14 POLO EUROPEAN TEAMS
MORE THAN 10
THE POLO GLOSSARY
Chukker (or chukka): in technical terms, each game period is known as a chukker. Polo matches can be divided into four, six or eight chukkers, each of which is comprise of seven minutes of actual play time. The clock is stopped every time play is suspended, and after each goal the teams change ends. In Italy, a match lasts four chukkers, but in other countries game length varies between four and eight periods. In Argentina, the most important matches are played over the course of eight chukkers. At the end of seven minutes the bell is rung, but play continues for an additional 30 seconds. The match is interrupted only if a goal is scored, if the ball goes off the field or touches the sideboards, or if a foul is committed. In the latter scenario, the following period begins with a foul shot by the team that was fouled. Only the last chukker of the match ends at the sound of the bell without the additional 30 second time period.
Corner: a penalty similar to a corner kick.
Handicap: The unit of measure which ranks a player’s ability on a scale of -2 to 10. Having a handicap of 10 means that a player has achieved perfection in the sport, and only a handful of players worldwide have achieved this level. A team’s handicap is the sum of its players’ handicaps. In matches where the two teams have different handicaps, the team with the lower ranking will be granted a certain number of handicap goals, determined according to an international table.
Hook: In Spanish, travar. A move in which a player uses his or her mallet to block or interfere with the movement of an opponent’s mallet immediately prior to striking theball. A hook can be used in certain specific situations: a player can only hook when located on the side where the mallet is moving, or directly in front of or behind the opponent. A hook made outside these rules is considered a foul and results in a penalty shot.
Horses: The best polo mounts are Argentinian. Their main characteristics are speed, endurance, and ability to accelerate and turn quickly. Horses in this sport are often known as ‘polo ponies’ regardless of size.
Knock-in: Salida in Spanish. After the ball crosses the back line, the defending team knocks the ball back in. Play resumes from the spot in which the ball went off the field.
Mallet: Taco in Spanish. A bamboo/cane shaft with a hardwood cylinder at the end with which the ball is hit. Mallets of different lengths are used depending on the horse’s height.
Nearside: Reves in Spanish, the left-hand side of the polo pony.
Neckshot: Hitting the ball under the pony’s neck.
Penalty: A penalty is awarded following a foul. There are three main types of penalties, awarded according to the severity of the foul: 30, 40 and 60 yards. A penalty goal may be awarded when a very serious foul is committed near the goal.