Talk about banning mallet on mallet play.

There’s some chat about banning hooking mallets. Is anyone optimistic about this being possible? I’m willing to be convinced but my position is that it’s impossible to forbid hooking without affecting what should ideally be legal mallet play; shot blocking, lifting/spoiling.

Change my mind. I need some optimism in my life rn.


yes, the Reffing is gonna super hard, mainly from what you said, where is the limit, what is considered hooking or not, but also from where the refs are watching the game.
im not against it, even if I really love hooking, it s from “logistic” point of view, it seems hard to put in place


What if I told you that hooking was the equivalent of animal products in bike polo; unnecessary for human flourishing and only causes unnecessary suffering?

But yeah, I think we agree. :wink:


Some of the more “smart-ass” options in Bike Polo make it extremely fun and challenging and usually get a laugh out of me in the end either way. For spectators especially it is an incredibly stimulating element of player interaction - real “rude” moments.

How liberally can player interaction continue to be carved up?


I think Reffing is already overly complex, so any new rules should try and make things simpler for volunteer refs to feel confident calling what they see.

That being said, I do think there is room to expand the rules around slashing to include trying to rip your mallet free as a foul. And this could address the safety concerns a lot of players have raised.


I think there is just slightly too much hooking in some situations. I like skillful hooking, messing and disturbing the ball carrier. This is an elementary part of the game we know. How to reduce it a little bit in a clear and reffable way, I have no idea.

Which scenarios are the ones that bother you? Describe them!


I think hooking is far too effective at blocking the movement of players and slowing the game. I believe the game would be far more enjoyable to watch and play if fishing from behind were less effective at impeding forward movement. It would reduce the “longest shaft” arms race which would likely lead to more controlled dribbling and shooting. This is without mentioning the safety issues with “flourishing” out of a hook. It still amazes me that I can’t reach a static mallet toward an airborne ball unless I’m in open court but I can wildly flail my mallet behind my head without much consideration for the player to my rear. Seems like a contradiction to the spirit of the high mallet rule to me but I realise that it is one of the only effective ways to escape a solid hook so we have resigned ourselves to accept it.

We don’t have a culture of heavy mallet play in Melbourne but I recognise that it is an effective strategy and when I watch live streams of games played internationally it is obvious that when I play at that level again I’ll have to change my game to be competitive. This saddens me. It’s not that I can’t do it. It’s just that I don’t want to. Perhaps I’m wrong about the prevalence of hooking but I think there are numerous stronger players internationally who share my desire for an aesthetically pleasing game that isn’t slowed by the fencing tactics. I’m happy to be corrected.

In my mind, hooking is the new obstruction. It is far too effective for the amount of skill required to execute a hook given the current equipment. I think it’s unlikely that there would ever be majority support for changing it even if it were possible. That’s because, just like obstruction, it’s a skill leveller. An effective hook like an effective off-ball interference play requires little skill but can neuter the effectiveness of a player who is much more skilful. To gain majority support for a rule you have to get the middle of the road players on board and I think it’s obvious that removing hooking would increase the skill disparity between players at opposite ends of the spectrum just like introducing the obstruction rule did. There was a pretty high rate of attrition from veteran players in our scene after the obstruction rule was introduced because a significant part of their strategic arsenal was nullified. I daresay that were hooking to be magically removed then a less extreme form of attrition would likely occur.

I’m just generally bemused we don’t change things up more often in bike polo but this change (second only slightly to half-court shots) seems like low hanging fruit. The problem being however that I don’t think we can legislate against hooking sufficiently using the ruleset. I’m here to be proven wrong of course. I think we need an equipment change…


I’m going to hook you into orbit next time we play! ; )

I think that we are far from finished when it comes to refining the interactions of players and the equipment using the ruleset. The only practical limit is the competence of the referee and the materials available to build balls, mallets, bikes and courts. I see plenty of room for improvement. I’m weird like that.

I think you might be underestimating what is being lost in terms of inventive play by permitting such a strong strategy to go unchecked. Perhaps it’s hard to imagine how much a rule change can affect the nature of play if you weren’t around prior to the obstruction rule being introduced.

1 Like

2 second rule like ball jointing and scooping?


