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Water polo

Water polo

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Water polo is a team water sport. The playing team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper
Goalkeeper
In many team sports which involve scoring goals, a goalkeeper is a designated player charged with directly preventing the opposing team from scoring by intercepting shots at goal...

. The winner of the game is the team that scores more goals. Game play involves swimming, treading water (using a sort of kicking motion known as "eggbeater kick"), players passing the ball while being defended by opponents, and scoring by throwing into a net defended by a goalie. 'Man-up' (or 'power play') situations occur frequently. Water polo, therefore, has strong similarities to the land-based game of team handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

.

Overview


Note: Rules below reflect the latest FINA Water Polo Rules 2005–2009.


Seven players from each team (six field players and a goalkeeper) are allowed in the playing area of the pool during game play. Visiting team field players wear numbered and usually White caps, and home team field players wear usually Blue caps (though any other contrasting colors are now allowed); both goalies wear red caps, numbered "1". Both teams may substitute players while the ball is in their possession. During game play, players enter and exit in the corner of the pool, or in front of their goal; when play is stopped, they may enter or exit anywhere. There are 7 people in the field including goal keeper.

The game is divided into four periods; the length depends on the level of play:
Level of play Team level Time each period Authority
Olympics
Water polo at the Summer Olympics
Water polo has been part of the Summer Olympics program since the second games, in 1900. A women's water polo tournament was introduced for the 2000 Summer Olympics...

 
National 8 minutes IOC
FINA Water Polo World League
FINA Water Polo World League
The FINA Water Polo World League began in 2002 to capitalize on increased worldwide popularity of water polo created by recent Olympic Games, especially in Europe, North America and Australia. Competition between the world’s best male players began on national teams in a season format with a prize...

 
National 8 minutes FINA
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

Serbian, Russian, Croatian, Italian Water Polo League
Serbia men's national water polo team
The Serbia men's national water polo team represents Serbia in international water polo competitions and is controlled by the Water Polo Association of Serbia...

 
National 8 minutes VSS
VSS
-Organizations:* Vernon Secondary School, a high school in Vernon, B.C.* Valley Stream South High School in Valley Stream, New York* Vaughan Secondary School, a public highschool located in Thornhill, Ontario operated by the York Region District School Board...

Senior club play Club 8 minutes FINA
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

US College Varsity
Varsity team
In the United States and Canada, varsity sports teams are the principal athletic teams representing a college, university, high school or other secondary school. Such teams compete against the principal athletic teams at other colleges/universities, or in the case of secondary schools, against...

 
8 minutes CWPA
Collegiate Water Polo Association
The Collegiate Water Polo Association is a conference of colleges and universities in the Eastern United States that compete in varsity water polo...

US College Club 7 minutes CWPA
Collegiate Water Polo Association
The Collegiate Water Polo Association is a conference of colleges and universities in the Eastern United States that compete in varsity water polo...

US High School Varsity
Varsity team
In the United States and Canada, varsity sports teams are the principal athletic teams representing a college, university, high school or other secondary school. Such teams compete against the principal athletic teams at other colleges/universities, or in the case of secondary schools, against...

 
7 minutes NFHS
National Federation of State High School Associations
The National Federation of State High School Associations is the body that writes the rules of competition for most high school sports and activities in the United States. Most high schools, whether public or private, belong to their state's high school association; in turn, each state association...

US High School Junior Varsity
Junior varsity
Primarily in North America, junior varsity or JV players are the members of a team who are not the main players in a competition , usually at the high school and college levels in the United States and Canada. The main players comprise the varsity team...

 
6 minutes NFHS
National Federation of State High School Associations
The National Federation of State High School Associations is the body that writes the rules of competition for most high school sports and activities in the United States. Most high schools, whether public or private, belong to their state's high school association; in turn, each state association...

US High School Freshman
Freshman
A freshman or fresher is a first-year student in secondary school, high school, or college. The term first year can also be used as a noun, to describe the students themselves A freshman (US) or fresher (UK, India) (or sometimes fish, freshie, fresher; slang plural frosh or freshmeat) is a...

/Sophomore
Sophomore
Sophomore is a term used in the United States to describe a student in the second year of study at high school or university.The word is also used as a synonym for "second", for the second album or EP released by a musician or group, the second movie of a director, or the second season of a...

 
5 minutes NFHS
National Federation of State High School Associations
The National Federation of State High School Associations is the body that writes the rules of competition for most high school sports and activities in the United States. Most high schools, whether public or private, belong to their state's high school association; in turn, each state association...

USA water polo 14 & unders 5 minutes


The game clock is stopped when the ball is not 'in play' (between a foul being committed and the free throw being taken, and between a goal being scored and the restart). As a result, the average quarter lasts around 12 minutes 'real time'. A team may not have possession of the ball for longer than 30 seconds without shooting for the goal unless an opponent commits an ejection foul. After 30 seconds, possession passes to the other team. However, if a team shoots the ball within the allotted time, and regains control of the ball, the shot clock is reset to 30 seconds. Each team may call 2 one-minute timeouts in the four periods of regulation play, and one timeout if the game goes into overtime. During game play, only the team in possession of the ball may call a timeout.

