TEAM USPA FALL HIGHLIGHTS FROM
THE TEAM USPA AIKEN TRAINING CENTER
TEAM USPA YOUNG PLAYER CLINIC
WITH ADAM SNOW AND OWEN RINEHART
Owen Rinehart and Adam Snow with local young players in Aiken, SC at a TEAM USPA Clinic this fall.
The Team USPA Program, with the help of former 10-goal players Adam Snow and Owen Rinehart, hosted a clinic last month for local young players at Adam’s New Haven Farm located in Aiken, South Carolina. The clinic was targeted for 0-2 goal rated players that were in the area including Team USPA members Pedro Lara, Belinda Brody, Stephanie Massey, Jeff Shuler, Jorge Estrada, and Young Player Outreach (YPO) members Wesley Bryan, Nate Berube, Javier Maldenado, Samira Waerland, Kegan Walsh, Dori Gambrell and Campbell Davis. Adam and Owen recruited senior Team USPA member, Nick Snow, to help teach the clinic and offer guidance from the perspective of a young player who has recently progressed from the level the clinic attendees are currently playing at.
Owen’s emphasis was on the importance of hitting the ball “well” all of the time as opposed to hitting the ball “great” some of the time. He also covered various aspects of properly executing a back shot and plays for defending a back shot.
Adam discussed a play he calls the “IHOP” play which refers to quick defensive reactions in picking situations. He also went over neck shots and the meaning of “counting heads” and its importance throughout the game.
Nick talked about the value of exposing yourself to as much “good polo” as possible, and always having a purpose when you are stick n’ balling. He also emphasized the importance of arriving to the field with all of your horse details completely organized, allowing you to focus only on the game.
The mounted portion of the clinic divided participants into three groups based on playing ability, and the instructors set up three stations on the field:
Owen’s station was the back shot station where he divided his group into three sub-groups. With Groups 1 & 2, he partnered everyone up and had them call for a tail or an open shot. With Group 3, Owen got them moving a little faster, calling for passes and hitting the ball with purpose.
Adam’s station was the neck shot station where cones were set up for the players to circle around counter-clockwise at a trot, then at a left-lead canter before hitting a neck shot. This drill allowed the players to get comfortable with their positioning and build up their confidence to execute without hitting their horse’s feet. Adam helped the players with their body positioning, explaining to keep their feet under their hips and to use their feet as their platform.
Nick’s station was the near-side station. Nick began by having each player get on a left-lead canter in a circle and continuously execute a near-side forehand while maintaining the horse’s rhythm and speed. He then lined the players up and had them take the ball on their near side from boards to boards in a straight line with controlled, consistent strokes.
The final part of the clinic was a round-robin 3 vs. 3 scrimmage.Teams were made up of one person from each of the three groups, and the veteran Team USPA members were asked to captain their team on the field. Adam, Owen and Nick followed the plays and interrupted the plays when necessary to offer constructive feedback, helping participants enhance their game. Owen enforced hitting the ball well, Adam concentrated on closing on the man defensively early in the play, and Nick worked with players one-on-one between chukkers with pointers specific to each player.
This was an extremely successful clinic for several reasons, primarily due to the circle of knowledge being passed down from the lead mentors and “graduating” Team USPA members to the current class of members on down to the upcoming class and a number of Young Player Outreach players who have never received any form of formal coaching in their life.
Thank you Adam and Owen for organizing such a great clinic, Nick for volunteering your time, and the Team USPA Committee for giving 12 young polo players this incredible opportunity!
TEAM USPA MENTOR PROGRAM TESTIMONIAL
Stephanie Massey shadowing Shelley Onderdonk, DVM
Thank you TEAM USPA for my mentorship opportunity this fall in Aiken, South Carolina. This opportunity not only allowed me to work for Adam Snow and Shelley Onderdonk, D.V.M, but also granted me the opportunity to participate in Team USPA training in Aiken.
While in Aiken, I was in charge of Adam’s young horse polo string, assisting with New Haven Farm management, helping at Adam’s 16-goal games, and shadowing Dr. Onderdonk with many of her veterinary calls. This fall was an excellent opportunity for me to apply and enhance many of the skills I gained while working under Perk Connell from my summer in Sheridan, Wyoming. While in Aiken, I was able to further my knowledge, horsemanship and playing ability, especially through many practice chukkers under the guidance of Team USPA mentors Owen Rinehart, Adam Snow and Julio Arellano. I thoroughly enjoyed, and learned a lot from, the Team USPA clinic that Adam and Owen instructed. I was also able to do some arena umpiring for both season matches and a junior’s tournament at Hilltop Farm while I was in town.
Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for me to truly experience what it takes to succeed in high goal polo learning from one of America’s top polo professionals, and more importantly, learning what it takes to be a successful polo veterinarian.
Thanks again for your continued support of the Team USPA members!
Team USPA Member