I’m mostly against this rule change because of what it means for refs and an increasingly challenging ruleset to officiate.

I also think we should look at what defenders will have to do if hooks are no longer an option. What strategies might they employ in situations where a hook would have been great before.

One area where I often hook is when I’ve been beat and my opponent has a break way. I hook their back swing to neutralize the threat. If that was not an option I’d have to lay a check our sprint in front of them and try to cut them off at speed. This seems far more dangerous to me.

Also I hook often in skirmishes along the boards fighting for the ball. I’m not sure what I would do if I couldn’t hook. I imagine this would lead to more body on body. which again seems more dangerous than hooking.

My final argument against a hooking ban is that it will make the game more homogenous. I love going to different clubs and seeing different play styles and creativity. The ruleset should try to leave space for people to play different styles.

In our club we mallet hook a lot and I mean a lot but we never check. I’m going to be honest though I can’t remember ever seeing a serious injury caused by hooking at pick up. I think players understand that hooks are coming and adjust their play style accordingly.


there are so many ways not to let a hook nullify you…faster mallet, faster pedaling, play ball on opposite of your body from the defender, play the ball with your driveside front wheel, play the ball with your driveside rear wheel, play the ball with your non-driveside front wheel, play the ball with your non-driveside rear wheel and last but not least…STOP HOLDING THE BALL SO LONG THIS NULLIFIES YOU. the ball has to start moving in this sport, period. people are so terrible at hitting it from point a to point b they’ll do 7 scoops and 3 pivots to avoid risking shanking a basic 10 foot pass. no other sport has players hold the ball even half as long as polo players feel is somehow their right!


Jason ? You talking about 7 scoops and 3 pivots for no reason ? Haha :two_hearts:
Congrats again for Nantes, you did great !!


Maybe it’s Geneva playstyle but i dont see hooking as a problem.
I may be wrong, i was wrong a lot in this kind of forwardthinking discussion (i was to keep the “traffic cone” as goal, thought it makes the game more fluid haha).
So there’s my 0 cents post, just to keep plovrse alive.


Not sure if I missed all this long talking about banning hooking, or not… :grimacing:

But I’m still 100% against, even if it’s really useful in my game.
Indeed, it’s the same as Obstruction and should be covered by the rule.
We are afraid about reffing, but IMO the main problem about reffing is the time we spend learning, reading, and teaching the rules.

Coincidental contact (put the mallet on a way of a shot motion) or mallet head to head contact should be aloud while going for the ball, but mallet contact to imped the opponent movement, should be considered as obstruction and banned.

It’s a huge advantage for the defense that already have a to big advantage in the game, and it slows down the game.

And it’s not gonna be that hard to ref.
The “not easy to ref situations” about obstruction have nothing to do with the obstructions (that were allowed) back in the days.
What we don’t won’t to see anymore is the defense holding the offense mallet and the game being weirdly blocked by this. And if it’s not allowed ppl will just stop to do it, it’s not gonna be hard to ref.
And same as shaft to shaft contact, if you are supposed to go for a ball and only hit the shaft (not even the head), you lost the control of your mallet. (Might also avoid a few legs hit.)

We have to try it.


I don’t agree that removing hooking will make the game more homogenous. I’m assuming of course that we could do so without removing shot blocking and other more desirable mallet interactions. I think that if the protracted shaft tangles could be limited it would lead to more diversity in play style between scenes.

I think the proposal may be a time limit which wouldn’t remove hooking but limit it. To be clear I think that this will be difficult to ref consistently. Firstly because time limits on anything are already contentious, and second, if it is incumbent on the person who initiated to release them it will be possible for the person being hooked to resist being released in order to draw a call.

I already feel the inclination to do this sort of thing when I’m being hooked by an opponent and their team mate comes to collect the ball. I feel my opponent trying to release the hook to facilitate legal collection by their team mate and I sometimes instinctively switch to proactively hooking them as the rules are sufficiently vague so as to not delineate between who is hooking who in an interference situation. If that makes sense.

