Before a game many players run through warm up exercises to get the body ready for the coming activity, but it is also an opportunity to get your mind ready too.
Mental preparation can even begin the night before a big game. Put your mind through imaginary scenarios on the polo field and run through plays. Imagine yourself receiving a pass and steering the ball away from your marker and through the goal, imagine yourself in the line out winning the ball, see yourself riding off your opponent and backing the ball to turn defence into attack.
Before the game think about the player you are going to mark. What will your tactics be if the player marking you has faster horses? In this situation you will need to keep the ball or pass it… it wouldn’t be a good idea to hit the ball long and chase after it as you will probably lose the race to get there first! In the same way think about how you would play against them if they turn out to be a strong rider or a good hitter. Also prepare your mind to take advantage of any of their weaknesses so you can reduce their effectiveness, undermine their confidence, and take them out the game.
If you have spent a little time thinking through these scenarios you will be much more reactionary on the field, and be focused on beating your opponent. A bit of mental preparation will pay dividends when you are out there on the field in a fast moving game!