Dimensions of the water polo pool are not fixed and can vary between 20×10 and 30×20 meters. Minimum water depth must be least 1.8 meters (6 feet), but this is often waived for younger age groups. The goals are 3 meters wide and 90 centimeters high. Water polo ball
Water polo ball
A water polo ball is a ball used in water polo and canoe polo, usually characterized by a bright yellow colour and ease of gripability, so as to allow it to be held with one hand despite its large size.-Standard water polo ball characteristics:...

s are generally yellow and of varying size and weight for juniors, women and men. The middle of the pool is designated by a white line. Before 2005, the pool was divided by 7 and 4 meter lines (distance out from the goal line). This has been merged into one 5 meter line since the 2005–2006 season. Along the side of the pool, the center area between the 5 meter lines is marked by a green line (if marked at all). The "five meters" line is where penalties are shot and it is designated by a yellow line. The "two meter" line is designated with a red line and no player of the attacking team can receive a ball inside this zone.in other words you cannot be in the red if the ball is not.

One player on each team is designated the goalkeeper, assigned to block any shots at goal. The goalkeeper is the only player who can touch the ball with both hands at any time, and, in a shallow pool, the only player allowed to stand on the bottom.

Players can move the ball by throwing it to a teammate or swimming with the ball in front of them. Players are not permitted to push the ball underwater in order to keep it from an opponent, or push or hold an opposing player unless that player is holding the ball. Water polo is an intensely aggressive sport so fouls are very common, and result in a free throw during which the player cannot shoot at the goal unless beyond the "5 meter" line. If a foul is called outside the 5 meter line, the player is either able to shoot, pass or continue swimming with the ball. Water polo players need remarkable stamina because of the considerable amount of holding and pushing that occurs during the game, some allowed, some unseen or ignored by the referees (usually underwater). There are two types of fouls one (like the scenario above) only results in the "fouler" giving up the ball and backing off. The other results in an ejection or kick out. Ejections are usually given if someone is being a little too aggressive; i.e. drowning or smacking someone. A player can only have 3 ejections before being majored and can not play for the rest of the game. If a player gets a brutality he or she is also not able to finish the game. An example of a brutality would be excessively cruising or intentionally punching someone. Water polo is a physically demanding activity; action is continuous, and players commonly swim 5 kilometers or more during four periods of play.

Water polo is a game requiring excellent hand-eye coordination. The ability to handle and pass the ball flawlessly separates the good teams from the great teams. A pass thrown to a field position player is preferably a "dry pass" (meaning the ball does not touch the water) and allows for optimal speed when passing from player to player with fluid motion between catching and throwing. A "wet pass" is a deliberate pass into the water, just out of reach of the offensive player nearest the goal (the "hole set") and his defender. The hole-set can then lunge towards the ball and out of the water to make a shot or pass.
Scoring in water polo can be quite different than in other sports. For example, a "skip" or "bounce shot is fired intentionally at the water with considerable force so it will bounce back up. The ball usually hits the water within a meter of the net, where the goalie cannot anticipate and block the shot. Another shot, called a "lob" is thrown with a large vertical arc. Often these shots are more difficult to stop than a faster shot, as they are usually thrown across a net at such an angle the goalie must not only shift position from one side of the net to the other quickly, but also at the same time propel out of the water more than for other shots. Pump faking is effective when using any kind of shot. The player gets in the position to shoot but stops halfway through the arm-throwing motion, causing the defending goalkeeper to commit too early to block the subsequent shot.

A defender will often foul the player with the ball as a tactic to disrupt the opponent's ball movement. Play continues uninterrupted in most cases, but the attacker must now pass the ball or continue swimming instead of taking a shot. (An exception allows players to quickly pick up the ball and shoot if fouled outside of the five meter mark.) However, as in ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

, a player caught committing a major foul, is sent out of the playing area with his team a man down for 20 seconds, but may return sooner if a goal is scored or his team regains possession. If the foul is judged to be brutal, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game, with substitution by another teammate after four minutes have elapsed. A player, coach or spectator can also be ejected for arguing with the referees. During a man up situation resulting from an ejection foul, the attacking team can expect to score by passing around to move the goalkeeper out of position. A player that has been ejected three times must sit out the whole match with substitution.

Basic skills


Water Polo is a team water activity requiring swimming skills. Players must play both offense and defense, treading water or wrestling before turning back for the opposing team's possession. The front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

 stroke used in water polo differs from the usual swimming style in which water polo players swim with the head out of water at all times to observe the play. The arm stroke used is also a lot shorter and quicker and is used primarily to protect the ball. Backstroke
Backstroke
The backstroke, also sometimes called the back crawl, is one of the four swimming styles regulated by FINA, and the only regulated style swum on the back. This has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of swimmers not being able to see where they are going. It is also the only...

 is used by defending players to look for advancing opponents and by the goalie to track the ball after passing. Water polo backstroke differs from swimming backstroke; the player sits up a bit in the water, using eggbeater leg like motions with short arm strokes to the side instead of long arm strokes. This allows the player to see the play and quickly switch positions. It also allows the player to quickly catch a pass.
As all field players are only allowed to touch the ball with one hand at a time, they must develop the ability to catch and throw the ball with either hand and also the ability to catch a ball from any direction, including across the body using the momentum of the incoming ball. Experienced water polo players can catch and release a pass or shoot with a single motion. The size of the ball can overwhelm a small child's hand making the sport more suitable for older children. There are also smaller balls that can be used by younger children when playing.
  • Treading water
    Treading water
    Water treading is an aspect of swimming that involves a swimmer staying in a vertical position in the water while keeping his or her head above the surface of the water...

