Own the Inside of the Field (How & Why)

horse polo successful polo player tactics and anticipation Nov 26, 2021

Want to mark more effectively? Then you need to "Own the Inside of the Field!"

Transcription: Own the Inside of the Field (How & Why)

This is a lesson in how to mark more effectively. When you are playing a basic rule of thumb would be to picture the field with a rugby ball painted on it with its tips in either goal as depicted in the diagram.

Your aim is to own the inside of the field ie. the space of the rugby ball, and to put the opposition on the outside of the field, as this makes you quicker on the field, as you have less distance to travel. 

A more sophisticated way of looking at this information. And one that probably works more practically is to imagine the rugby ball painted with one of its tips in the goal mouth and the other on the ball, wherever it is on the field.

And one can see from the diagram how effective this is both in attack and defense.

In this example, if the blue attacker hits the ball towards goal A, and as teammates have managed to clear the rugby ball, then the yellow team cannot defend.

And if the reverse was true and yellow were attacking goal A, then blue would be able to prevent them doing this. The player in Blue on the gray horse is standing at one in the line out.

When the ball goes through to the back of the line out, she correctly ends up playing back. However, she makes one crucial mistake. She lets her opponent get her on her inside and push her to the edge of the field so that the goals are unprotected from a red attack.

The next scene is almost a replica of the previous one, except that this time the player on the gray makes the correct move and gets onto the inside of her opposition.

One can see as a consequence of this, that the Red cannot attack, but also when the Blue's regain possession, because she is on the inside, she is much quicker back into the attack, as she has the shortest route to travel.

Let's look at the previous scene diagrammatically. If the blue can get on the inside and own the proverbial rugby ball, then if she is attacking goal A red cannot defend, if she is beaten on the outside. And if blue is defending goal A red cannot attack again because she's on the outside.

So in attack or defense owning the inside of the field and putting your opponent on the outside is the correct move. Also, as we saw in the last scene, if her team regained position, she is then much quicker back into the attack because she's on the inside.

Take a look at this next scene and you will see how important the high goalers think owning the inside of the field is.

Here you can see some action and there you will see the white player knows that he's beaten and he will immediately get out of that ride off and try and get back on the inside of the black player, which he does very successfully, takes them out, and is thus able to come back to goal and attack the goals.

If white had stayed in that ride off and stayed on the outside of the field, black would have always had the upper hand.

In this next scene you can see a backline knock-in from the blue team. The blue number two on the gray horse runs into space left and the back hits a neck shot to that player.

The blue number one should never be drawn into following on the near side of the red number one, because he will then always be on the outside of play.

What he should do is let the red number one follow the blue number two for a short distance, and then get round on his inside. You can see however that the blue number one does exactly the wrong thing as does the blue number three.

And both of them are now on the outside of the player. Diagrammatically then what has happened is this, is that the number two blue who incidentally has again, ended up playing one and is attacking.

So, you can see the interchange of players here has had to really try and play really quickly to get around her opposing red, to get to goal A.

And you can see that both the three and the one behind her have all been beaten and pushed to the edge of the field. So the reds have done a very good job of protecting their goals here.

Here's an example of the blue number three, going for a low percentage hook with no protection for the goals he misses this hook, and it ends up with the white team scoring a goal at the other end of the field.

The right play would have been to give away the low percentage play and get on the white players inside. Effectively, he would have lost this one play, but beaten the white on the next play and been able to play a backhand into the goal and kept the blue attack rolling.

So as a rule of thumb, give away one low percentage play and make sure that you are dominant in the second play. If you try to make the low percentage play and are late on it, you give away many succeeding plays.

Here's the result of that indiscretion. You can see the white is now free. The blue player is then marked out of the equation, and white is able to go the length of the field and score goal.

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