One of the many items you’ll need to play a regulation game of polo is the mallet, and indeed, the mallet can make a big difference in how successful you are playing the game. While polo mallets may look heavy, the truth is that they are usually very lightweight – usually totaling no more than 18 or 19 ounces, which is just a little more than a pound.
Remember, it doesn’t have to hit a heavy ball, so you really don’t need one that’s super heavy anyway.
Do All Polo Mallet Weigh the Same?
Of course, when players are deciding on the weight of their polo mallet they take two things into consideration. The first is the weight of the mallet head, which will ideally weigh only around 7 ounces, and the total weight of the entire mallet, which will ideally be around 18 to 19 ounces.
Keep in mind, though, that these weights can vary depending on the type of mallet you choose because, in reality, different mallets can come with different weights for both the head and the overall mallet.
Does this mean the weight can be anything the manufacturer wants it to be? Of course not. Manufacturers shoot for a range when it comes to the weight of the head and the mallet’s overall weight, so even if you choose a mallet that is made out of completely different materials than your last one, the weights are usually very similar. The above numbers are averages and do not have to be followed exactly.
Which Aspects Affect the Weight of the Mallet?
There are many different sizes and materials associated with mallets, including the following:
- Cane versus composite. Although natural cane from Manau in Southeast Asia has typically been used to make polo mallets, the supply of this type of cane has been dwindling and therefore, many players are now choosing composite mallets. Composite mallets are made much stronger than cane mallets and are much less likely to break while you’re playing. They also tend to be a little more consistent in shape and smoothness and last much longer as well.
- Hybrid mallets. Hybrid mallets are usually made with cane fitted to the lower part of the cane and the shaft of the cane made out of fiber-cane. They are lightweight, have a consistent feel, and can be repaired much like standard cane mallets are.
- Arena/snow polo mallets. Arena or snow polo mallets are naturally made a little different than standard polo mallets. They tend to be lighter and stiffer, and the handles are a tad larger. The head is larger in diameter and very lightweight. In Europe, most of the arena polo players use mallets that are made out of fiber-cane, which tends to be custom-made and slightly stiffer than their counterparts.
When you’re shopping for your mallet, keep in mind that cane is not the same as bamboo. Cane is solid, whereas bamboo is hollow. They rarely, if ever, make polo mallets out of bamboo because in some ways, this material is simply too light to play with. If your polo mallet is too inexpensive, there is likely a reason why, and it is usually because the materials it’s made out of are inferior.
Of course, the material the mallets are made out of is important, but so is the size of the mallet itself. Polo mallets come in many different sizes, which in the case of this product means many different lengths. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The most popular length for a polo magnet is 52” or 53”. The heads can weigh from 5.5 ounces to a little more than 7 ounces. When you use a mallet, it should do most of the work for you, so if you don’t have much strength in your wrist, you should choose a medium stiff shaft with a head weight of roughly 6.5 to 7 ounces. This will give you a mallet that isn’t too heavy or too light, in part because it falls within the range mentioned above.
Can You Use Different Lengths?
If you’re planning to use different lengths, you can reduce the weight of the head by about 5 grams or so for each extra inch the mallet is in length. This way, you can keep executing the same type of swing regardless of which mallet you’re using.
A mallet that has a handle that is too small may spin in your hand, but a larger handle gives you better overall control. It also allows for less arm strain, which is why more than half of all polo players find that a medium stiff mallet is the best one to choose.
It can be tough to decide which length is right for you when it comes to your polo mallet. In fact, most people cannot make this decision without getting onto the horse and using a stick for the mallet while simulating a polo game. If you measure the stick from the ground to the top of your palm, you should get a good idea of how many inches long your polo mallet should be.
Naturally, there are other things that can affect the type of mallet you end up buying. These include your build, your experience level, your general playing ability, your handicap, and even the type of polo you’ll be playing. If you visit a store that specializes in polo gear and equipment, the experts there should be able to help you choose the right mallet for your needs.
One more thing: the reason you’ll likely need a few different mallets is because most players end up playing on several different horses during any given game. Since one of the aspects that affects the type of mallet you buy is the size of the horse, this is why it’s good to have more than one mallet in your possession when you are preparing for your next polo game.
How Do You Choose the Right Polo Mallet?
Although there are different things to take into consideration when choosing the right polo mallet, there are characteristics that apply regardless of which type you choose in the end.
First of all, while some players prefer super-stiff mallets and others prefer flexible mallets (called whippy mallets), most people prefer mallets that are stiff in the top half to three-quarters of the shaft, but with some flex at the tip.
When you’re using your mallet, it should feel very natural for you – like it’s an extension of your arm. It shouldn’t feel heavy when you’re flexing your wrists, and one of the reasons why so many players are going for lighter mallets these days is because most polo games involve the use of plastic balls, which do not require super-heavy mallets to maneuver.
Choosing the right polo mallet is important, and the size and weight are affected by the materials the mallet is made of. In the end, it is essentially a matter of preference for you as a player. While most polo mallets are lightweight and easy to maneuver, it is still best to go over all aspects of the mallet before you make a final decision.
Since most mallets do not weigh more than 20 ounces or so, they are easy to play with and therefore it should be a simple task to find the one that is right for you.