    : The most common form of water treading is generally referred to as "egg-beater", named because the circular movement of the legs resembles the motion of an egg-beater. Egg-beater is used for most of the match as the players cannot touch the bottom of the pool. The advantage of egg-beater is that it allows the player to maintain a constant position to the water level, and uses less energy than other forms of treading water such as the scissor kick
    Scissor kick
    Scissor kick may refer to:* Scissor kick , a move in martial arts and wrestling* Bicycle kick, a move in football* A leg movement used in swimming, such as in the sidestroke* A vulgar term for Tribadism...

    , which result in the player bobbing up and down. It can be used vertically or horizontally. Horizontal egg-beater is used to resist forward motion of an attacking player. Vertical egg-beater is used to maintain a position higher than the opponent. By kicking faster for a brief period the player can get high out of the water (as high as their suit—below their waistline) for a block, pass, or shot.
  • Reflexes
    Reflex action
    A reflex action, also known as a reflex, is an involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus. A true reflex is a behavior which is mediated via the reflex arc; this does not apply to casual uses of the term 'reflex'.-See also:...

     and Awareness
    Awareness
    Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of...

    : At higher levels of the sport the pace of play rapidly increases, so that anticipation and mental preparation is important. "Field sense" is a major advantage in scoring, even if a player lacks the speed of an opponent.

Positions


There are seven players in the water from each team at one time. There are six players that play out and one goalkeeper. Unlike most common team sports, there is little positional play; field players will often fill several positions throughout the game as situations demand. These positions consist of the center (or hole set), the point (who also usually plays center back or hole defender), the two wings and the two flats. Players who are skilled in all of these positions on offensive or defensive are called utility players. Utility players tend to come off of the bench, though this is not absolute. Certain body types are more suited for particular positions, and left-handed players are especially coveted on the right-hand side of the field, allowing teams to launch 2-sided attacks.

Offense


The offensive positions include: one center (a.k.a. two-meter offense, 2-meters, hole set, set, hole man, bucket, pit player or pit-man), two wings (located on or near the 2-meter), two drivers (also called "flats," located on or near the 5-meter), and one "point" (usually just behind the 5 meter), positioned farthest from the goal. The wings, drivers and point are often called the perimeter players; while the hole-set directs play. There is a typical numbering system for these positions in U.S. NCAA men's division one polo. Beginning with the offensive wing to the opposing goalies right side is called one. The flat in a counter clockwise from one is called two. Moving along in the same direction the point player is three, the next flat is four, the final wing is five, and the hole set is called six.

The most basic positional set up is known as a 3–3, so called because there are two lines in front of the opponent's goal. Another set up, used more by professional teams, is known as an "arc," umbrella, or mushroom; perimeter players form the shape of an arc around the goal, with the hole set as the handle or stalk. Yet another option for offensive set is called a 4–2 or double hole; there are two center forward offensive players in front of the goal. Double hole is most often used in "man up" situations, or when the defense has only one skilled hole D, or to draw in a defender and then pass out to a perimeter player for a shot ("kick out").

The center sets up in front of the opposing team's goalie and scores the most individually (especially during lower level play where flats do not have the required strength to effectively shoot from outside or to penetrate and then pass to teammates like the point guard
Point guard
Point guard , also called the play maker or "the ball-handler", is one of the standard positions in a regulation basketball game. A point guard has perhaps the most specialized role of any position – essentially, he is expected to run the team's offense by controlling the ball and making sure that...

 in basketball). The center's position nearest to the goal allows explosive shots from close-range ("step-out" or "roll-out", "sweep," or backhand shots).

Another, albeit less common offense (violation), is the motion offense in which two "weak-side" (to the right of the goal for right-handed players) perimeter players set up as a wing and a flat. The remaining four players swim in square pattern in which a player swims from the point to the hole and then out to the strong side wing. The wing moves to the flat and the flat to the point. The weak side wing and flat then control the tempo of play and try to make passes into the player driving towards the center who can then either shoot or pass. This form of offense is used when no dominate hole set is available, or the hole defense is too strong. It is also seen much more often in women's water polo where teams may lack a player of sufficient size or strength to set up in 50-p0357][p[tujpo3[pot7=-0p9
the center. The best advantage to this system is it makes man-coverage much more difficult for the defender and allows the offense to control the game tempo better once the players are "set up." The main drawback is this constant motion can be very tiring as well as somewhat predictable as to where the next pass is going to go.

Defense


Defensive positions are often the same positionally, but just switched from offense to defense. For example, the center forward or hole set, who directs the attack on offense, on defense is known as "hole D" ( a.k.a. set guard, hole guard, hole check, pit defense or two-meter defense), and guards the opposing team's center forward (also called the hole). Defense can be played man-to-man
Man-to-man defense
Man-to-man defense is a type of defensive tactic used in American football, association football, and basketball in which each player is assigned to defend and follow the movements of a single player on offense. Often, a player guards his counterpart , but a player may be assigned to guard a...

 or in zones
Zone defense
Zone defense is a type of defense, used in team sports, which is the alternative to man-to-man defense; instead of each player guarding a corresponding player on the other team, each defensive player is given an area known as a "zone" to cover....

