I had immense difficulty – as I think a lot of people do – maintaining balance when I first started playing. I mean, as long as I didn’t focus on the ball, my mallet, my position on the court, or other players, I was alright – but most of my first games involved me putting my feet on the ground, looking sheepishly up at whoever was close by, and swearing under my breath.
And that’s good. That’s a good thing. It’s part of the initiation into bike polo. Enjoy that stuff.
But, if you want to speed up the process a little bit (and who can blame you, Falley McFootdown), I’d recommend a few simple things to help you gain your confidence at staying up longer.
First, work on moving slow by yourself. Try pedaling as slow as possible on the court. try turning while doing that. Now try stopping and standing on your pedals while achieving balance. Hell, I’d say you should be doing this even if you think you’re comfortable with your balance on a bike. This is something that everyone should do whenever they’re waiting on a game to start/just after a game/etc. It’s a fundamental skill, and you’re a dummy if you avoid that.
Next, have entire games where your focus is tapping out as little as possible. This is particularly good if you’re brand new to the sport. Nobody is expecting you to pull off amazing plays anyway – so why not make a game inside the game? Try to see how much you can get involved in close action without putting down your piggies. As you get more skilled in other areas, you’ll think less and less about whether you’re going to maintain your balance.
Finally, consider playing goal. It’s a position that will afford you a few things: 1. you’ll be able to learn by watching the other players, 2. You’ll learn the awesome skill of goal tending, and 3. the position demands balancing at all times…unless you’re a horrible cheater. In which case you’re fitting right in, probably.
Try those three out (or recommend them to your newbies) and taste some of that good gravy I’m whipping up for you. And by gravy I mean advice, and by whipping up I mean I’m suggesting it might help, but I’m not sure.