Do Polo Players Have the Winter Off?
While there’s no denying that polo is an extremely physically-demanding sport, the action is very much confined, in the UK at least, to the summer months. So we are safe to assume that those who are talented and committed enough to play professionally have a nice and cushy winter off, with all of the indulgences and festivities and none of the hard work, right? Wrong. As with many physically-intensive sports, keeping up fitness levels is just as important for polo players during the off-season as it is during the summer.
Granted, they are sitting down for the entirety of the game, but polo players, to be successful, must have a honed physique and enviable level of fitness to compete at the highest level. All parts of the body are utilised throughout the game – strong legs are imperative to effectively steer the horse; a strong back is crucial for controlling the swing of the mallet; a strong core is vital for overall stability. Good flexibility, too, is essential for counterbalancing the horse and protecting joints during play. And we haven’t even begun to think about the sheer endurance levels required to keep going until the winner is declared. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.
Winter And Athletes
Many amateur sportsmen and women make the mistake of viewing the off-season as some solid time off. This it most definitely is not. To enter the next polo season with no training over the winter months, one, quite frankly, is setting themselves up for a fall (perhaps literally) and a very high risk of injury. Which is why the successful polo players all use the winter months to train, improve and hone their physicality, at the same time reducing their risk of future injury, in order to be fighting fit for the start of the next season.
Polo Players Training
Polo players aren’t overly enthusiastic about the gym (much like many of us), and many utilise cross-training – the practice of engaging in two or more sports or types of exercise in order to improve fitness and performance in their main sport – to keep their body in check during the off-season. Pilates and yoga are particularly recommended for polo players, for their core-strengthening results and activation of every single muscle in the body. But pursuits such as swimming, cycling, and even brisk walking, are also great ways to stay active, while putting the body through a variety of pressures and challenges to keep it, and you, always on top form. For those who prefer the competition and camaraderie element of sport, tennis, squash and racquetball are all very worthy options. They also have the added bonus of training the wrist which is a vital consideration for all polo players.
Strength-work and weight-training are equally important to maintain a healthy and robust body for the sport, both of which can easily be practiced from the comfort of one’s own home, with no need to step into a large and lifeless gym. Sit ups, squats, press ups and the plank are all fantastic conditioning exercises, which work purely on body weight and need no fancy equipment at all. Polo players may in fact steer clear of heavy weights altogether – bulking up is not required – nor advised – for successful play, whereas becoming leaner and fitter is always desired.
Watching Polo Players
If you want to see Polo Players in action keep an eye on our events page where you will find all forth coming tournaments, where spectators are very welcome. And if you fancy having a go why not book a polo lesson with one of our professional players – but be warned this is very addictive!!
The winter season – At the Dallas Burston Polo Club we have the all weather superarena which can be used all year round, extending the polo season. This is also available for hire! Tel: 01926 811 111 or email