, such as a 2–4 (four defenders along the goal line). It can also be played as a combination of the two in what is known as an "M drop" defense, in which the point defender moves away ("sloughs off") his man into a zone in order to better defend the center position. In this defense, the two wing defenders split the area furthest from the goal, allowing them a clearer lane for the counter-attack if their team recovers the ball.

Goalie


The goalkeeper
Goalkeeper
In many team sports which involve scoring goals, a goalkeeper is a designated player charged with directly preventing the opposing team from scoring by intercepting shots at goal...

 is generally one of the more challenging positions not only in the sport of water polo, but in any sport. A goalie has to be able to jump out of the water, using little more than one's core and legs, and hold the vertical position without sinking into the water, all while tracking and anticipating a shot. The goal is 2.8 m2 in face area; the goalie should also be a master of fast, effective lateral movement in the water as well as lightning fast lunges out of the water to block a shot.
Another key job that the goalkeeper is responsible for is guiding and informing his or her defense of imposing threats and gaps in the defense, and making helpful observations to identify a gap in the defense that the defenders may or can not see. The goalkeeper is also the "quarterback", as he or she usually begins the offensive play. It is not unusual for a goalie to make the assisting pass to a goal on a break away.

The goalkeeper is given several privileges above those of the other players, but only if he or she is within the five meter area in front of his or her goal:
  • The ability to punch the ball with a clenched fist.
  • The ability to touch the ball with two hands.
  • The ability to touch the bottom of the pool. (Pool depth permitting - most competitions state the pool has to be at least 2 meters deep)


In general, a foul that would cause an ejection of a field player might only bring on a five meter shot on the goalie.
The goalkeeper also has one limitation that other players do not have: he or she cannot cross the half-distance line.
Also, if a goalie pushes the ball under water, it is not a turnover like with field players. It is a penalty shot, also called a 5-meter shot, or simply, a "5-meter".

Starting play of each of the quarters (usually four without overtime)



At the start of each period, teams line up on their own goal line. Three players go to both sides of the goal; the goalkeeper starts in the goal. At the referee's whistle, both teams swim to midpoint of the field (known as the sprint or the swim-off); the referee drops the ball near the side of the pool (in American water polo). In International competition the ball is placed in the middle of the pool and is supported with a floating ring. The first team to recover the ball becomes the attacker until a goal is scored or the defenders recover the ball. After a goal is scored, the teams line up anywhere within their halves of play, but usually along the midpoint of the pool. Play resumes when the team not scoring the goal puts the ball in play by passing it backwards to a teammate.

Advancing the ball


When the offense takes possession of the ball, the strategy is to advance the ball down the field of play and to score a goal. Players can move the ball by throwing it to a teammate or swimming with the ball in front of them ("dribbling
Dribbling
In sports, dribbling refers to the maneuvering of a ball around a defender through short skillful taps or kicks with either the legs , hands , stick or swimming strokes...

"). If an attacker uses his arm to push away a defending player and free up space for a pass or shot, the referee will rule a turnover and the defense will take possession of the ball. If an attacker advances inside the 2-meter line without the ball or before the ball is inside the 2-meter area, he is ruled off side and the ball is turned over to the defense. This is often overlooked if the attacker is well to the side of the pool or when the ball is at the other side of the pool.

Setting the ball


The key to the offense is to accurately pass (or "set") the ball into the center forward or hole set, positioned directly in front of the goal (the hole). Any field player may throw the hole set a "wet pass." A wet pass is one that hits the water just outside of the hole set's reach. A dry pass may also be used. This is where the hole set receives the ball directly in his hand and then attempts a shot at the cage. This pass is much more difficult because if the pass is not properly caught, the officials will be likely to call an offensive foul resulting in a change of ball possession. The hole set attempts to take possession of the ball [after a wet pass], to shoot at the goal, or to draw a foul from his defender. A minor foul is called if his defender (called the "hole D") attempts to impede movement before the hole set has possession. The referee indicates the foul with one short whistle blow and points one hand to the spot of the foul and the other hand in the direction of the attack of the team to whom the free throw has been awarded. The hole set then has a "reasonable amount of time" (typically about three seconds) to re-commence play by making a free pass to one of the other players. The defensive team cannot hinder the hole set until the free throw has been taken, but the hole set cannot shoot a goal once the foul has been awarded until the ball has been played by at least one other player. If the hole set attempts a goal without the free throw, the goal is not counted and the defense takes possession of the ball, unless the shot is made outside the 5-meter line. As soon as the hole set has a free pass, the other attacking players attempt to swim (or drive) away from their defenders towards the goal. The players at the flat position will attempt to set a screen (also known as a pick) for the driver. If a driver gets free from a defender, the player calls for the pass from the hole set and attempts a shot at the goal.


Man up (6 on 5)


If a defender interferes with a free throw, holds or sinks an attacker who is not in possession or splashes water into the face of an opponent, the defensive player is excluded from the game for twenty seconds (informally called a 'kicked out' or an ejection). The attacking team typically positions 4 players on the 2 meter line, and 2 players on 5 meter line (4–2), passing the ball around until an open player attempts a shot. Other formations include a 3–3 (two lines of three attackers each) or arc (attackers make an arc in front of the goal and one offensive player sits in the 'hole' or 'pit' in front of the goal). The five defending players try to pressure the attackers, block shots and prevent a goal being scored for the 20 seconds while they are a player down. The other defenders can only block the ball with one hand to help the goalie. The defensive player is allowed to return immediately if the offense scores, or if the defense recovers the ball before the twenty seconds expires.

