I’m just as guilty as anyone else who writes or talks about what works and what doesn’t work in bike polo. Hell, I’ve used little wooden figures to help illustrate various positions and strategies and other lies you somehow believed. But I think the truth, when we get down to it, is pretty simple: you just gotta trick the other player into facing the wrong direction/moving the wrong way.
See, the bicycle, for all of it’s wonder and enjoyment, is essentially driven by the principle of constant movement. Ergo, our sport is also driven by the principle of continual movement. The best way to mess up a player is to stop that movement from being able to occur OR by using that movement against them.
I think our sport is one of the few where you can witness another player just give up – and this generally happens when the player they were trying to get the ball from/defend against gets around them. And why is that? Well, most times it’s because that other player is pointing in the direction they mean to go, while the player who gave up is facing/moving the wrong way.
At the core of most strategic moves in our sport is one basic underlying principle: if you get the other player to move or face in the wrong way (and you are moving/facing the right way), you pretty much have the drop on them. At least you do unless you refuse to pedal or can’t control the ball/shoot. Even then, however, it’s possible for a brand new player to be the only one facing the goal , allowing for even the most measly shot to have a better chance than normal.
I think if more players kept this simple principle in mind, they’d be able to pull off more in the sport: you just have to get opposing players facing the opposite way then you want to go. This can come from a mix of teasing them out of position or getting the ball past them on a break away – but however you do it, you’ll find yourself virtually alone for long enough to make a play work out.
The lesson goes the opposite way as well: if you’re trying to get the ball carrier, do everything you can to not be facing the wrong way (the opposite way of the ball carrier). It might feel awesome to strip the ball from the carrier in a dramatic jousty-sort-of move, but if you miss you’ve rendered yourself useless for more than a few seconds.