If you want to learn to play polo properly you need to start with a sympathetic and experienced teacher who is used to dealing with all levels of horsemanship. In other words you need to place your trust in a place where people from all walks of life learn to play polo at a level that is both fun and encouraging. It is important that you find a polo school that builds your confidence at a steady realistic pace until you reach the point where you feel ready to take part in your very first chukka and hit that ball across the pitch. The famous Ascot Park Polo Academy is one such place.
Just a 20 minute drive from London Heathrow airport, in rural Berkshire, is a well-established polo academy where the rich and famous play polo and yet total beginners are well catered for and encouraged.
Owned and run by Peter Grace, renowned player, and author of Polo, together with his four daughters (known in polo circles as ‘The Amazing Graces’) this unique family team have the ability to draw unreleased talent from even the most nervous beginner. There is an extremely large selection of ponies and even an electronic horse to ensure that students of all levels are safely taught to play polo in a friendly atmosphere.
Ascot Park Polo Academy offers several affordable formats for tuition so that they can provide the right type of coaching for an individual’s level of ability, fitness and athletic skill.
No membership of Ascot Park Polo Club is required to take part in any of their training activities and non-riders are very welcome – about 65% of those they teach have never ridden before. Don’t worry about buying polo gear as the polo academy provides all the necessary equipment, including specially trained and tolerant ponies.
They have top-class coaching, which enables even non-riders to take part in their first chukka within one session.
As their paramount consideration is safety all the initial coaching takes place in their all-weather enclosed arena, the largest in Europe. Every one of the academy’s experienced instructors are registered with the Hurlingham Polo Association, which is the governing body for polo.
There are a good variety of polo training options including:
The Discover Polo Lesson:
This is the ideal starting point where you are taken through all the basic contents of the game to give you an all round picture and understanding of the game.
Instructional Arena Chukkas:
Following your Introductory Lesson you can progress to playing in these entry level chukkas in Europe’s largest all-weather polo arena.
The Discover Plus Lesson:
This group lesson is for those who have completed the Discover Polo Lesson and perhaps some instructional chukkas and want to spend a morning refreshing their knowledge of polo rules and theory, and more advanced polo swing and polo riding.
Private & Group Coaching Tuition:
This allows your instructor to identify and discuss your strengths and weaknesses and address them accordingly. Whether it’s stick work or riding, coaching is essential if the correct techniques are to be developed.
Academy Lawn Chukkas:
This means you can play the game with other competent players, under the eye of instructors who will offer advice and instruction whilst you play.
Special Learn to Play Polo Day
Why not get a real taste of polo at Ascot Park where you can take up the challenge of riding a well trained polo pony, as you take your first steps to learning this thrilling game.
Your experience will take you through all basic components of the game to give you an understanding of the sport. You will spend time learning the rules and tactics by watching a demonstration by your instructor using a board with miniature pieces. You will then stand on an elevated platform with a shortened polo mallet and be taught the polo swing and the four basic shots. Then get onto your horse and learn how to ride a polo pony.
Finally, put it all together by doing some stick and ball (riding your horse and hitting a ball in solo practice). Following the introductory lesson you have the opportunity to progress to playing an instructional chukka – where you can enjoy playing competitive polo and expand upon what you’ve already learned. Light lunch and drinks are available to purchase on-site, and beautiful local country pubs are nearby.
For more details and prices go to www.polo.co.uk