Players can be heavy on the use of their mallets for plays, or they can be weak on the use of their mallets. If you wanted to break it down, I’d say that the majority of great polo players are mallet centric (use their mallets to get out of sticky situations or to create plays via clever passwork/shooting), whereas newer players are bike centric (depend on break-aways, raw power and speed to make plays happen).
I think both types of players can benefit from doing a little ol’ role reversal once in a while.
If you’re a mallet-centric player, try spending a few pickup games working on your bike position and blocking for other players. It’s easy (if you’re very good with your mallet) to forget that you’re not a one person team, and by limiting yourself for a few games to just acting as a wingman to other players, you can remind yourself of how positioning and blocking can make for a stronger overall team effort.
Likewise, if you’re more of a blocker/position master, but weak on your mallet work, consider letting someone else take the role of wingman and work on weaving the ball around yourself during play. You can only learn so much mallet control by yourself on the court–you need the pressure of other people trying to take that ball away.
It’s important, I find, to keep yourself out of a groove. You might have some skill set that is tried and true, but limiting yourself to only one set of moves will make you get stale and predictable. Becoming too dependent on mallet work (or on bike work) will make you, inherently, weaker in other areas.
Just some food for thought on this lovely Tuesday.