Instead of doing the “five things” post that I normally do (‘cause who wants consistency, right?) I am going to do a special post where I admit—yes, dear polo enthusiast—that I have learned a few things from other players both inside my club and from the polo world at large.
Always try to outrun someone on a loose ball
I’m not fast. Hell, I don’t even have a little pep to my pedal – but that generally doesn’t stop me from moving my stout little legs like there is a frosty beer waiting for me at the other side of the court. Do I normally get the ball?
No, no I don’t.
But I do make the other person work a little bit harder to get there first, and they almost always can’t make a good play once they get there. The point, in my case, is to tire the other person out and interrupt something sterling they had planned out in their brain-bits.
Someone trying to strip the ball? Push it under your bottom bracket
I still am guilty of not following the advice on this one, though I’m trying to get better. If another player is trying to strip the ball from you, just give it a cheeky push under your BB. Chances are very good that they won’t be able to get it once they have a bike to go through, and you can simply ride back over the ball to get it on your strong side again (or, if you’re near goal, try out that over the bar shot you always tell the polokins about).
Don’t bunch up, turkeyburger
I had/have/has (?) a bad habit of following the ball and not the play. What I mean is, I’d get zeroed in on the ball and follow it like a small puppy dog, ignoring the fact that my team mate (normally Kyle) was also following the ball.
This causes two problems: 1. If the ball gets away, 2 out of 3 players on your team aren’t in a position to make a play/stop a play, and 2. You aren’t creating an opportunity for the player going after the ball to dish it out to you.
Instead of bunching up on the guy who has the ball (or by having everyone on your team trying to go after the ball), attempt to play zones or other players (or consistently positioning yourself to receive the ball from your teammates.
Keep your bike up to snuff
Yeah. It’s a polo bike. It’s meant to be not perfect. But for the love of Dali, try to keep the thing at least functioning. Tires filled with air, grips secure, breaks dialed in – these are things that stop you from hurting other people on the court or, at the very least, keeping pickup games moving along. There is nothing more hum-drum than watching a guy fiddle with his noodle when there is some ball whacking to be done.
Yes, it was on purpose.
Learn what works for you, and do that
There is always some new thing in bike polo. Somebody’s figured out that ergonomic grips work better on the bike, or that building a mallet out of sausages makes for excellent on-goal shots, whatever.
You should try out anything you want, but stick to what works for you. Don’t just hop onto the newest LoBP (ALL HAIL) forum’s advice – keep what works for you and don’t bother fixing what isn’t broken, huh?
Be open to advice
I have a chip on my shoulder, and if you know what I look like, you’d probably guess it was a chocolate chip.
Anywhoo – I am known to get angry when people give me advice just after a botched play. I’m bonecrunching mad and some johnny-come-lately wants to give me advice?
Well yes, and that’s probably a good thing.
Learn to listen to advice when it’s given. After all, if it’s “somethingIalreadyknowthankyoujackass” you can just nod and agree and ignore that person. However, the majority of advice given is useful, if even just for consideration.
What are some things you guys have learned from other players (technical or otherwise)?