How Not To Put Excessive Force in the Downswing? Answering Your Polo Questions

answering your polo questions polo swing technique & stickwork Nov 13, 2020

"How Do You Teach Yourself to Not Put Excessive Force in Your Downswing?"

This is such a pertinent question and problem for so many players. Let's chat about it and get it fixed.

How Not To Put Excessive Force in the Downswing? Answering Your Polo Questions


Question number five is, 'how do you teach yourself not to put excessive strength in your downswing?' from Virgil Korbel in France.

Well, if we can get this one, right, we're helping 90% of the rugby player, type players, that come into into polo and want to try and kill the ball. And they do that because they've got the strength in their arm, basically.

So, what they do is they go arm dominant instead of body dominant. And then you see somebody that is a puny little guy, or even the children and they swing and they use their bodies to actually make the whole swing work. And it's such a flowing swing. You know, there's no excess power because you're using your body to do that.

So, for me, number one, it comes from being arm dominant and shoulder centered. I wonder if I can turn this sideways and find myself.

So, if you think about your shoulder as the center of that swing. That's when it becomes an arm swing, where if you're turning your shoulders this way, and your shoulders are making the swing and pulling your hand through, it's a very much stronger swing and it's much more rhythmical and you don't get the feeling of having to pull the hand and put that excess power because subconsciously, you know you've got the power to hit the ball.

Now in the academy itself, we've broken down specifically at the moment that that offside forehand into five stages. Okay. And the first stage is, actually what is the swing?

And I don't know if I can get this on the camera here. Let me try. But basically what, what we're saying is if you're looking that, that mallet, when it's parallel to the ground, I'm not doing very well with the camera. The moment. Let me see if I can readjust. Not very well. Okay.

When that mallet is parallel to the ground, the wrist working to impact, okay, from there to there, that is the swing. Everything you add to it is what will give you power. But when you cocked your wrist like that, if you want more power, you will turn your shoulders to get that mallet higher.

But as you swing down, nothing has changed to that point. Now your wrist works, because one of the big problems guys, oh, sorry. While I'm losing. That is from the top of the swing.

You guys are using your wrist early. Okay? So, you use your wrist here. So, you've already speed the mallet up as much as it's going to speed up. Now, you have to swing hard with your arm to get mallet head speed.

Where if you will just keep that wrist cocked, as it should be, come down to where the mallet is parallel to the ground, and then pronate your wrists. Now you're getting this zip of that mallet unloading, your wrist unloading. And the big thing also is, I'm really battling with this, sorry with the camera like this.

Is at impact, you want to feel like you're locking at impact. So, if you just practice that zip and lock, and you leave your mallet face facing open like that at impact, okay.

In this forum, it's really hard to do more than that. But in the academy itself, there's very specific lesson on that. And it shows you exactly how to create the wrist lock, because if you will use your body and leave your wrist cocked later, and use your wrist through the bottom of the swing, but lock it at impact, and then allow your shoulder and arm to travel forwards.

It's when your shoulder gets frozen backwards. And you're trying to swing with your arm, that your arm bends. And it always feels like excess power because you hitting into the follow through.

It doesn't matter what the hell you do when you're in the follow-through, the ball's gone. You can't add power to it. You can only add power into the downswing to impact, okay?

So, you need to lock up at impact, and deliver all the power to the ball, and then soften your arm, and allow your shoulder to travel with your hand into the follow-through, the balls gone.

And that will mean that your body is actually working for you. Other than that, also lighten up your grip. You want just the back three fingers and thumb firm, you don't want your whole hand firm.

Cause if you firm your hand, you freeze your wrist, you make your forearm tight. You've got to really relax and just let that swing. Okay.

I'm only holding the back three fingers firm, and allowing that mallet to just swing, like that, because that will give you a really easy swing down to the ball. Sorry, Rob.

I don't know how to, other than just really being very kind of strict with yourself and, and holding that mallet gently, that's the biggest thing. Get it on plane, hold it gently and let it swing. You know. If you try and kill it, you always, always, it's a subconscious thing. You're trying to get the distance.

The other thing is trying to hit it half the distance. You'll find that your subconscious takes over and actually allows you to hit the ball. And it goes twice the distance because you hitting it so rhythmically and easily.

The minute you try and hit it harder, you find it goes less distance. Cause your wrist doesn't have time to work. You're only using your arm and you take away all the principles that give you the distance. Okay. Rob, back to you. Gav. 

That, it's actually pretty awesome. And just, you know, you were doing pretty fine with the camera. We could, we could see what you're explaining pretty well. I just want to add to that. I think an important thing is to actually just do a lot of practicing in a, you know, on a steel horse or on a horse, like you were talking about warming up where you just, you just practicing that nice, easy swing and not forcing it and making that a habit.

So that, you know, you're practicing what you just explained now out of a pressure situation. So that, when it comes to the pressure situations that where we all find ourselves in and we wanting, we telling ourselves nice, easy swings, and then we rush the swing and we try and hit it as hard as we can.

If you've got that muscle memory, you build the habits away from the pressure situation, it'll be more natural and more what you do when you are actually in the field. And, and under pressure where we find that we try and swing too hard at the ball. Anyway, that was just my 2 cents.

Also getting into that half seat, that I've shown in that video, helps so much because it frees your hips up and you're not stuck to the saddle.

A lot of people that put too much power into their swing, have either got the knee straight or they're sitting on their butt on the saddle. And that's when they try and force the shot.

Their knees straight and now that they gonna fall over anyway. And so they now try and, in South African terms, 'bliksem' the shot, you know, hit it too hard.

Where, if you're in that, in that sort of boxing stance with your feet back. The angle of attack of the actual mallet descending to the ball is steep, steep and long in front.

And you find that you don't hit from flat behind, up into the...and that tops the ball. Where, when you've got that correct stance, seat on the horse, your angle of attack on the ball is down into the ball and long.

So, that also stops you forcing because the force comes in the follow through where everybody's kind of putting force upwards and that throws you backwards. And that often comes from an incorrect seat sitting on the horse as well.

Ready to Become a Better Polo Player?

If you want to improve as a player... from your swing, to your on-field tactics, to improving your horses and riding, all the way to your fitness and psychology...

Then get started in the Academy today, for FREE...

YES PLEASE! Show Me How...