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BOOM HEAD SHOT!

August 26, 2013
koyo

j4NOAg on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

Koyo is a sniper! I don’t know if anyone every got a full count of all the head shots Koyo had during the North American Bike Polo Championship but I remember Tyler from Bloomington, IN had a count of at least 6. I believe Tyler, as a dedicated goal judge, was on the receiving end of two of those shots as well.

Big ups to Arlyn for ducking that ball though; he has reflexes of an ornery alligator. Even if his reflexes did yield that kid getting nailed in the head, his bob and weave deserves some recognition.

We are going to have to start putting up signs behind the goals that say “CAUTION! YOU HAVE NOW ENTERED THE BLAST ZONE!” so that spectators know what they are in for. Because until we get nets, like hockey or baseball, we are going to see more and more head shots.

Thank you Mr. Do for this amazing GIF!

Hot Tip

Love It or Hate It, Ya Gotta Joust

July 15, 2013

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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?

Hot Tip

NAH 2013 Ruleset

April 17, 2013

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Today the NAH released their official ruleset for the 2013 qualifier season. This short and to the point ruleset got rid of the wordiness of the previous 2012 version and should be a lot easier for players to understand. While trimming some fat, they decided to add a couple new rules.

This year they are allowing shaft shots. Yes, you read that correctly! Goals will now count when shot off the end of the mallet and the shaft of the mallet so be sure to practice your scoop to punch style shots before your qualifier.

They also added a “Trapping” rule. You are no longer allowed to steer an opponent, that is not in possession of the ball, into the wall and trap them there to  keep them from the play. Very similar to an interference rule, this is a rule that I feel should have been added a long time.

To find out what else has changed, check out the NAH Website for further information. Be sure to memorize those rules so we can give our refs an easier time this year.

:::::UPDATE:::::

You can find the most up to date ruleset HERE! For more information on the mid season ruleset update, go HERE.

Hot Tip

Bike Polo Pregame Warmups

March 28, 2013

Few athletes do nothing before a competitive game. Even professional athletes have their share of odd, pregame rituals. Wade Boggs used to eat a whole chicken before each game. Alexander Ovechkin apparently likes to get laid before and after he takes the ice, although who knows if he or Maria can handle it. Some bike polo players probably like to enjoy a little grass before they play, but not in the same way Les Miles does before and during games.

Warming up for bike polo

We all have some pregame preparation, goofy or not. Ball handling, stretching, mallet waving, rocking out to Taylor Swift or whatever, we do loosen up. So we decided to ask a couple of seasoned, talented guys this question: What do you do to warm up before hitting the court?

Jason Stevenson (Portland): Usually the three of us —  Arlyn, Eric and I — go for a ride away from the courts for about a half hour of low intensity riding. We talk about the upcoming match and our approach. We then do some jumps out of the saddle maxing out about 10 times, then cool down on the way back to the venue and stretch out.

Nick McLean (Lexington): You know that first pickup game of the day where you feel like you’ve never played polo before? You want to avoid that feeling in a tournament game where seeding or elimination is at stake. Warming up before a game is a simple way to prepare yourself for the intense situations you find yourself in during a competitive polo game, and something I believe is largely undervalued. Before a game there are a few things I try to work on to get ready.

1. Passing: Find a patch of unoccupied pavement (preferrably the same surface you are about to play on) and hit the ball back and forth with a teammate. Start off a few feet apart and slowly increase the distance. You don’t need to be on your bike to do this. You basically just want to warm up the wrist/arm and get used to handling the ball at that temperature. If scooping/wristy stuff is part of your game, get some of that in as well.

2. Bike and ball handling: Grab your bike, mallet, a ball and spend a minute or two dribbling the ball around. Think about the typical moves you make in a game and work the kinks out prior to game time. If you are into endo or wheelie turns or skid a lot, now would be a good time to warm those up and familiarize your bike with the court surface.Wheelie turn in polo

3. Shooting: Often there isn’t a great place near the courts to practice shooting. Be ready to go on the court as soon as your team is on and you might have time to take a few. Warm up the shots that you generally take in a game. Start off going for accuracy rather than power, but take a few rippers as well.

4. Body: Stretch, stay hydrated and make sure you get something to eat through the day. Dial in your buzz! Seriously. You are at a polo tournament. If you are partaking, learning to ride that line between nervousness and recklessness can save you some skin and maybe a goal or two. Figure out what works for you, and if it’s bourbon, come find me.

Alright, now tell us: How do you warm up?

Photos courtesy Sheffield Tiger and salvolg