Yesterday at noon-thirty (once the hockey guys skated off of the court and went back to whatever it is they do whenever they aren’t warming up the surface for us) Lancaster United once again went back to the business of playing polo. We had an almost too-many-people turnout and some great fun games.
I left a touch early because I found myself thinking of all the work I had to do rather than enjoying the games, but I was there long enough to do my traditional thinkin’ on the sport itself:
Never give a lane in the defensive half
Sitting in goal, you can see when a shooter has an open lane. You can also see when your fellow defenders have pretty much set little Dorothy Polo on the yellow brick road to the goal. One thing I can suggest here is to make sure you as a defender are constantly getting in the way of a clear lane. Don’t let the ball carrier be able to get a clean, straightforward momentum going on the goal! twist around in front of them, force them to go to the side or struggle to get a breakaway. Disruption is key.
Don’t treat your new players with disrespect
I watched during a game as a more experienced player stripped their own newer player of the ball to make a shot. I know this wasn’t done maliciously – it was done because (looking at the match objectively), the more experienced player had a better position and chance of scoring.
But – they still stripped the ball from their own team-mate.
Furthermore, not a single player (myself included), said anything about how that was a wrong thing to do. We were all looking at it as a logical step. Looking back on it, I realize how insensitive this was to do.
It’s important to embrace your new players as new players – but also as people who will learn. Nobody benefits if you treat weaker players like they will never be able to handle themselves on the court (point in fact, you’ll never help them progress to being a good player that way). So give your players space and time to learn – even if it’s driving you crazy.
Just two things this week: I wasn’t really paying all that much attention, as I was expecting 40 degree weather and was instead greeted by 30 degree weather plus a vicious wind. Anyway, I’m excited for Wednesday play and for the pickup tourney this weekend – I suspect I’ll learn a’plenty from that.