Fixing Inconsistent & Misdirected Shots

polo swing technique & stickwork Sep 17, 2021

 Do you struggle with inconsistent and misdirected shots?

This usually occurs because of basic faults within the big 3 fundamentals of hitting a ball: Plane, Posture and Grip.

In this lesson with Chris from Zambia, I highlight those faults and show you how to correct them. It will make a big difference!

Fixing Inconsistent & Misdirected Shots


So, often poor or inconsistent shots are caused by one or two fundamentals not being done correctly. Firstly, an incorrect grip causes problems. Secondly, poor posture. And third, not paying attention to a correct swing plane, are usually the major contributing factors in the inconsistent and misdirected shots.

If you look in this still picture, you can see that Chris's finger is protruding here. And if one goes back to the video I did on the grip, you will see immediately that if you look at the back fingers, there, that they are across the mallet and not with the mallet. Okay.

So, the most important thing for me, is that these two knuckles are on top of the mallet. If you look, there's a ridge down the top of the mallet where it bends to go down, okay. That ridge, this knuckle here, needs to be on top of that ridge and this knuckle needs to be just below it, so that the finger is wrapping around like that.

A really easy way to do it is to make sure that your fingers and hands are running with the mallet like this, put that knuckle on top of the mallet and then take the grip. Because what that will mean is that mallet from the front hangs absolutely below my arm.

If you allow this knuckle to slide off round the side like that. Immediately you see this finger protrude. When this finger protrudes, these three fingers of your hand have gone from, with the shaft to across the shaft.

And what happens then is you see, I cannot get the mallet below my shoulder. It's not a pendulum anymore. The minute I go back to the proper grip, you see how the head drops and that whole line, lines up again. This will have real consequences at the top of the swing.

If one looks here, one can that the angle between the mallet and his forearm is far too much, and this is caused because he now has a muscle on top of the mallet, as I've shown you because the knuckle has slipped round behind the mallet. And he now has the muscle of his hand on top of the mallet, allowing that mallet to fall over in the swing like this. There is nothing actually to stop the mallet swinging.

Where, if you have a correct grip, the knuckle prevents this mallet falling over so far. If one looks at a really great ball striker, like Malcolm Borwick, at the top of his swing angle between his forearm and mallet, is far greater. And his mallet is not able to fall over in the swing because this finger here is not protruding.

One can only just see the tip of the finger here. And that would mean that he has his knuckle on top of the mallet, and thus this limits the mallet falling over in the swing.

If you look at Chris's finger, his finger is wrapped round the mallet there, and that his knuckle is now behind the mallet and not on top of it, allowing that mallet to fall over.

The other real problem is, in Chris's posture. He rides with a very arched back and because his back is so arched, to get himself over the ball, he has had to crouch incredibly low with his head.

And that collapse, at the waist, will really cause his hips to freeze. And he will not be able to swing with anything but his arm. If you look at Malcolm, he's much more upright. And because of that, as he swings, hips are very active as he makes that swing. There, you can see them turning back to square in the downswing and back to impact. Where Chris will be unable to do so.

And you can see also that everything in Malcolm's swing is balanced on top of the horse. You will see that with Chris, he is way out over the ball and unable to balance himself. The other problem that I've referred to, is a poor swing plane.

There you can see the start of his swing, and as he takes the mallet back, watch his elbow drag around behind him. And because of that, he pulls the mallet in way over the top of the horse out of the swing plane. And you can see also how, as he drags that mallet behind him, he's throwing his head out over the ball.

If one looks at Malcolm, you can see that in his take away, the elbow goes straight up and then extends his arm. And that puts the mallet in a fantastic position to swing straight down to the ball in a beautiful arc strike down to the ball. If you watch Chris's arc, it will always go from inside, to outside, and across. And he will always hit that ball right, because of that.

Unless he adjusts with his wrist at the bottom to drag that ball left. But his normal swing will be to the right because of the swing arc. You will also see that a consequence of that, in trying to adjust, is a bent arm at impact there. And the mallet going from inside, round the ball, and back to inside.

Look where that follow through is, and where the mallet started. If you watch Malcolm, his mallet has gone straight to the ball and straight on out past the horse. So, that whole swing arc is a problem with Chris's swing here.

If you look from side on, then you will notice also, that Chris, on the left, has stirrups that are a couple of holes too long. And his leg position is much straighter than Malcolm's. Take a look at the angle here, compared to Malcolm who is firstly, nicely healed deep, and has got that very nice seat and leg position with the bend the knee. 

Therethe take away, watch how Chris's leg's are very straight. And at the top of the swing there, he's nicely balanced over his legs, but because the stirrups sit too long, he will stay with straight legs right through that swing. And because of that, you can see that he is actually going to fall backwards in to the seat because he's trying to balance on those stirrups.

If you watch Malcolm on the right-hand side here. He gets up into the top of the swing with a reasonably straight leg. But because the stirrups are the right length, as he starts the down swing, he drops down into the saddle and back to the original leg position.

And stays there driving past his foot, because he's able to. And at the same point here, you can see that his legs back to the original shape of his legs, but he's driving past his foot. 

Where Christopher, on the left, has got very little leg bend here. So, one can see that then accumulation of small problems leads to real inconsistencies when one is hitting the ball. And one needs to pay attention to, stirrup length, posture, grip and swing plane.