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Table of Contents

POLO:

  The Manual for Coach and Player  

Chapter IX

Preparation for the Specific Game

Pete Cutino

Dennis Bledsoe

FACING A FASTER TEAM

A faster team is not necessarily a team with exceptionally fast swimmers. The necessary ingredients are anticipation and quick starting.

Upon loss of the ball, immediately sprint or jump to a defensive position between the man and the goal; the faster the man, the more room he must be given. In the offensive end of the pool each individual must play tight (when in the scoring zone). At this point speed is not as essential as quibkness and alert play.
Use a sagging man-to-man — press the ball carrier tightly and try to force poor passes. Sluff off at other positions, and look for the steal. Protect center of pool, force wing drives instead of center drives, take a short cut. fig. 9-231

Fig 231

Keep two or three men back at halfcourt. If one of them advances and drives, someone else must immediately cover his position.

Always swim their hole man out if they have one.

If being beaten on drives, then get the hips up, hand fight, be tough, stay between the man and the goal, give a path of least resistance.

Play a zone defense. This requires a very good goalie and a lot of practice.(Presented in Chapter VII.)

FACING A MORE EXPERIENCED TEAM

Press a more experienced team—frustrate them.

Put your best guard on their best man. If the guard is good enough to control him, this

may stall their offense enough to discourage them.

THEY HAVE AN EXCELLENT HOLE MAN

Plug him up, especially if he is their major scoring threat. Put your best guard on him.

Front him, push him back to the two or three yard line. Then the goalie can help double team. (Fig. 9-231A) This requires a tough, relentless guard. I

Fig 231A

The only way the hole man should feel any freedom is if he moves out of the hole area.

Then be nice to him; he may like it there and not want to go back.

If the hole man is tougher than the guard and controls the front position, then othermembers of the team must sluff in and help. (Fig. 9-232) The men away from the ball sluff in.

Fig 232

Sometimes, if the defensive team has a good goalie, the man at center front can play a zone and everyone else plays a switching man-to-man and keep all men in the scoring area covered. (Fig. 9-233)

Fig 233

When number 5 has the ball leave him.

Play a zone.

Hands must be at the surface and ready to help block shots.

THEY HAVE AN EXCELLENT DRIVING TEAM

Play a zone. This very often will foul up their attempts to clear the middle.

The center man number 5 directs traffic. (Fig. 9-234)

Follow advice under faster team and more experienced.

Be especially hard-nosed about hand fighting and forcing weakside
drives.

Hips up on hand fighting.

Fig 234

THEY HAVE A POOR GOALIE

Play your normal game; however, take a few long shots and see what happens. If the goalie is aware of long shots, then eliminate them and work for the normal close-in shot.

THEY HAVE A POOR GOALIE AND SUPERIOR FIELD MEN

Play your best game with whatever defense appears to be best. Attempt a long shot at times during the game if open.

Be careful when instructing the team to use long shots. Everyone tends to want some of this type of action and from all over the pool. Hard to control.

THEY HAVE POOR FIELD MEN AND A GOOD GOALIE

Play a disciplined game; be deliberate.

DO NOT take just any open shot. Be sure the goalie is out of position. This results from crosscourt passing.

Taking a one-on-one shot against the goalie is O.K.

Do not shoot poor percentage shots. You will only lose the ball. Poor percentage shots are corner shots (Fig. 9-235), long shots and shots that are blind (backhand).

Fig 235

IN A SMALL POOL

Play your normal game.

When hooking, move all the way to the side.

If using a driving offense, use the two yard position infrequently.

If using a two yard man, use only three drivers. Keep two men back.

This will help keep the middle open.

Two men back watch for fast break.

IN A BIG POOL AND USED TO A SMALL ONE

DO NOT psych out the team by emphasizing the size of the pool. Subtle references to the "English Channel" could be humorous, but devastating.

Play a two yard man, use him as a feeder, not a shooter. He must control the ball and his guard.

Set sequential hooks when bringing the ball downcourt. Do not overdo the fast break.
Players from small pools tend to psychologically tire when in a big pool (they think they are tired).

Practice in a big tank if possible.

When setting hooks do not go all the way out to the side.

Timing will be different because of added swimming. Be aware of this. Set up the offense then begin driving. Take your time.

WEAK PLAYER

You have a player you must use and the other team switches their best man (shooter) on and scores.

Do not have this man play a guard position. Play him as far in the offensive end of the tank as possible. Teach him to pop in front of the opponent before the ball changes hands.

His teammates should be aware he is not the best at stopping shots and should switch with him any time he is on a good shooter.

Tell him he is a fabulous forward and you hate to see him wasted in the defensive end