How to Play Polo

By Alicia Bodine

Polo is a sport that is played outdoors on a field as big as 10 football fields. The reason for this is that polo players play the game while riding on horses. This sport takes a lot of skill and requires players to control their horses with one hand and strike at the ball with the other. Players must also take care that they don't crash their horses in to each other when galloping at a high speed.

Start off by assigning four players on each team. Each player will have a specific job to do. Each player will need a horse.

Hand out numbers to each player. The numbers for each team should be 1, 2, 3 and 4. Player number 1 is the front attacking player. This player mainly concentrates on scoring goals. Player number 2 works with player number 3 to move the ball. Player number 2 also plays defense against the opposites team's player number 2. Player number 2 will also help player number 1 on the attack if needed. Player number 3 aids player number 2 in making plays and controlling the ball. Player number 4 sits back and defends the team's goal. Hand out the player numbers based on each player's ability and where you think they will do the most good on the field.

Have each player take his or her position and wait for the umpire to begin the game. Each game has three umpires. Two ride horses and one is a side line judge. The umpires will call any fouls such as when the ball goes out of bounds, the player uses his mallet with too much force or if a player is considered to be riding hazardously.

Win the game by getting the most balls inside the opposing team's goal posts. These posts should be 24 feet apart.

Follow the main rule which is that one player from team A can be on one side of the ball while one player from team B is on the other side of the ball. Players cannot be on the same side as the ball because it causes the horses to collide. This rule is made for the safety of the animals and the humans involved in the game. If you see a player approaching the ball's left hand side, steer your horse to the right hand side.

Play eight chukkas (periods). Each period should be seven minutes long. You can expect your game to take one hour from start to finish. If your teams are tied after eight chukkas, you can play a 30-second tie breaker. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

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