Five meter penalty



If a defender commits a major foul within the five meter area that prevents a likely goal, the attacking team is awarded a penalty throw or shot. An attacking player lines up on the five meter line in front of the opposing goal. No other player may be in front of him or within 2 meters of his position. The defending goalkeeper must be between the goal posts. The referee signals with a whistle and by lowering his arm, and the player taking the penalty shot must immediately throw the ball with an uninterrupted motion toward the goal, no pumping or faking is permitted. The shooter’s body can not at any time cross the 5 meter line until after the ball is released. If the shooter carries his body over the line and shoots the result is a turn over. If the shot does not score and the ball stays in play than the play continues. Penalty shots are often successful.

Scoring


A goal is scored if the ball completely passes between the goal posts and is underneath the crossbar. If a shot bounces off a goal post back into the field of play, the ball is rebounded by the players and the shot clock is reset. If the shot goes outside the goal and on to the deck (outside the field of play) then the ball is automatically recovered by the defense. If the goalie, however, is the last to touch the ball before it goes out of play behind the goal line, or if a defender purposely sends the ball out, then the offense receives the ball at the two meter line for a corner throw or "two meter" much like a corner kick
Corner kick
A corner kick is a method of restarting play in a game of association football. It was first devised in Sheffield under the Sheffield Rules 1867...

 in soccer or football. When the goalie blocks a shot, the defense may gain control of the ball, and make a long pass to a teammate who stayed on his offensive end of the pool when the rest of his team was defending. This is called cherry-picking or sea gulling.

Overtime


FINA
If the score is tied at the end of regulation play, two overtime
Overtime (sports)
Overtime or extra time is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring a game to a decision and avoid declaring the match a tie or draw. In most sports, this extra period is only played if the game is required to have a clear winner, as in single-elimination...

 periods of three minutes each are played. If the tie is not broken after two overtime periods, a penalty shootout
Penalty shootout
The shootout is a method of determining a winner in sports matches that would have otherwise been drawn or tied. The rules for penalty shootouts vary between sports and even different competitions; however, the usual form is similar to penalty shots in that a single player takes one shot on goal...

 will determine the winner. Five players and a goalkeeper are chosen by the coaches of each team. A player cannot be chosen if he or she was ejected three times during the match. Players shoot from the 5 meter line alternately at either end of the pool in turn until all five have taken a shot. If the score is still tied, the same players shoot alternately until one team misses and the other scores. Overtime periods are common in tournament play because of the high level of skill of these superior teams.
NCAA
Differing from FINA rules, after the two three-minute overtime periods in American college varsity water polo, the teams play three-minute sudden death periods until a team scores a goal and wins the game.
NFHS
American High School water polo plays overtime as a "sudden death" period of a specified time limit. If this results in a tie, the teams engage in a shootout as described in FINA rules above.

Defense strategy



On defense, the players work to regain possession of the ball and to prevent a goal in their own net. The defense attempts to knock away or steal the ball from the offense or to commit a foul in order to stop an offensive player from taking a goal shot. The defender attempts to stay between the attacker and the goal, a position known as inside water.

Advantage rule


If an offensive player, such as the hole set (center forward), has possession of the ball in front of the goal, the defensive player tries to steal the ball or to keep the center from shooting or passing. If the defender cannot achieve these aims, he may commit a foul intentionally. The hole set then is given a free throw but must pass off the ball to another offensive player, rather than making a direct shot at the goal. Defensive perimeter players may also intentionally cause a minor foul and then move toward the goal, away from their attacker, who must take a free throw. This technique, called sloughing, allows the defense an opportunity to double-team the hole set and possibly steal the inbound pass. The referee may refrain from declaring a foul, if in his judgment this would give the advantage to the offender's team. This is known as the Advantage Rule.

Fouls


Ordinary fouls occur when a player impedes or otherwise prevents the free movement of an opponent who is not holding the ball. The most common is when a player reaches over the shoulder of an opponent in order to knock the ball away while in the process hindering the opponent. Offensive players may be called for a foul by pushing off a defender to provide space for a pass or shot. The referee indicates the foul with one short whistle blow and points one hand in the direction of the attacking team (standing roughly in line with the position of the foul), who retain possession. The attacker must make a free pass without undue delay to another offensive player. If the foul has been committed outside the 5-meter line, the offensive player may also attempt a direct shot on goal, but the shot must be taken immediately and in one continuous motion. Because of this rule the hole set will often set up at or beyond the five meter mark hoping to get a foul, shoot, and score. If the offensive player fakes a shot and then shoots the ball, it is considered a turnover. If the same defender repetitively makes minor fouls, referees will exclude that player for 20 seconds. To avoid an ejection, the hole defender may foul twice, and then have a wing defender switch with him so that the defense can continue to foul the hole man without provoking an exclusion foul. The rule was altered to allow repeated fouls without exclusions, but is often still enforced by referees.

