are keenly aware of these gaps, but are unable to do much about them. Instead of just shooting at a goal and hoping you’ll get the ball to hit one of these empty spots, why not try aiming for them. What do you think? Worth a shot? Hmmmm?
Horse is a good goalie by most standards, and he’ll be able to close off those areas if he thinks you’re aiming for them. This brings me to my next point: The goalie is a dope.
What I mean is this: the goalie must play dumb and go for what they think you’re trying to shoot. The alternative is to let you just score on them. Faking out the goalie (by either acting like your going to swing, moving slightly and then letting it rip or by waiting until the very last minute to direct the shot) is a great way of getting a point on the board.
It also makes you feel rather smug, and who doesn’t like that when the are having the post game brandy and cigar?
Another outstanding way of getting one past is to attempt the ol’ pass back: while moving towards the goal, pass to another player, have them pass immediately back to you, then shoot. It’s discombobulating!
Now let’s get into some particulars:
OR HAS HE?!
-yes, he pretty much has.
But this isn’t the best position for any goalie, as it allows you, the hero of polo, to utilize the honey spot in the middle.
Practice shooting on a space that is as large as a distance between the front and back tires. If you can get that down fairly accurately, you’ll be surprised at the amount of great goals you make with little effort.
Let’s assume, however, that you need to do some fancy footwork in order to achieve polo greatness. Let’s move on to slide 3:
Here is where it starts to get tricky – but the payoff is great. One little maneuver that always seems to work is to go around the goal to the goalie’s weak side (that is, the back of their bike).
You’ll see an opportunity something like this: a little space between the goal and the back wheel. Try to snake the little devil in that space, and there will be nothing the goalie can do.
Alternately, if the wheel is sticking out of the goal a bit, you can bank the ball of the goalie’s own wheel and it will shoot into the goal all pool hall style.
Then take a long look at the goalie’s face. Yeah – that’s how you roll.
If you’ve got a savvy goal tender, however, they’ll probably try to roll backwards a bit. That’s fine – use the chance of their shifting to find another opening and slap the goal in. Either way you are compromising the goalie’s strengths and emphasizing a potential weakness.
to predict where the goalie is going to go. If you make it look like you’re going to shoot at that space before his front wheel, then aim at where the front wheel is currently – the goalie will move forward, the space will open, and you’ll score.
The truth is this: scoring goals has plenty to do with ball handling skill, prediction, and lying. If you are Miss Cleo, you’ve already got 2 of the 3 down.