(Edit): on second thought, it’s not that I switch to proactively hooking per se but I resist escaping the hook when it is at my disadvantage to do so. That’s more of a problem. If there is a time limit and the interference rule precludes swiping a ball from locked players then it might lead to stale mate situations when the person who gets hooked is encouraged to resist release. If only mallets were easier to untangle and didn’t lock together so easily! :wink:


Mallet hooking simply isn’t a real problem for me. I handle the ball in front of my bike. If people want to put themselves out of position by trying to hook my mallet, bring it on. They will not be successful.

Mallet hooking, as a go-to is a poor move that will result in lots of Ls. And if you’re leaving your mallet wide open to being hooked, I think ya should be. Of course, there are exceptions, but in general I don’t think it’s a real problem. Maybe it’s different outside of the US, but I feel like it should be bigger here and not the other way around.


Well if you remove intentional shaft on shaft contact you have to completely go double capped head or ban scoop because I feel it’s a natural counter to this.

I love gentle touch on other shaft, it’s frustrating when it happen but in the current form of the ruleset and form of the game it’s completely part of it.

Blurry are the lines between gentle-ish tap (from below) and gentle-slash of course.


Same here.
But i guess it’s very “sceno-centric” and even “playero-centric”, by that i mean that within a club or because of few players abusing it you could feel that it’s a problem to be solved.

Based on my last tournament experience: it’s not.

There are so many types of mallet contacts. Can you please define which ones are ok, not ok, according to you? I am not really sure what we are talking about here. That’s why I asked for scenarios. (I assume here that in all cases it’s the player without ball initiating contact on the player with the ball and there are not other players involved)

  1. Mallet head on mallet head
  2. Soft tap shaft to shaft
  3. Hard tap shaft to shaft (NOT a slash of course)
  4. Hooking the shaft for a short time <1s
  5. Hooking the shaft and holding it for more than 1s
  6. Hooking the shaft and holding it for more than 2s
  7. Hooking the shaft and trapping it between the player and their bike/body

a) with an attempt to play the actual ball after/during the mallet contact
b) without an attempt to play the ball
c) in a position where the ball is out of reach for the defender

  1. Holding the mallet into the path of the swing of an upcoming shot (typically from behind the player who wants to shoot).

This is just to make sure I understand what everybody is talking about. Not everybody uses the same vocabulary. So just tell me you want to ban 1a,b, 2a,b,c 3 c or whatever (this goes to everybody). And if there are scenarious I did not think about feel free to add them.


I never even realized this was such a big deal for some until this thread was brought to my attention today. I think hooking mallets is an excellent trick precisely for all of the reasons some have pointed out here when arguing against hooking i.e. this fun, spectacular, dynamic, and very basic trick indeed has some small chance to give a slight and temporary advantage (or rather - hope) to an otherwise less skillful player. And I think the more great (although I also believe the potential and power of hooking specifically is very much overrated here) equalizers like this one we have the less intimidating and desperate the play against stronger players will be for the rookies and I for one am all for it. If the only way to somewhat delay someone who played for 10+ years is to hook their mallet (the only other option being to build yourself a time machine to start training for the sport 5 years earlier), let us hook it and find a way to escape the hook. It’s always possible, and also - the person hooking you pays their price - they are also busy and unavailable to play the ball because their mallet is busy hooking your mallet. Sometimes slowing down someone’s game who is currently in possession is really all you can do especially when playing against someone you can’t really keep up with. Also - while struggling to get your hooked mallet free does indeed look somewhat dangerous, in my 5 years of experience, 99% of mallet-to-the-face situations still took place when executing or attempting to execute a legit shot, not trying to liberate your equipment. Also - such a ban if it ever takes place will do next to nothing to the mentioned “arms race” for the longest mallet. I had the longest mallet in my country and hooking specifically was never my motivation when deciding what length I’d like to have so the hooking ban doesn’t really affect the pros and cons of a longer mallet (such as the range/power for both of which you pay a fair price of heaviness/higher fragility/less accuracy). Besides, a longer mallet, due to its very length is itself more vulnerable to hooking by someone else. All in all, I think we have enough rules and I would rather cancel some of them than create even more, especially if the new ones are based on someone’s gut feeling they should have even fewer obstructions, inconveniences, or delays when obliterating their opponents.