Major fouls (exclusion fouls) are committed when the defensive player holds, sinks or pulls back the offensive player away from the ball before the offensive player has had a chance to take possession of the ball. This includes dunking (sinking in FINA rules), intentional splashing, pulling back, swimming on the other player's back,stopping the other player from swimming or otherwise preventing the offensive player from preserving his advantage. A referee signals a major foul by two short whistle bursts and indicates that the player must leave the field of play and move to the penalty area for twenty seconds. The referee will first point to the player who commits the foul and will blow the whistle, then they will point to the ejection corner and blow the whistle again. The player must move to the penalty area without impacting the natural game play. If the player does not leave the field of play, the player will be kicked out for the remaining time of the game with substitution. The remaining five defenders, to cover the six attackers on a man up situation, usually set up in a zone defense in front of their goal. The attacking team can expect to score, by adopting a 4–2 or 3–3 formation, and moving the goalkeeper out of position. A player that has been ejected three times must sit out the whole match with substitution, much like the six personal fouls in basketball.

Drawing the ejection (forcing defense to commit a major foul) occurs when an offensive player takes advantage of a defensive player by using body position and/or grabbing on their wrists to make it appear as though the defensive player is committing a "major foul", therefore resulting in the ejection of that player and gaining a 6 on 5 advantage. Another common way to draw an ejection is by staggering stroke while being chased to make it appear as though the defensive player is pulling the swimmer back.

Brutality fouls A brutality is called when a player kicks or strikes an opponent or official with malicious intent. The strike must make contact with the player for a brutality to be called, and must be with intent to injure. Otherwise the player is punished with a misconduct foul, with substitution allowed after 20 seconds or a change of position. The player who is charged with a brutality is excluded from the game for 4 minutes, and the team is forced to play with one less player than the other team for that duration. In addition to the exclusion a penalty shot is also awarded to the opposing team, if the foul occurs during actual play. Previously, the team who was charged with a brutality would be required to play the remainder of the game with one less player, similar to a red card awarded in football. All brutalities have to be reported by officials and further actions may be taken by the relevant governing body. These actions could include more games added on to the one game suspension.

A misconduct foul is an unsportsmanlike act. For unacceptable language, violent or persistent fouls, taking part in the game after being excluded or showing disrespect, a player is ejected for the remainder of the game with substitution after 20 seconds has elapsed. There are two kinds of misconduct fouls that a player can incur. If a player physically assaults another player and the referee deems it not to be severe enough to warrant a charge of brutality, the lesser charge being Misconduct-Violence can be applied. If the incident does not involve physical (or attempted) contact, the referee can impose a Misconduct charge. In most competitions Misconduct-Violence carries heavier sanctions than Misconduct.

A penalty shot or 5-meter is awarded when a major foul is committed inside the 5-meter line and a probable goal was prevented by the foul. This is usually awarded if the defensive player in on another players back. This usually means that the offensive player is in front of and facing the goal. The penalty shot is attempted from 5 meters. Any defenders flanking the player taking the shot must be no closer than 2 meters. The goalkeeper must be on the goal line. In high school rules, the goalie must keep their hips even with the goal line. They are allowed to lean their upper body over in order to kick up higher. The referee blows the whistle and the player must shoot immediately.

Goalkeeper


Even with good backup from the rest of the defenders, stopping attacks can prove very difficult if the goalkeeper remains in the middle of the goal. The most defensible position is along a semicircular line connecting the goalposts and extending out in the center. Depending on the ball carrier's location, the goalie is positioned along that semicircle roughly a meter out of the goal to reduce the attacker's shooting angle. The goalkeeper stops using his or her hands to tread water once the opponent enters at about the 7 meter mark and starts treading water much harder, elevating the body, arms ready for the block. Finally the goalie tries to block the ball down, which is often hard for the longer reaches, but prevents an offensive rebound and second shot. As is the case with other defensive players, a goalkeeper who aggressively fouls an attacker in position to score can be charged with a penalty shot for the other team. The goalkeeper can also be ejected for twenty seconds if a major foul is committed. Also inside the five meter mark, the goalie can swing at the ball with a closed fist without being penalized.

Ball handling skills



When passing or shooting, the hips of the player should line up in the direction in which the ball is thrown. When passing, shooting or receiving a ball, the player rotates the whole of the upper body, using egg-beater which is the circling of feet under water to keep the lower body in the same position, then releasing the ball with hips lined up in the direction of the throw. For extra accuracy and speed when releasing the ball, a player uses body momentum to follow through at the end of the throw.

Passing


There are two basic passes in water polo: the "dry" pass and the "wet" pass. Only one hand may come in contact with the ball at any time. When passing to a field position player, a dry pass (meaning the ball does not touch the water) is thrown a few inches above the head of the catching player and to the left or right side depending on the receiver's dominant hand. The dry pass allows for optimal speed when passing from player to player, who do not have to pick the ball up out of the water to throw. A fluid motion between catching and throwing is the goal. An expert thrower's hand creates back spin, making the ball easier to catch. In order for the player to catch the ball above their head, they must egg beater harder which brings their body higher out of the water.

The wet pass is a deliberate pass into the water. This is usually done when making a pass into the hole set. To make a successful wet pass, the ball lands just out of reach of the offensive player and defensive team. The hole set can then lunge towards the ball and out of the water to make a shot or pass. This is a very effective offensive strategy if a team has a strong hole set. The only thing the passer must look out for is a possible double-team on the hole set. If that happens, the player must look for an open player or pass the ball closer to the hole set to avoid a turnover.
Also there are about three types of set goals. First is the sweep. The sweep shot is where an outside rim player passes the ball wet into set. Then the set player will reach out for the ball while his/her hips are pointing towards the goal; the player will then come out with their arm straight will aim towards the high corner of the net and fire the ball.

