How polo would benefit from taking a leaf out of the Formula 1 book
Polo, with the horse being the original BHP (brake horse power) is no doubt a trillion times more environmentally friendly than Formula 1 but the sport of polo would certainly benefit from taking a leaf out of the F1 team protocols. Jason’s other passion in life has always been motorsport and he rightly points out that its a team of individuals that work together to produce the final product, e.g. the combined pit crew of technicians, engineers and mechanics. Lewis Hamilton got to F1 by being taken on by McLaren’s young driver support programme at the age of 13. The programme provides a year-by-year guidance, education, assistance and endorsement which goes to re-enforces the statement Champions are made, not born.
- Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Performance
As the old adage goes, prior preparation prevents p*** poor performance. Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Lewis Hamilton starts a new season and arrives at the circuit for his first GP of the year when he will driving his new generation car. He hasn’t had time to test his new car at all so far for this new season but turns up kitted out & ready for test day. He jumps in to his car, does a few laps, but he isn’t achieving the lap times he expected. As he pulls into the pit lane he thinks to himself “I realise what he problem is: I haven’t spent enough time in this car to familiarise myself , and therefore its my fault that I am not on the pace”. Not that this scenario would ever happen in F1, so why does it happen in polo?!
Although our hypothetical Lewis understands the value of practice in relation to performance, how many of the low goal polo ‘patrons’ do? Often we see players just jumping on-board every weekend and expect their horses to perform as consistently as a Segway; Many low goal players fail to take in to account that horses are living, thinking and emotional beings? Your horse/string is the biggest part of your partnership and performance on the field and yet you expect this horse to give its all without even a polite hello/goodbye/how are you today? Horses, like humans, can have sleep deprived nights, hormonal changes, aches and pains and a general ‘off day’. These should be where the groom and the rider confer about each horse’s state of mind that day (spooky/laid back/grumpy); and the rider spend more time with the horse getting to know it and not ‘riding the snot out of it’ all the time. If you listen to the top players, they will all say there is more to being a polo player than just sitting on a horse and pulling to stop, kicking to go. They say, to be a great player, you have to be a great horseman, so let’s have a closer look at what horsemanship means:
If we break that down even further, horse·man·ship is a combination of a horse, a person and a ship, where the ship symbolises a journey or partnership.
Overseas players in the Gold Cup on borrowed horse struggled with enough horsepower to keep up with the might of the King Power horses. You can guarantee then, as in Formula 1, there is an expert crew working on all the little details thatmake the big difference and keeping closely guarded secrets to themselves!2. Teamwork & Team Image
Now imagine our hypothetical Lewis Hamilton pulling in for his pitstop. Where are all the pit crew??? He can’t see his sponsor’s signage or branding anywhere and he is unable to recognise his pit crew because they are all wearing mismatched clothes (and look like they have just got out of bed) and most of them seem to be wearing entirely inappropriate footwear…
We applaud King Power & King Power Foxes for taking the F1 approach to teamwork and team identity, most likely to do with their connections to Premier League football with the acquisition of Leicester City FC. The pride of the whole King Power team is plainly obvious, with the players sharing the glory with the all important behind-the-scenes team members who are a vital part of the success.
See our favourite images of why King Power Foxes have got it so right:
PHOTO CREDITS: Mark Beaumont | Images of Polo – Tony Ramirez | Dominic James