Rules of How to Play Polo
History of the Sport of Polo
One of the most elegant sports around, polo is a horseback game that traces its roots back to ancient Central Asia -- and was later adopted by Great Britain in the 1800s. Elite British soldiers would ride their horses in a similar manner as a way to train themselves for battle situations. Nicknamed “the Sport of Kings,” polo now has over 90 professional clubs.
How to play Polo?
Played on a field much bigger than a football field, polo isn’t exactly your fastest paced sport; but there is much talent required to play the game effectively. You not only have to have complete control over your horse, but also have great hand-eye coordination when launching the ball.
The equipment required to play a game of polo isn’t cheap either. You’ll first need a horse that’s bred to play the game -- also referred to as a “polo pony”. Polo players also use a mallet to throw the ball, and wear light protective equipment to prevent injury.
Rules of Polo
- Each polo team will have four players who field four different positions. There are two attackers, one in position 1 with the main objective of scoring, and one in position 2 with the main objective of playing support. There are two defenders, one in position 3 which calls different plays for the team, and one in position 4 with the main objective of guarding their team’s goal.
- Each position, however, must be flexible in the sense that every player will play offense and defense and have the opportunity to score a goal.
- Polo fields are often played on natural grass or turf, with the dimensions of 300 yards long by 160 yards wide. The field is split in two halves with two goals on each end.
- Games are divided into four, seven minute “chukkas”. The team with the most goals at the end of all chukkas is declared the winner.
- Every time a goal is scored, teams will switch sides. This is incase wind or sun elements are negatively affecting one side of the field.
- Players can body check with their horses or use their mallets to hook an opposing player’s mallet. However, knocking a player off their horse results in a foul.
- A penalty shot may be added in the event of a foul.
- In the event of a tie at the end of all chukkas, the game will have an overtime chukka added. If the game is still tied after that, it will go to a shootout.
A fun fact about polo is that in between chukkas, players often bring out their ponies to perform a halftime show. This is more of a royal tradition of the sport and provides the fans with entertainment along with the enjoyment of watching an intense game.
Written by: Devin Pickell