Shooting


Any part of the body can be used to score a goal except for a clenched fist.

Shots usually succeed when the goalie is out of position. At long range from the goal, shots are easy for goalkeepers to stop. If a shot is taken at a distance it is best to shoot cross cage and into one of the four corners
(SP), but closer ones are very difficult. Close-range shots tend to be harder to come by (since players close to the goalpost are usually under very great pressure), but in these situations usually a soft tap-in, with or without a feign, is enough to beat the goalkeeper. Close-range shots may come from the center-forward in open play, utilizing either quick backhand-shots, sweep-shots, layout or other creative shooting positions.

There are three basic outside water shooting techniques. The first is a straight forward power shot. Top level water polo players can generate ball speeds between 50–90 km/h (30–56 mph). The player propels his body out of the water and uses his momentum to shoot the ball into the net. Though very powerful, this shot requires precise targeting. If the shot is off the mark, the ball will either be blocked by the goalie or rebound off the goal post. Another shooting technique is the bounce shot or skip shot. Instead of shooting directly into the net, the player throws the ball at an angle directly into the water. If done properly and with enough force, the ball will bounce off the water and into the goal. The bounce shot usually takes the goalie by surprise. But, if done from far enough away the goalie can plan to block the ball low on the water instead of bringing the hands up in the air. Alternately, the ball can be thrown sidearm with heavy backspin. This will cause it to slide along the surface of the water. The lob shot is high arching shot intended to pass over the goalie's hands and under the crossbar. It is most effective taken from an angle on either side of the goal post; this provides a large area behind the goalie into which the lob can drop on its downward arc. This shot confuses the goalie and usually forces the goalie to kick up out of the water too early and miss the block. If the goalie is to block the shot, they have to lunge upwards and back, stretching their opposite arm in an attempt to meet the ball's lobbing trajectory.

Outside water shots require a player to cease swimming, and usually occur outside the 2 meter zone. Players may perform an inside water shot, also known as a "wet shot". "Wet shots" are shot from water level by players who are currently in control of the ball. Wet shots are performed when the player has open water between him and the goal because the defender is behind him or her. A "wet shot" is valuable as the player does not have to stop and lift the ball up for a shot, making it easy for the trailing defender to steal it. Instead, the player can keep the ball in front of them while performing one of the following shots: The t-shot or bat shot is executed by scooping the ball with the non-dominant hand, "loading" the ball to the dominant hand, and propelling the ball forward. The pop shot is a quick shot executed by cupping the ball with the dominant hand from underneath the ball and releasing it, usually into a corner of the goal. This shot is timed with a player's swimming stroke, and should flow comfortably from the dribble. Other inside water shots include the screw shot, which can likewise be executed directly from the stroke, and a spring shot where the player pushes the ball slightly into the water (but avoiding a "ball under" foul) and then allows a sudden release. While beginning players will have difficulty integrating these shots into their stroke, resulting in weaker shots as compared to outside water shots, inside water shots by experienced players have sufficient force to skip past the goalkeeper. One thing the shooter must watch is how close they get to the goalie because they can come out of the goal and take the ball.

Another popular shot is the back hand. It is usually used by the 2-meter offense player. When the ball is set the hole keeps it in front of them until they reach for it and shooting it behind them while looking away from the goal. This shot is a hard one to make; their arm and elbow have to be in a perfect position in order for the ball to go towards the net, as the shot is taken "blindly". The center defender is neutralized in this shot, and the goalie is usually too close to the action and has no time to respond.

Baulking (a kind of pump fake a.k.a. hezie or hesitation shot, often referred to in the UK as; 'dummying') is effective when using an outside water shot. The player gets in the position to shoot but stops halfway through. This puts the defense on edge, causes the defenders to stand lower and lower in the water as their legs fatigue, and partially immobilizes the goalie by wasting his blocking lunge. This can be repeated until the player decides to release the ball. A good baulk takes a great amount of hand/arm and leg strength to maintain a high position in the water and the ball aloft in the shooting stance. The goalkeeper is particularly vulnerable to baulking as he must extend both his arms wide out of the water, which is intended to make him/her appear bigger and more imposing, thus, more difficult to beat. However, this places a massive strain on the goalie's legs, which are working in a rapid eggbeater motion. This causes the keeper to tire quicker as it is assumed a shot is imminent, thereby making them easier to beat.

Judging exactly when to shoot can be tricky, as a blocked or a wide shot results in a turnover. This can be very risky in some situations, for example when a team has gained an advantage by swimming a counter attack. A failed shot in such a situation turns the advantage into a severe disadvantage, as the opponents left behind find themselves in numerical superiority and are thus presented with an excellent opportunity to score.

International players will typically have the best shots, with well known players such as Conor Johnston and Boris Jakovic being renowned for their shooting ability. International players need the best shots as defenses can become so tight and well worked players are often left with no other option than to shot, therefore outside shots make up the majority of goals within professional water polo.

Swimming with the ball


Swimming with the ball might be the easiest way of advancing the ball down the pool when no other teammates are open for a pass. When swimming with the ball, it is important that the player keeps their elbows high in order to stop opposing players from gaining possession of the ball. Also, the player must keep their head out of the water to see the rest of the pool and make the appropriate play. The ball should ride in the wake that comes off the chest of the player and they should use their arms to keep the ball in front of them. Players can also hold the ball in their hand and swim backstroke.

