Why are there so few mallet head deviants?

The bike polo mallet head is a tube. A tube of some kind of plastic.

It’s tubular. Tube-tastic. Totally, bro.

It started this way (or at least became prevalent in this form) because gas pipe worked well and was plentiful. Naturally growing in the fields of power companies, gas pipe was harvested by our ancestors and used in the sport we know today.

But most of us have moved past the point of agrarian mallet harvesting and now either purchase pre-made heads specific for the application of polo or the raw materials from plastic supply companies to make our own. We aren’t hamstrung by the need to have one shape (TUBE) or style.

So why hasn’t there been more people offering up alternative mallet head designs?

picture from LoBP

Yes – I have seen a few examples from Japan (I think) and maybe a few in the states where someone made a solid slim body design, but none of those were created in earnest (as far as I could tell). So what’s holding us back? Is it just that we’re comfortable with the tube mallet head and it works well for the sport as a whole? Are we just lazy?

The answer to that last question is probably yes, and I know it.

I think it comes down to weighing the pros and cons. The difference between having a hollow mallet head and a solid mallet head might not me much, but if my own BS building brain is right, there might also be advantages to creating a more solid core mallet head.

Here’s my totally legitimate drawing of what that could look like:

I would call it the dumbbell, and it would be my legacy.

So what I see happening in my clearly doctor-of-physics-and-energy-transfer brain is this: because you have a solid mass behind the cap, you’re able to transfer more energy to the ball when you hit it. This means more power, and faster/cleaner shots.

Horse – is that a correct statement? If it isn’t, don’t say so.

picture from LoBP

This might also cause some trouble, though. NAH rules would have to adjust, perhaps, and there’d be a need to adjust play styles a bit. But in that adjustment there might also come opportunity, so who’s to say.

So have you guys seen or tried out variations of mallet heads? What worked and what didn’t?

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7 comments

  1. mathbach says:

    your design makes the “push” area very unpredictable, which is pretty important for traveling around the court with that damn ball

    • Crusher says:

      I disagree: because you’re essentially putting the ball on the inside of a U or a |___| to be precise, it can’t travel off the ends as easily. It’s like shuffleboard, almost.

      I see this being poo-poo’d for the same reason big holes on the sides of mallets are outlawed.

      • polobo says:

        Big holes on side cuts aren’t outlawed by current rules.
        Except the bench rules, and there are other alternative rules in that rule set as well( such as allowed w
        rist shots)

        • Crusher says:

          Ah, I should have written more clearly, I was referring to the draft of the rules that currently exists:
          2.4.2.4 The inner diameter of any hole on the mallet head may not exceed 57mm
          (2.25”).

  2. Horse says:

    I have to agree with Lumber on this. While it does put the ball at the U, it also reduces the area of contact… i see the ball popping up. As for an overall comment, you have people refusing to pay 10-20 bucks for a head of simple design. The design and manufacture of a ‘new’ design would be costly, and frankly, there aren’t enough people coughing up money to make it worth while.
    That being said, we could order a piece of 5″ round bar, and lathe it to the shape you designed, and see for ourselves in real, non PAINT life. I’d be game to try it out for S-A-G.

    • Crusher says:

      I think that’s a great idea. Let’s make that happen for beer and skittles and also so you and I can continue to argue about whether it’s viable. Statements like “It’s SUPPOSED to pop in the air like that – it’s a feature not a flaw”, and “But if a T-Rex attacks you, the lack of a tube will spell your doom” and stuff like that.

  3. Crusher says:

    On the twitterbox, Andy K of Manchester Bike Polo ( I believe) explained that the hollow tube is stronger, and then got some fancy numbers to back him up: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/12913/hollow-tube-stronger-than-solid-bar-of-same-outside-diameter-o-d

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