dinsdag 21 september 2010

Winter is coming ... Snow Polo as well

Argentine polo player Ignacio Figueras, known simply as Nacho

Here in Holland Autumn is settling in, last weekend for me the end of the summer really arrived when the beachclubs where giving their closing parties. A lot of friends are expanding this by going this and next week to the Ibiza closing parties.

But it got me thinking about all the nice things winter brings ... and one of them is Snow Polo! It is always fun to watch is a game of polo, it's a fast and attractive game ... and not just because most of the polo players are quite nice to look at ;).

An good example of the average polo player is Nacho. He is also the face for Ralph Lauren Polo Black, check out this video... everytime very very pleasant to watch ;)

So if you are going to Switserland this winter, visit one of the games and enjoy the atmosphere, the horses, the sport..... 

For those of you who don't know the Polo game, in short:
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet.

Field polo requires two teams of 4 players. A full-size field is 300 yards long, and either 200 yards or 160 yards wide if there are side boards—these are generally 6" high. There are tall collapsible goalposts at each end of the field spread 8 yards apart. The object of the game is to score the most goals by hitting the ball through the goal. Polo teams change direction after each goal in order to compensate for field and wind conditions.

There are two basic defense techniques allowed in polo. The hook, or hooking, is when a player uses their mallet to block or interfere with an opponent's swing by hooking the mallet of the other player with their own mallet. A player may hook only if is he is on the side where the swing is being made or directly in front or behind an opponent. A foul is awarded for any hooking that does not fit this stipulation. For example, a player cannot reach over the mount of another player to hook their mallet, and this would be considered a penalty.

The other defense technique is the bump, or ride-off. This is similar to a body-check in hockey. It is used to break an opposing player's concentration, move him off the line of the ball, or spoil his shot. A ride-off is when one player rides his pony next to an opponent to lead him away from the ball. This is only allowed when the angle of collision is not greater than 45 degrees.

Each team consists of four mounted players, which can be mixed teams of both men and women, who must be play right-handed and all have a certain position to play in. Each position assigned to a player has certain responsibilities:
  1. Number One is the most offense-oriented position on the field. The Number One position generally covers the opposing team's Number Four.
  2. Number Two has an important role in offense, either running through and scoring themselves, or passing to the Number One and getting in behind them. Defensively, they will cover the opposing team's Number Three, generally the other team's best player. Given the difficulty of this position, it is not uncommon for the best player on the team to play Number Two so long as another strong player is available to play Three.
  3. Number Three is the tactical leader and must be a long powerful hitter to feed balls to Number Two and Number One as well as maintaining a solid defense. The best player on the team is usually the Number Three player, usually wielding the highest handicap.
  4. Number Four is the primary defense player. They can move anywhere on the field, but they usually try to prevent scoring. The emphasis on defense by the Number Four allows the Number Three to attempt more offensive plays, since they know that they will be covered if they lose the ball.
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