Why Balance is Critical

horse polo play polo polo Dec 31, 2021

Want to hit a long, directed & consistent polo ball?

Then your balance is critical! If you get your balance right when hitting the ball, you are able to transfer your weight correctly... and then strike the ball effectively!

Transcription: Why Balance is Critical

I think one of the most important things when hitting the ball is that you've got your balance correct. So, that you can transfer your weight correctly. So, what am I talking about?

I think if you look, there is almost a vertical line from hip to heel and from shoulder to knee, if those two parallel lines are correct, then you are balanced.

And if your leg and knees are strong, you're then able to pivot correctly and get your weight transfer correct. The next thing that I really think one needs to pay attention to is the actual spine angle and body position.

So, if you take my spine there and from hip to knee, and from knee to heel, and my foot, you see it, it's almost a wrong way round 'E'.

And if you watch in the swing, when I'm coming down to impact that angle really does not change very much after impact. The lines are pretty similar.

Lets just take a look at that swing. You see the balance. There's no weight falling backwards in that swing. It's all a balance over my feet and the weight transfer going through and forward with a nice long follow through.

Take a look at it in slow motion, you can see that there's very little superfluous movement in that swing. The legs is strong. The body position stays the same. The feet stay the same. That don't turn out. Nice extension of the arm and the mallet swinging through. Let's go back and take a look at a lesson I did with the 4 goaler here.

He was at that time, he's since gone up in handicap. But in his penalties, everything was fading slightly to the right. So, we took a look at the fundamentals of what he was doing.

See if you can spot the difference, take a look in slow motion. Okay. If you look on the pane on the left, he was busy cutting the ball and on the right is after we'd done a bit of work.

And the penalties really started to go very nice and straight. So, what am I talking about is the difference. If you look at the top of the swing in the left-hand pane, take a look and see what he'd done to his foot. There you can see the parallel lines have gone. If one is looking here. You see he has straightened his leg.

That line from hip, to knee, to heel, to toe, had straightened out considerably. That means that his legs are always going to be pushing him back in the swing. His weight transfer is going in that direction because his foot is pushing him back. So, as he swings, he's going to be falling back. If you look on the right-hand side, look at the difference here.

That's a far better body balance, and you can see that he is balanced over his feet, not behind them. So, if you took a vertical line from hip to heel, and from shoulder to knee, that those two lines of far closer than on the left hand pane here with you, took his hips there. Look at how far ahead his foot and his knee is in front of the shoulder.

On the right hand side, his shoulder is in front of his knee. So, that balance is a far better set up. And that is what we needed to do to get the shots going straight. Have a look through these swings at the weight transfer and the balance through the swing.

Firstly, his riding very much at the back of the saddle. This his weight is right at the back and there's a lot of room in front of him on the saddle.

It's much better to sit forward in the saddle so that you balancing over your stirrups. You can see at this point, already, his feet are forward and his weight is really kicking him backwards in this direction.

So, as he swings, his weight is already going backwards instead of forward through the shot. And he cannot balance. If you look here at the vertical line from hips will see how far forward his heels are.

And if you take a vertical line from the shoulders, you can see it's way behind his knee. So, all of that is going to be problematic to him in the swing.

Now, as he goes into his swing, the knees are straightening, and you will see the foot has rotated out, which means that the weight itself is going to go on to the little toe of his foot that is going to throw his foot forward.

You need to have your weight on the inside of your foot, on the big toe and into the heel and keep your feet facing much more forward than this. Okay? You can see on the right pane, at this point where his weight is throwing backwards, the legs are completely straight here. Legs straight, weight throwing backwards.

And on the right pane, you can see a really poor body position. With this, I take a spine angle here. There's a real collapse at the waist to try and get forward. And he's doing that because he's got no balance in this area here over his stirrups.

If his body was for the forward, and he was set up, he's doing that because his feet far in front of him, but he's trying to compensate or getting his body forward by bending at the hips here.

If he was sitting further forward in the saddle, then his hips would be pretty much there. And the heel would have moved back into that area here. The shoulders themselves, because he's sitting forward and core strong would have been moving forward too, just in front of his knee.

So, that collapse at the waist there, is really hurting him in the left hand pane. And in the right-hand pane, you can see as he gets to the top of the swing, how he's pushing himself backwards, that could look in the right-hand pane and you can see now he's in a swing and the weight falling completely backwards as he swings. So now he's hanging onto that right stirrup, no legs in the swing.

Take a look at where his shoulders are, where his hips are, where his knees are and where his feet are. So, all of that is just a disaster trying to hit the ball straight.

Here on the left-hand pane, you can see there, he's actually far better with hips and heels nearly in the line and the shoulder much more over his knee, but you will see as he goes through the swing because of the poor balance coming in, he's going to collapse backwards.

There's the foot driving forwards, hanging onto the right stirrups. And you will see because of his flatten wrist, as you saw in the lesson with Crystal the other day, that the mallet will always be traveling from outside to inside and across the horse.

And you can see here, there's the mallet wrapping around the horses face, and the famous balance on the third stirrup, the reins.

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