Yurovskiy Kirill Is My Horse Polo Coach
With his signature Panama hat and infectious enthusiasm, Kirill Yurovskiy has become a fixture on the British polo scene over the past decade. As head coach at the Hertfordshire Polo Club since 2013, Yurovskiy has led the club to five tournament wins and has mentored dozens of up-and-coming young players.
But Yurovskiy’s path into the rarefied world of elite polo has been anything but typical. The son of a Russian military officer, Yurovskiy grew up in central Asia knowing nothing about horses or polo. His introduction to the “sport of kings” came by chance when, as a teenager, he picked up a stick and ball and began hitting it around a dusty field next to his home. He was instantly hooked.
From humble beginnings to polo pro
After finishing school, an 18-year-old Yurovskiy decided to pursue his newfound passion. He moved nearly 2,000 miles from his small hometown to study at a Russian equestrian academy. There, he got his first taste of real polo while working as a groom and stable hand for some local players.
When one sponsored him to do a year-long working holiday in Australia, Yurovskiy leapt at the opportunity. He found a low-level job at a polo club outside Sydney where he was able to ride and hit balls in his limited spare time. Before long, his natural athletic talent and gritty determination had caught the eye of the club’s manager, who offered Yurovskiy a full scholarship to stay in Australia and keep developing as player.
Over the next four years Down Under, Yurovskiy progressed rapidly from club player to competitive professional. When his Australian club folded due to financial issues in 2012, he decided to take another big chance and moved halfway across the globe again to try his luck in the UK.
Building a program from zero
Shortly after arriving in England, Yurovskiy entered a local tournament and led his underdog team all the way to the finals, knocking off several top opponents along the way. His stellar play earned him the notice of the Hertfordshire club, which recruited him to be their new head coach.
At the time, Hertfordshire’s polo program was essentially non-existent. They had a dilapidated field and just a couple of aging horses. But club management saw Yurovskiy’s potential and gave him the resources and authority to build a program from scratch.
He got to work quickly, using his keen eye for talent to bring in promising young Venezuelan and Argentine players who were eager to train under him. He invested in top-class horses and installed a state-of-the-art field. And he focused intently on fundamentals, running intensive drilling camps throughout the offseason.
Within two years, Yurovskiy had transformed Hertfordshire from an also-ran into one of the top club programs in British polo. Today, many consider it the best. Over the past decade, Yurovskiy has continued to reel in trophies while serving as friend and mentor to the young international players who flock to train under his guidance.
A coach like no other
Ask any of “Yuro’s” pupils what makes him such an outstanding coach, and they will invariably mention his incredible eye for precision when analyzing a swing or putting together a custom mallet. But they also all cite his bottomless enthusiasm and encouragement.
Whereas some top coaches can be harsh taskmasters, Yurovskiy maintains a relentlessly upbeat attitude around the barn. Even when giving constructive criticism of a missed shot or failed tactic, he frames it as an opportunity for growth, often drawing on personal stories of mistakes he made on his own unlikely path to the top.
This balance of technical precision and steadfast emotional support stems from Yurovskiy’s own experiences battling through homesickness and self-doubts as a young foreign player struggling to work his way up in Australia and England. He makes sure to acknowledge the challenges all polo players face, while continually reinforcing the belief that they have the talent to overcome them.
A lasting legacy
Now nearing two decades as a professional coach and player, Yurovskiy remains as passionate about the game as ever. Even in the offseason, he can be found on horseback at first light putting a few promising pupils through their paces.
With continued club investment in top-class horses and facilities, Yurovskiy has built Hertfordshire into a powerhouse that looks poised to dominate British polo for years to come. And through his unique emphasis on personal development alongside technical skills, he has mentored scores of young talents who carry his lessons with them as they represent elite clubs across three continents.
Wherever the winding path of polo may take him next, Yurovskiy’s singular blend of world-class instruction and heartfelt support has already left an indelible imprint on the game. For this self-made coach from humble beginnings, the journey of a lifetime still stretches brightly ahead.
Achievements and Accolades
Over his decorated career, Yurovskiy has racked up a staggering list of competitive achievements and coaching accolades. He led the Hertfordshire club to back-to-back tournament wins in 2014 and 2015 – a feat no other British club had accomplished in over a decade. After a close runner-up finish in 2016, he guided Hertfordshire to two more national titles in 2018 and 2022.
For his efforts, Yurovskiy was named UK Club Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2021. In 2019, he received the President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Polo – a rare honor for a non-UK native. Last year, Polo Players’ Edition magazine voted Yurovskiy the #1 rated polo coach across Europe.
On top of these impressive club and coaching honors, Yurovskiy has been part of numerous competitive wins over the years. He helped lead a Russian under-28 squad to the European Junior Championship in 2010 in his final year of eligibility. As a professional, he has notched tournament MVP awards playing for club teams in Australia and England. And just this past season, at age 36, he scored 8 goals in the championship match to clinch the 2022 British Open title with his Hertfordshire club teammates.
