So You Want To Play Your First Tournament
You've done all the lessons, stick and balled your little heart out and now you are ready to progress to the next stage. Your first tournament.
Here is the low down on everything you need to know about playing in your first tournament....
First of all, tournaments aren't as scary as you think they are!!! Often when you are starting out, more experienced players are happy to guide you through, and even give you a chance to hit the ball. After all, they were beginners once themselves. If you're a little scared to go faster, you can often hang back and sometimes hit a ball that the faster players have missed straight through the goals. This happens all the time. So don't worry so much! Get out there and have a go!
What to wear:
You will need to wear whites ( white polo jeans), and a team shirt. The shirt is usually supplied by the team captain on the day. They have a list of the names on their team, and will find you before the match to give you your shirt. A safety approved polo helmet, polo boots and knee guards are essential. Optional extra safety gear includes safety googles, gloves and elbow pads.
What level do I compete in?
When you do your first tournament it will be in a "sub zero" match. This is for beginners that are under 0 goal. You will be put in a team with other players at a similar level and usually with 1 higher goal rated player that will help you along the way.
How many chukkas will I be doing?
You will do 8 chukkas over 2 days. 4 on the Saturday and 4 on the Sunday. If you would like to do less, you can find someone to go halves in a spot with you, and just do 2 chukkas each day.
Do I need to be a member of a club?
Yes, in order to play in a sanctioned tournament, you will need to be affiliated with your Polo Club and have a current, financial membership. At Windsor Polo Club where we are based, there are many different levels of membership to suit how much (or how little) you would like to play. It's a good idea to discuss these options with the Club's Secretary to ensure you get good value for money.
Do I need my own pony?
If you don't own your own pony, you can hire ponies from Riverlands Polo. Each pony can only do 2 chukkas in a match, so you will need at least 2 ponies to do the 4 chukkas.
What is the cost?
The ground fees need to be paid when you nominate yourself for a game. These costs also vary from Club to Club. Windsor Polo Club ground fees start at $176 for 'sub-zero' - this is for all 8 chukkas. If you choose to go halves with someone in a position, the cost will be halved between both of you.
How to book:
A club will usually display the nomination on their website & facebook page (as seen below), and send out an email to all registered players so they can follow the links and make their nomination and payment online.