Today, you can teach yourself almost anything in an afternoon on Youtube. Remember Julius Yego? He’s that Kenyan guy that taught himself how to throw the javelin via Youtube and went to compete at the Olympics. Literally.
But we’re talking about polo here. And, learning to ride a horse is a bit different than throwing a javelin, right?
Not to mention swinging a mallet and hitting the ball while riding at 30 mph.
Well, no matter how you look at it, Youtube has become an essential tool for the modern polo student. In fact, it’s the first place I went after deciding to take lessons.
Over my first month of lessons, I clocked more hours watching Youtube videos than I did on the horse. And I’m glad I did.
Thanks to Youtube, I enjoyed the game more and understood basic rules. I even had a foundation of knowledge that supported what my coaches were saying.
So, this week, instead of an article recounting my most recent polo lesson, I decided to take a different approach. I’m going to share some of my vast polo Youtube knowledge with PoloWeekly in an article I’m calling “7 videos every polo beginner must watch… ASAP“.
To keep things simple, I’m breaking this article into four parts:
- The rules of polo
- How to ride a polo pony
- How to swing a polo mallet
- Where to get more polo videos
Let’s get started!
1. What are the rules of polo?
I decided to start with the rules of polo because they form the foundation for playing the sport. And if you know them, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening when you start.
A word of caution: Like any sport, the rules of polo differ from country to country. So when considering the rules that you need to abide by, speak to a fellow player or coach.
But, I’m not trying to get you to Palermo here – at least not yet. So if you want a crash course in the rules polo, these videos will do the trick no matter where you live.
Igancio Fernandez Llorente, from PoloIn, released a series titled “Polo Rules Course in English” almost five years ago. This is my favorite video series on polo rules – maybe even my favorite video series on polo entirely.
Since starting, this series has become a bit of a bible for me. I enjoyed the “elementary” approach to teaching the game and I watched all 12 of the videos in the series. If you’re just getting started with polo, I highly recommend taking the time to watch this series.
Each video is about 5-10 minutes. The stop motion editing is great and the visual aides are basic but incredibly useful. And Ignacio does a great job of explaining things in a way that a beginner, who knows absolutely nothing about polo, can understand.
Here’s a link to the first video in his series. Take an afternoon, pop some popcorn, and dig in!
2. How to ride a polo pony?
Yes, riding the horse. It’s an important component to polo and without it, you can’t play. Believe it or not, I hadn’t considered this before starting, but my coach made me realize how important this was with a single statement:
“You wouldn’t play water polo if you couldn’t swim. Why would you play polo if you can’t ride a horse?”
Riding is the foundation of polo. And whether you have no riding experience at all or you’re a lifelong equestrian, riding for polo is a different animal that you’ll need to learn.
If you’ve been following my Learning To Play Polo series, you know that my riding experience was limited. I started from scratch. So I jumped onto Youtube and devoured everything I could find. What I ended up finding was a collection of videos from several sources, which all had something to offer.
To learn how to ride, you need a feedback loop, a teacher, and someone that can keep an eye on you from a distance. Otherwise, you’re going to end up developing bad habits that you will need to correct later on. So you’ll want to find an instructor before jumping on a horse.
And yet, there is still value in Youtube when it comes to riding – by starting with some basic knowledge, learning the terms, and even being able to better visualize the instructions, you will be able to shorten your feedback loop and get better faster.
With this in mind, I found a number of great videos that teach the fundamentals of riding. One such video is from the Denver Polo Club.
The first four minutes of this video are a great primer for a novice who has zero riding experience. And if you are just starting to play, have a watch before your lessons as a reminder of what to expect.
You can watch Erica’s video here!
3. How to swing a polo mallet?
There are a wide range of videos available that discuss hitting the ball. But like the other areas we’ve discussed, there were a few videos that stuck out to me.
First, let’s start with actually gripping the mallet. This has been something that I have had to constantly review. Maybe it’s because of my experience playing other swing sports, but for some reason, I want to slide into a different grip each time. That just goes to show the importance of having great video resources and being able to watch them on repeat.
In this video, GavSays shows you the correct grip for the mallet and the tricks to remembering to keep your grip in the correct position.
You can watch the video here.
Now, moving onto the actual swing.
Sarah Wiseman, a professional polo player and director of Aspect Polo does a great job in her video series sharing the various swings of polo. I have gone back to these videos several times for refreshers and suspect that I will continue to do so.
She has dedicated videos to:
- How to hit a backhand shot
- How to hit a nearside backhand shot
- How to hit a nearside forehand shot, and
- How to hit an off-side forehand shot
And, in her “Introduction to Polo” video she does a great job introducing the basic swing.
You can see all of Sarah’s videos here.
Bonus: Sarah’s other videos are great foundational videos for learning the game. Recommended viewing for sure.
4. Where to get more polo videos?
One of the best places that I have found to get instructional videos is the PoloSkillz Youtube channel.
This channel has loads of polo videos covering all topics and skill levels. So whether you are a beginner, novice, intermediary, or pro, they have you covered.
You can also check out their video archive on their website for an easier to navigate library of content.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list. I’m sure there are plenty of other videos out there that can help you prepare for your lessons. But these should act as a good primer to get started.
If you come across other videos that you think should be added to the list, please leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!