Jack Macgruder had an opportunity to work with professional polo players to improve his nearside back shot.

The teenager from the Washington, D.C. area is in Aiken this weekend to play in the National Youth Tournament Series. Macgruder was one of a number of young players to participate in the United States Polo Association’s Polo Development LLC clinic that was held Saturday in conjunction with the Aiken Polo Club at the Powderhouse Fields.

This was the 19th clinic conducted nationwide by the USPA Polo Development LLC in 2014, and the developing players had an opportunity to improve their skill set by working with USPA instructor Liz Holson and professional polo players Robert Lyn-Kee-Chow and Max Secunda. Saturday’s clinic placed an emphasis on strategy, providing the participating players with greater insight in how to approach a number of different scenarios, while at the same time improving their game. The NYTS players were between the ages of 12 and 18.

“We had an opportunity to work on our hitting, riding and strategy,” said Jack McLean, a NYTS player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Max has been everywhere and he had a lot of sound and helpful advice for me. The NYTS tournament is a great way to get more kids involved with polo.”

Tom Huber is a NYTS veteran, having participated in the tournament series in 2013, and the athlete from Baltimore, Maryland, is no stranger to the sport as he’s a third generation polo player.

Henry Watson found the clinic beneficial, absorbing as much as he could about strategy, but also directed his efforts toward improving a part of his game that will ameliorate his play markedly.

“I worked on my spacing from my horse’s hooves to the ball,” said Watson.

The USPA Player Development LLC offers free clinics to USPA member clubs as a way of giving back, while working on player development as part of their relationship with those same entities.

“This clinic is really unique,” said Holson. “I spend a lot of time in Aiken. We have players from North Carolina, Maryland, Virgina, Pennsylvania and California. And with the exception of four of the players who are here this weekend, I know them all personally. It was great having the opportunity to watch them play yesterday. You could see the players improve from one chukker to the next. It’s a proud moment.”

The National Youth Tournament Series Zone 2 qualifier final will be played today at 1 p.m. at Whitney Field. The Public is welcome to attend.