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Polo Player from Rio de Janeiro
What is Polo?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
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. The traditional sport of polo is played at speed on a large grass field up to 300 yards in length, and each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts.
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.
In arena polo, which is popular in the United States, the size of the field is ideally 100 yards long by 50 yards wide. The size of arena fields in the United States, where arena polo was first played, is often more variable where indoor armories and riding academies are still occasionally used. The playing boundary is marked by high wooden walls (usually at least 6 feet high). Arena polo requires teams of three riders, and goals are scored by passing the ball into a 10-foot-wide by 12-foot-high goal recessed into the end walls. In arena polo ends are changed at the end of each 6-minute period (chukka, chukker, or chucker) and not after a goal is scored. Arena polo uses a small leather ball between 12.5 and 15 inches in circumference and looks like a miniature football.
In Pakistan Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit annually in July. The tournament is held on Shandur Pass, the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700 meters. The festival also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up.
Gilgit, Chitral and Skardu have always played the game of polo closest to its original form. In the past, local Khans, Mirs and Mehtars were the patrons of the game. At times, more than 50% of the annual budget of their principalities would be spent on supporting the game
A polo game has periods of play, known as chukkas (also chukkers or chuckers). This term originated in 1898 and is derived from Hindi chakkar from Sanskrit chakra "circle, wheel" (compare chakka). Depending on the rules of the particular tournament or league, a game may have 4, 6 or 8 chukkas; 6 chukkas are most common Usually, each chukka is 7 minutes long, but some games are played in shorter chukkas. Between chukkas, the players switch to fresh ponies. In less competitive polo leagues, players may play only two ponies, alternating between them. For more competitive leagues, and in United States intercollegiate polo, each pony is played in at most two chukkas.
Games are often played with a handicap in which the sum of the individual players' respective handicaps are compared. The team with the lower handicap is given the difference in handicaps as goals before the start of the game.
The game begins with the two teams of four lined up each team in line forming two rows with the players in order 1, 2, 3, 4 facing the umpire in the center of the playing field. There are two mounted umpires on the field and a referee standing on the sidelines. At the beginning of a game, one of the umpires bowls the ball in hard between the two teams. Teams change goals on ends of the field/arena after each score or chukker in outdoor polo to minimize any wind advantage which may exist. Switching sides also allows each team equal opportunity to start off with the ball on their right side, as all players must hit right-handed
Each team consists of four mounted players, which can be mixed teams of both men and women.
Each position assigned to a player has certain responsibilities:
• Number One is the most offense-oriented position on the field. The Number One position generally covers the opposing team's Number Four.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
Polo must be played right-handed.