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Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2022
This month, advanced players in Newport Polo's training program are graduating to Coaching League where they will gain more experience in competition playing conditions and mix it up with veteran members. Coaching chukkers are played during weekly grass practices on Tuesdays and Sundays in July and August each year under the guidance of Newport Polo's certified instructors. Now that these novice players have mastered the basics of riding, hitting, and rules, they will dive deeper into the tactics, strategy, and teamwork required on the field.
“Moving from lessons to chukkers challenges new players to think, not only about their own performance but also to track the fast-changing game and how to work with their teammates and mounts to gain the advantage,” explains head instructor, Dan Keating."
Newport Polo's step-up training program welcomes prospective players to America's oldest polo club to try polo any time in our weekly schedule. Regular Intro Clinics, adult lessons grouped by skill level, youth lessons, and more are available every season with open enrollment. Learn more
Certified polo instructors, top-of-the-line training facilities, trained polo horses for all levels, and professional-grade equipment are all provided as a part of the polo programs. Newport Polo has over 30 years of experience in teaching new players to play polo. Each season, one player from the new cohort is chosen for the coaches' superlative, Rookie of the Year, awarded at the annual Player's Dinner in October.
“I think all the students in our training program are benefiting on a number of different levels. For some, the focus is on riding, for others, it is on the technique and mechanics of hitting, and those that have developed a basis are consumed with the highly dynamic strategy of the game. For everyone it is a rewarding, adventurous, competitive team sport, with a good dose of camaraderie,” explains Dan Keating.
Players begin in the enclosed arena for a controlled environment as they get comfortable with the horses and equipment. Group arena lessons focused on skill-building prepare players to join arena chukkers for experience in polo's normal competition format. During the summer, novices are introduced to grass polo in the same group lesson format to get comfortable in the more open format before dipping their toes into the Coaching League. Players advance to a full season on the grass, May through Sept, when they no longer require instruction on the rules and can be rated with a handicap from the United States Polo Association. Eventually, they will possess the speed and skill to play in the Newport International Polo Series.
"I have seen my own growth take shape since joining the Newport Polo training program this summer. The Coaching League really takes your polo game to the next level by allowing you to play in continuous chukkers, different from that of lessons, but with real-time coaching and feedback on plays and technical aspects of the game. Having coaching chukkers in between club chukkers also gives players a unique chance to see advanced players play at a faster speed giving them something to emulate and eventually work towards," comments Elle Triem, new player at Newport Polo.