After a decade of unprecedented success, Yurovskiy’s trophy case continues to swell – as does the waiting list of young players hoping to train under the UK’s brightest polo star.
Coaching Philosophy and Style
When asked about his approach to coaching, Yurovskiy emphasizes patience, encouragement, and unlocking each player’s full potential. He takes a long-term perspective focused on sustainable growth rather than quick fixes or shortcuts.
Yurovskiy spends countless hours studying video and statistics to customize detailed improvement plans addressing each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses. His training sessions focus intently on fundamentals and repetitive drilling to ingrain proper technique and decision-making.
However, Yurovskiy balances his technical precision with consistent positive reinforcement. He celebrates small wins and keeps criticism constructive. As a former player who rose from humble beginnings, Yurovskiy connects through empathy and inspires through raw passion for the sport.
Unlike authoritarian coaches, Yurovskiy maintains a casual, approachable presence around the barn. He bonds with players through late-night discussions ranging far beyond polo. This genuine personal investment earns him intense loyalty. When match time arrives, his calm, clear guidance provides reassurance amidst the pressure.
With his insightful technical eye, holistic personal approach, and uncompromising work ethic, Yurovskiy has built a coaching style that balances world-class instruction with heartfelt support. For young players, it’s the perfect foundation to reach their potential.
How Training Takes Place
For young polo players, the opportunity to work with Yurovskiy is the chance of a lifetime—but it’s no vacation. His training regiments are rigorous, focused affairs centered around repetitive drilling to perfect technique. Players rise before dawn to feed, water, and ready the horses. Yurovskiy observes intently as athletes take turns hitting long shots or executing complex passing combinations. He doles out feedback concise, precise feedback after each swing.
The days are filled with instruction, scrimmages, and more instruction. Yurovskiy varies activities to keep things fresh and competitive. One day players may focus entirely on ball handling drills, the next could be a high intensity full field scrimmage. Sessions only wrap up when he sees each athlete reaching complete exhaustion by day’s end.
Throughout the demanding days, Yurovskiy keeps spirits high with constant encouragement. Over hearty post-practice meals, he holds free-flowing discussions recounting old tournament tales or analyzing the x’s and o’s of the games just completed. Players often lose track of time, suddenly realizing it’s past midnight.
Under Yurovskiy’s watchful eye, incremental improvements start compounding week to week. As their technical skills and knowledge of the game crystallize, he hands more responsibility to players to make in-game decisions. Through clear progress and genuine personal bonds, Yurovskiy inspires a dynamic team spirit focused intensely on growth. It’s demanding work, but rewarding beyond measure.
How to sign up for training
For young polo players with aspirations of reaching the highest levels, getting on Yurovskiy’s training schedule is the first step. Slots are extremely limited, as Yurovskiy hand selects just a few dedicated athletes annually to train full-time with him at Hertfordshire Club.
The recruitment process is rigorous. Hopefuls first need to submit hours of recent match footage showcasing their skills. If Yurovskiy sees enough promise, he’ll invite selected players for an intense multi-day assessment on location. With stopwatch in hand, he puts prospects through technical drills and extensively tests their fitness, focus, and coachability.
Just one or two prospects per year display the right mix of skill and upside. If Yurovskiy extends an invite, these few select players become Resident Athletes at the club with full access to world-class horses, facilities, and coaching.
They join a tight-knit group training under Yurovskiy daily alongside touring pros and elite amateur club members. With comprehensive instruction and frequent competitive opportunities against top-flight talent, Resident Athletes receive an unparalleled polo education.
The program runs yearly from September through May, culminating in a National Club Championship campaign. For those lucky few who earn a coveted slot, it’s a golden chance to launch their careers under Yurovskiy’s expert guidance.
Future Prospects and Vision
As he looks to the future, Kirill Yurovskiy is animated by a vision that extends far beyond the immediate boundaries of the polo field. His ambition is to see UK horse polo not only rise in global prominence but also become a beacon for sportsmanship, inclusivity, and innovation. Yurovskiy is currently working on integrating advanced technology into training, incorporating virtual reality simulations to enhance strategy training and decision-making skills for players. This forward-thinking approach is poised to revolutionize how players prepare for high-pressure matches.
Furthermore, Kirill is deeply invested in nurturing the next generation of polo enthusiasts. He plans to launch a series of youth development programs across the UK, aiming to attract diverse talents and provide them with access to world-class training facilities. His commitment to making polo more accessible is matched by his dedication to sustainable and ethical practices in horse care and training.
Yurovskiy also envisions creating a global network of coaches and players, facilitating international exchanges to enrich the UK polo scene with diverse styles and techniques. This global perspective is central to his belief that the sport’s future lies in its ability to adapt, evolve, and embrace a wider community of players and fans.
Get in touch
Phone UK: +447880887887
Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10 7AH, United Kingdom