Per the latest NAH rule set, bike polo games still start with a joust. Some players look forward to the joust, while others dread it. If you’ve been around the sport awhile, you’ve seen some impressive shots on jousts, hilarious misses and probably some unfortunate crashes. Regardless, the joust remains the official way to start our games.
Since that’s the case, 321 wanted to solicit the opinions of a few players on how they handle the joust. We reached out to a few people who weren’t interested in responding (that included a female player who was tacit in her response after several attempts to get one). So I, Christian, will actually answer this question, too:
“What’s your strategy for success on jousts? What do you look to do with the ball if you win the joust?”
Me (Christrian Losciale) – Seattle: Go hard. If I’m halfway to the ball and it’s clear I’m not going to win it, I still want to be quick to defend. In my head, I’m looking to read my opponent and take the ball away. If it’s clear I’m going to win, then I look for my teammate. I hope he/she is in front of me so I can push the ball forward. Otherwise, I like when my teammate finds space, draws the defenders and gives me room to charge the net against the goalie.
Nick Dellwo – Minneapolis: Learn to track stand and work on those sprints. If you know you won’t reach the ball ball first, don’t give up. Focus on disrupting the other jouster’s control of the ball. Not letting the other team make a play off the joust is more important than controlling the ball yourself.
Cody Riggs – Seattle: I pretty much just try to crank as hard as I can for the first three or four pedal strokes, then look up and assess whether or not I think I’m going to get to the ball before the other guy. If I think I am, I keep going hard and check the far right where Dustin and Julian are probably going to be and will usually dish a pass straight over to them. I’ll maintain my speed moving to the left side of the court and look for a quick pass back from them. Sometimes if I win the joust uncontested I’ll gather the ball and move it myself, but the majority of the time I try to be the first one there, touch it long enough to pass it to someone in a better position to control it, and then keep moving within the play.
There you have it. Readers, what’s your jousting strategy?