How to Play a Neckshot - Polo Swing Techniques

polo swing technique & stickwork Apr 14, 2022

The biggest mistake I see being made with a neckshot, is trying to start the swing as a forehand swing. 

Remember that with every swing, the ball will always go where the arc of the swing goes.

So how do you set yourself up correctly for a neckshot? Let me show you...

How to Play a Neckshot - Polo Swing Techniques


Okay. So, one of the biggest problems that I see with people trying to hit neckshots is, when they take the mallet back as an ordinary forehand swing and then try and make the neckshot around the front of the horse this way.

Remember that with every swing, the ball will always go where the arc of the swing goes. So, if you'd wanting to hit a neckshot at these goals behind me here, what you would be doing is making sure that you are really nice and right side, right hip forward.

And that the mallet, when you take it is pointing at the target. Okay? So, when I swing that mallet is now coming down in the arc to go to the goal. You can't take it back here and try and do that. That's not going to work.

The other thing that when you reach for the ball, don't be lazy sitting and think you can reach with your mallet in that shape there. Imagine trying to hit a forehand with your mallet in that shape there, your hand is above the ball and you are balanced above, on your stirrup, there above the ball so that you can swing. There's the swing plane.

So, for your neckshot, what you want to do is, again, you are balanced on this foot. Mallet is on shoulder line, as I keep talking about, then the shoulder line makes it strong for that shot there.

So, you would take it point it there and play the neck shot like that. The only time you would take this back and swing through this way is when you are actually running with the ball.

So, what you don't want then, because your horses front feet have very extended, is to try and play that neck shot with the front feet, legs really extended.

And also that makes you slow because to hit a proper neck shot, you want to just check your horse to shorten the stride so that the mallet can get past the horse's front feet. But if you are running with the ball, you don't want that to happen. So, what you would do then is to swing and pronate your mallet, but keep the mallet going past the horse's face.

So, at the contact, you are allowing that mallet head to close and go on past the horse's face that way. And that will create that neckshot for you.

So, if you are running here and you want to hit that, you would do that rather than that. And that gives you that lovely running neckshot that puts the ball in a nice wide arc for you going back to goal.

And it makes you very quick going back to goal like that. So, I'm onto my feet now, so that I'm already forward. The angle is made with the arc of the swing, wherever it's going to go.

As I have said, the angle of the neck shot is made by the plane of the swing and not by a roll of the wrists. For a 90 degree neck shot, the ball placement should be opposite your right foot. And the mallet at the top of the arc would be at a 90 degree angle to the horse's spine.

The more angle you want, the further you move the ball across the horse ie. towards its left foot. And the more the down swing of the mallet resembles a near-side backhand arc only played from the horses off side.

You can see in this particular swing that the ball is opposite my right foot. Hence, the ball is going to go at right angles in the swing. It's take a look at a swing with more angle. And you will see here that the ball placement is now opposite my horses left front foot and the down swing of the mallet is almost like a near side backhand.

See my hand going forward now. And the arc of the swing going from front to back, like a near side backhand, there's contact opposite my horses left foot. And because of the arc of the swing, you can see that the angle of that backhand is far greater going far behind 90 degrees.

Okay, so, to hit a rolling neck shot, what one would do is just hit that ball slightly wider, get your body slightly wide, so that your mallet comes past the horse's face there. Let's just take a look at that rolling neck shot in slow motion.

Here you can see almost a normal forehand slightly out to in, but the pro nation of the wrist at impact here, making the ball go left, but you will see that the actual mallet travels past the horse's face and not under its chin.

So, this swing is very similar to a forehand, just with a pro nation of the wrist and the mallet coming past the horses face.

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...