Strength and Reaction Time Capabilities of New Zealand Polo Players and Their Association with Polo Playing Handicap

Regan Standing, Russ Best

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Polo is an equestrian team sport consisting of four players per team, with level of play determined by cumulative player handicap (−2 to +10 goals), with a higher handicap denoting a better player. There is minimal literature investigating Polo players’ physical attributes, hence the understanding of the physical characteristics that may contribute to an improved handicap are unknown. This study sought to identify the relationship between pertinent strength measures (left and right hand grip strength; absolute and relative isometric mid-thigh pull) and reaction time in Polo handicap in 19 New Zealand Polo players, and ascertain whether handicap could be predicted by these measures. Correlation coefficients were expressed using R values, accompanying descriptors and 90% confidence intervals (C.I.). Variance explained was expressed via the R2 statistic, and statistical significance set at p < 0.05. Right hand grip strength, isometric mid-thigh pull values were found to significantly correlate to and explain variance within Polo player handicap (all moderate to large correlations; p < 0.05). Whereas left hand grip strength (R: 0.380; 90% C.I. −0.011 to 0.670) and reaction time (0.020; −0.372 to 0.406) were non-significant, moderate and trivial correlates and predictors of handicap respectively. Practically, these findings highlight the differing roles between rein and mallet hands of Polo players and emphasise the importance of a strong and stable platform when riding and striking the ball. Lack of association with reaction time may be explained in part by higher handicapped Polo players employing a more proactive approach to the game. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019


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