One of the most important pieces of equipment you will ever buy is the polo mallet.This is because each mallet has different specifications suited to the rider that will help you hit the ball more accurately. The type of mallet you buy will depend on your own strength & the height of the pony you will be riding.
It is a great idea to speak to a professional before buying a mallet. Questions they might ask you will include: What is your height/build? How tall is your pony? How strong are you? What is your glove size? The answers to these questions will indicate what weight & length mallet you need, as well as the handle size.
HOT TIP: The best thing to do before purchasing, is try as many mallets as you can. Ask your polo school or some of the players at your club if you can try their mallets. Mallets are definitely not one size fits all. What's good for other players might not be suitable for you. It really is trial and error. Try different brands, weights, and handle sizes if you can.
The Technical Stuff....
Length: Most mallets come in 3 sizes… 51”, 52” 53”. The 52” is the most popular as it will suit most ponies. If you have a taller pony, say approximately 15.3hh and above, you will want the 53” mallet.
You can also request longer or shorter mallets to be custom made. For example if you have a taller 16hh pony, you may want to try a 54". Mallets can also be made shorter for children.
Head weight: Most mallets start from 160g and go up to 240g (these weights may vary slightly between brands). It is important to get a weight suited to the player. If the mallet is too heavy, this will greatly affect your shot. You will run out of strength and can also hurt your wrist. The lighter weights are suited to players with less strength. If you have a mallet that is too light, this may also throw your shot out. That's why its best to trial as many as you can to see what works for you.
The Shaft: The shaft of the mallet can also add weight. You can find mallets that have a very thick shaft (as seen on the left in the picture below) which is a lot heavier, and also thinner/lighter ones (as seen on the right). This will affect the total weight of the mallet. So don't forget to consider this when gauging the weight of a mallet.
Tip for the ladies: Start off light. If the weight of your mallet is too heavy, it can make it impossible to hit the ball properly and cause injury to your wrist. There is nothing worse than lugging a big heavy mallet around and running out of steam half way through your lesson or chukka.
Handle size: Small, medium and large. This usually depends on the size of your hand. If the handle is too small it has a tendency to turn in your hand as you’re taking the shot. Again, try a few sizes before you buy your mallet to see what's best for you.
Stiffness: There are 3 categories. Stiff, medium stiff and whippy. This is personal preference. Some players love stiff mallets, and some hate them. Our preference is stiffer towards the top half of the mallet, and flexible/bendy from the middle downwards. In our experience, If you have a mallet that is too stiff, it can hurt your elbow later down the track.
#tenniselbow NO THANKS!!!
What are mallets made from?
There are 3 parts of a mallet. The head, the shaft and the handle. The shaft of the mallet is made of Manau cane & the head is made of a type of hardwood called Tipa. The handle is made of rubber. There are also mallets which are made of a composite material called Fibercane.
To Fibercane or not to Fibercane…That is the question…
The simple answer to this question is YES & NO… Some people absolutely love these mallets & some people hate them. Our suggestion… See if you can borrow one or pick up a cheap second hand one to try it as they can be expensive. We don't currently see many of these mallets on the field in Australia.
A foot mallet is a shorter mallet you can use to practice when you are at home, or you can take it to a park and practice your swing on various different shots. A cricket pitch with a net as seen below is a great location to practice. These can be found at many parks around Australia. Foot mallets come in a few different sizes. The mallet you will need depends on your height. Shorter foot mallets are also available for kids.
Most mallets cost around $150. There are also some brands with 'high end' mallets that can cost $170 and above. A foot mallet will set you back $50 to $70. You can sometimes pick up a good second hand mallet online.
Protecting your mallet and Storage:
Mallets are made from a type of wood…and what happens when wood gets wet? It can expand & split as seen in the picture on the left. You need to protect your mallet when the field is wet/ damp & also when it’s raining. To do this, you can tape the head of your mallet with electrical tape as seen on the right below. This can be found at Bunnings and most hardware stores.
Hang mallets up in a dry, undercover area. Mallet bags are also available for storage. You will find these at a polo shop.
If you break your mallet, there's no need to burst into tears! They can usually be repaired. The head can be replaced, the shaft & handle can also be repaired. To find a mallet repair man, ask your polo academy/club or the company in which you bought the mallet from.
Pimp Your Mallet…
Mallets come in various different colours. Cant find a colour you like? Why not try your own mallet art. You will need good quality oil based paint, a waterproof coating to seal it, paint brushes and some masking tape to section off areas.
We used White knight oil based enamel and Bondall marine grade exterior wood varnish on the mallets below. Some paints tend to chip off easily, so if you’re in doubt…Ask your local hardware or paint store.
So now you know all the technical information about mallets....Get out there and try try try as many as you can!!!!! A good mallet is a game changer!!!
**We sell mallets in our online shop…Purchase your mallet online & then email us with your requests for weight/length etc OR you can drop into the office and check out our range. We are here to help! So if you have any questions ask away!