Ten Polo Tips
Interested in polo? Then read on…
By Stephen Biddlecombe
The dynamic game of polo originated in Persia, but has since established itself across the globe. Polo is played in more than 60 countries, and enjoyed by more than 50 million people each year, worldwide! The sport is becoming more widely available to every-day riders, with group polo lessons including a hired pony being offered at many centres.
1. There are four players in a team.
2. There are two mounted umpires and sometimes a ‘third man’ on the sidelines. Captains of teams are the only players who can discuss questions arising during a game with the Umpires.
3. The term chukka is derived from the Indian word for circle or ’round’. A chukka is the name for a period of time – in this case seven minutes, with up to 30 seconds ‘overtime’ for all but the final chukka. Play ends after the first bell when a goal is scored; a foul occurs, the ball goes out of play; or the second bell rings.
4. Typically club polo matches are four chukkas long. Fixtures like the Gold Cup are six chukkas long. If you see a match in Argentina, then you can expect eight chukkas.
5. Players return to the field with a fresh pony after each chukka. Breaks between chukkas are three and a half minute and five minutes at half time.
6. A full size boarded polo pitch is 275m x 183m – that’s over THREE football pitches!
7. Polo lessons typically range from between £50-£100 per session, dependent on whether engaging in a group session, or looking for one-to-one tuition. You don’t need to be an experienced rider to try your hand at polo - why not give it a try?
8. Polo clubs allow spectators to bring food and drinks. So pack a picnic lunch of items that will travel well for an afternoon sporting event.
9. Polo is of course an outdoor sport, so dress according to the weather. You really can't be over or under dressed. Spectators at a polo match wear everything from jeans to high fashion. If the polo match you're attending is a major tournament, charity benefit match or special event, you may want to dress up! If you want to go divot stomping at halftime, and you should, it's a good idea to wear practical shoes and a hat for sun protection. Other than that, be comfortable.
10. On that note… divot stomping is a long standing tradition at half-time. Spectators wander all over the field stomping down the torn-up turf. It's fun and you can meet great people just wandering the field. Even at high goal tournaments, the players often walk divots, and often they take breaks or change ponies close to the stands.
Stephen Biddlecombe represents www.worldwidetack.com - an online retailer that offers high quality polo tack and equipment, including the Stephen’s Polo Boots with its fashionable full front zipper.