Let’s just get this out of the way right early in the post: I will not make any jokes about male anatomy. I am discussing bike polo mallets and that’s that. If you’re looking for a bunch of cheap suggestive innuendo, read a Better Homes and Gardens article.
There has been some discussion in the past about the regulation of length in polo mallets. The consensus, as far as my myopic eyes have seen, is that polo mallet length won’t be standardized anytime soon (unlike lacrosse mallets which are a regulation size, for instance).
So it comes down to personal preference – which is true of most things in this sport. Granted, you don’t see tricycles being used in the sport, but I think it would take at least a few games before anyone told little Timmy Trike that his ride wasn’t kosher. Far removed is the length of the mallet you use: Trace, for instance, uses a mallet that is probably up to my chest (I know, not saying much there, but all the same). I’ve started using longer mallets, whereas Kyle uses a shorter build.
While this does all come down to what you find works best for your game, I think there are some inherent qualities between short and long mallets:
- Short Mallets
- Weight of mallet head less important
- Better control of the ball closer to bike
- Potentially more “flickable”
- Doesn’t look like you’re compensating for anything OH I BROKE THE RULE I SET UP FOR MYSELF!
- Long Mallets
- Easier to make powerful shots
- Better chance of stealing
- Obviously more reach
I was going to add where I thought goal tending fit in here, but to be honest I think it just changes how one goal tends a bit. With a longer mallet you have the potential to disrupt the shot before it’s taken (by simply pushing the ball out of the swinging mallet’s way). With a shorter mallet you’re more likely to “catch” a ball that has been shot. I don’t think either quality makes a long or short mallet “better” for goal tending.
In the end, I’ve noticed that I’m losing close control (that is, ball handling when the ball is nearer to my bike) with a longer mallet. I’m thinking about chopping down my current build by a few inches just to see what kind of difference it makes.
Naturally it comes down to what you’re comfortable with. I’m sure some of you Poloaticians have thoughts on this, right?