Polo Players Edition

SEP 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1016123

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Page 23 of 67

The United States Polo Association established Team USPA in 2009 to grow and sustain the sport of polo by identifying talented young American players and providing opportunities to grow their abilities. best players in the world in the U.S. Open Championships. Just last month, he hopped on a plane from Miami and flew to London to assist coach Joel Baker with the Junior Westchester Cup team. "Interacting with the kids and helping them with game strategy was very rewarding. They worked really hard and to see them win was awesome," said Zenni. "I try to relate to the kids in the way I like to be coached and see how they respond. Kids' personalities vary so much, you have to really pay attention and see if they look engaged or if they are closing you off." The National Youth Tournament Series qualifiers and championships have been another venue for Team USPA players to coach younger players. Nick Snow, Felipe Viana and Jesse Bray coached at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 championships, and Jim Wright and Zenni will join the ranks this coming year. Their experience on the field garners respect from the youth players but their age helps keep them relatable. Bray finds watching game tape to be the most efficient method of preparation before matches, so before his NYTS western region team took the field they reviewed all of the team's practice footage from the previous day. "Seeing the plays from another perspective can be eye-opening. With the [western region] team, I focused on their field awareness and positioning. I kept asking them to find themselves on the field and explain why they were in that position, and a lot of times they didn't know—but that is how they become more 22 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Pass it on Team USPA members help coach younger players "To excel at the highest level—or any level, really—you need to believe in yourself, and hands down, one of the biggest contributors to my self-confidence has been private coaching." —Stephen Curry Stephen Curry is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, shooter in NBA history. His notable achievements include three NBA Championships, two NBA Most Valuable Player Awards and five NBA All- Star honors among other accolades. Interestingly, Curry attributes some of his success in the sport of basketball to consistent coaching. Coaches play an integral role in the function of most sports' teams worldwide, yet this important figure is noticeably absent in the sport of outdoor polo. The importance of coaching has begun to take hold in the polo community in recent years. Providing young players with access to high-level coaching and playing opportunities has been a driving force of the Team USPA program since its inception. From the likes of Adam Snow and Owen Rinehart to Tommy Wayman and Hector Galindo, Team USPA members have studied under some of the country's top players, learning firsthand how they strategized, approached problems and developed a style of their own on the field. As some of the senior Team USPA professional players progress through their careers, they now find themselves in a position to give back to younger players through coaching opportunities. In April, Jared Zenni achieved the seemingly impossible—beating one of the Jesse Bray coaches Cory Williams during the NYTS East vs. West match last year. KAYLEE WROE

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