Here at the broken hearts polo club, we try to…well, I mean, I guess we try…
I don’t even know anymore.
::swings at nearby NAH ball, misses, sighs to himself while rolling off away from person he was talking to::
The truth is, bike polo takes a good amount of skill and practice to even play moderately well. It’s hard to be on a bike and do anything other than riding it (for most people–not for polo players, necessarily). But we forget this as we develop in the sport – we forget that what we’re doing is pretty complicated for the brain to take in and process.
So when we mess up hitting a little ball with a little striking surface while going full tilt at a goal (and a wall), we get really frustrated with ourselves and think “man, I’m just not that good at polo.”
And you’re half right. Maybe even more than half.
I take lots of time listing the “top skills” needed for polo, but some of the skills that I think are most important are more or less as relevant outside of polo as they are inside of the court: the ability to recognize what you’re doing as difficult, and giving yourself some slack.
The first step is to realize you’re punishing yourself more than anyone else intends to. When you miss three passes in a row, your team mate might give you some jawtime, but they really shouldn’t mean anything by it. You, on the other hand–you’ll start hating yourself if you aren’t careful. Remember this, broken-hearted player: there is always the next game/next tourney/next year. There is always room to improve, and there is always an “off” day lurking around in your future.
Don’t get hung up on past mistakes either. If you’re going to go all sadface during a particular game, make sure it only stays in that game. There is nothing more sad than watching a player as they spiral down the path of worse and worse play because they’ve lost confidence. Man, that just hurts to see.
Finally, provide reasons and excuses only if pressed. Your team mates really shouldn’t be grilling you about why you flubbed a shot (if they do, find new team mates and dump those jerksticks), but don’t just offer up a stream of what went wrong – at least not if you feel personally responsible. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do an analysis of the game if you think it will help your team or your play in general, but make sure you’re making observations and not just excuses. Nobody needs to hear it, least of all yourself.
Or, if you decide that isn’t good enough for your necessary sadness, just play some Cohen records and look longingly out of a window while thinking about how poor your mallet handling is. That should help, too.