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The Basic Principles of Polo

by Lisa M Nousek

A member of the American Bar Association, Lisa M. Nousek is experienced in product liability and civil litigation and serves as partner with the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Lisa M. Nousek participates in athletic activities such as polo.
One of the world’s most ancient sports, polo is played on horseback. The game involves two teams of four players each, with every player given a specific number and role on the field. Designated player one serves as the primary goal scorer. While player two also scores, he or she defends more than player one. Typically, player three operates as the team captain and develops game strategies. Meanwhile, player four assumes the primary defensive position on the field. Each player receives a variable handicap of minus two to 10 goals.
Polo games include several play periods called chukkas, which are normally seven minutes long with 30 seconds between each period. The length of each game depends on tournament rules, with some games lasting for up to eight chukkas.
During each play, players use mallets to hit the polo ball towards the goal. Other players may block their opponents’ swing by hooking their mallets together, but only when they are directly behind, beside, or in front of them. Players may also use the ride-off defense technique to interrupt their opponents’ concentration, causing them to miss a shot.                            
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