I haven’t posted on here for a while, but playing with Bristol Rich today brought something up. He wasn’t having a great day of polo (although it’s hard to shine in throw-ins with people you don’t know, and I did see him shoot some lovely long-goals) and he recognised it, and said something like ‘sometimes it’s just like that’, which I agree with, but I’ve felt like that for a while.
Maybe it’s other people improving rather than me getting worse, but either way the effect is the same. Far fewer goals, infinitely more mistakes, increasingly poor goalkeeping and some very dodgy passing… I used to have space and time to dribble around people and I used to score plenty of goals at throw-ins, but now, not so much. I’m often caught out of position, or stuck waiting for a pass that never arrives (or when it does, I screw up the shot). Too often my reach exceeds my grasp and some cocky maneuver goes tits-up. And I don’t know what to do about it.
Maybe I’m not getting worse; just noticing bad habits and focussing on those rather than on the valve-breaking slapshot wheelie-goals of old I used to do. Maybe this is a phase and I’ll learn to evaluate more and take fewer risks.
On a positive note, my individual performance drop off has been countered by improvements in my team. We got stronger throughout 2012, so maybe I’m just playing a more generous, team-spirited game. Or maybe my teammates got better and I stayed the same. Maybe I’m the weak link whose time is up…
What worries me more though, is that I’m enjoying polo less. I’d happily lose every game if they were all close and competitive, but there seem to be fewer tight games; less commitment to winning and more dicking around (I’m probably more guilty of this than anyone). Several key players have recently left or are about to leave, so maybe it’s that I’m frustrated with being pitched back to a new low, struggling to get six people out and battling to hold our courts.
Neil said that winter was to blame, and maybe he’s right. Slippy courts, cold muscles and ineffective brakes are bound to have a negative influence. Perhaps it’s a lack of tournament play that’s affected my motivation.
Whatever the cause though, I’m going to keep cracking on. I’m sure other people feel this way from time to time, and I always hear about professionals ‘playing through’ bad form, so I’m sure either I’ll snap out of it, or come to terms with it, and regain my mojo.