Injuries


Water polo is a contact sport, with little protective gear besides swim suits and caps with ear protectors. Among the most common serious injuries are those affecting the head and shoulders. Those induced to the head are usually caused by elbows or the ball itself. One case would be when the defense guards the offense, the defense are right behind offense trying to steal the ball or trying to stop the ball from scoring or being passed. So as a result of the offense trying to shake off the defense to either score or pass the ball, a lot of elbowing and forceful removal from the defensive grab is needed. Many times the head being the main body part out of the water is injured in such a way. Many times these injuries are intentional and can sometimes anger many players to take revenge. Another common injury would be in the shoulder. Throwing or shooting the ball with a "cold arm" can strain the shoulder if not warmed up properly. Also occasionally, the defensive player will sometimes pull the arm to foul the offensive player. This can also injure the shoulder. With the arm, fingers are also usually harmed, due to not catching the ball right or blocking the ball. Many sprained fingers or on a more serious scale, fractured fingers has resulted from water polo. One of the most injured player on the field are the goalies. They have to endure the ball thrown at them at a fast speed and are expected to either catch it or "throw it down" to prevent the ball from going into the goal and scoring. When blocking shots the ball can hit the fingers instead of the whole hand causing fractures and strains. Goalies have also been known to suffer nosebleeds. Other injuries take place underwater as many things can not be seen from above the surface and not much padding is used to protect the players.

Sunburn is a common minor injury. The irritation of the sunburn can be restrictive because of the sheer amount of movement involved in the sport. Players will often neglect applying sunscreen as this will impair the player's ability to grip the ball and rapidly deteriorate the ball's physical grip due to the oily nature of sunscreen. Having large amounts of sunscreen on during an official match is banned by FINA
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

 and most other state/national governing bodies.

Eye irritation from pool chlorine is also common because players cannot wear goggles. They are regarded as a safety hazard because they may cause cuts, bruises or suction injuries during player-to-player contact or if the player is hit in the face by the ball.

Game variations



Inner tube water polo
Inner tube water polo
Inner tube water polo is a variation of the sport water polo with the important difference that players, excluding the goalkeeper, are required to float in inflatable inner tubes. By floating in an inner tube, players experience less contact and expend less energy than traditional water polo...

 is a style of water polo in which players, excluding the goalkeeper
Goalkeeper
In many team sports which involve scoring goals, a goalkeeper is a designated player charged with directly preventing the opposing team from scoring by intercepting shots at goal...

, are required to float in inner tubes. By floating in an inner tube players expend less energy than traditional water polo players, not having to tread water. This allows casual players to enjoy water polo without undertaking the intense conditioning
Conditioning
Conditioning may refer to:* In psychology, the process of performing some particular action to directly influence an individual's learning; see education...

 required for conventional water polo.

Surf polo, another variation of water polo, is played on surfboard
Surfboard
A surfboard is an elongated platform used in the sport of surfing. Surfboards are relatively light, but are strong enough to support an individual standing on them while riding a breaking wave...

s. First played on the beaches of Waikiki
Waikiki
Waikiki is a neighborhood of Honolulu, in the City and County of Honolulu, on the south shore of the island of Oahu, in Hawaii. Waikiki Beach is the shoreline fronting Waikīkī....

 in Hawaii in the 1930s and 1940s, it is credited to Louis Kahanamoku, Duke Kahanamoku
Duke Kahanamoku
Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian swimmer, actor, lawman, early beach volleyball player and businessman credited with spreading the sport of surfing. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming.-Early years:The name "Duke" is not a title, but a given name...

's brother.

Canoe polo
Canoe polo
Canoe Polo is a competitive ball sport played on water, in a defined "field", between two teams of 5 players, each in a kayak...

 or kayak polo is one of the eight disciplines of canoeing pursued in the UK, known simply as "polo" by its aficionados. Polo combines paddling and ball handling skills with a contact team game, where tactics and positional play are as important as the speed and fitness of the individual athletes.

Water polo equipment


Little player equipment is needed to play water polo. Items required in water polo include:
  • Ball: A water polo ball
    Water polo ball
    A water polo ball is a ball used in water polo and canoe polo, usually characterized by a bright yellow colour and ease of gripability, so as to allow it to be held with one hand despite its large size.-Standard water polo ball characteristics:...

     is constructed of waterproof material to allow it to float on the water. The cover is textured to give players additional grip. The size of the ball is different for men's, women's and junior games.

  • Caps: A water polo cap
    Water polo cap
    A Water polo cap is a piece of headgear used in water polo.The caps are used to protect the ears from injury possibly caused by a water polo ball hitting the ears at high speed. They are also used to identify the player, using the number on the cap....

     is used to protect the players' heads and ears, and to make them identifiable from afar. Home team field players wear numbered white caps; Visiting team field players wear numbered dark-colored or black caps. Both starting goalkeepers wear red caps (sometimes quartered), numbered "1" (substitute goalies' caps are numbered either "13" for FINA international play or "15" for NCAA play) Caps are fitted with ear protectors.
  • Goals: Two goals are needed in order to play water polo. These can either be put on the side of the pool, or in the pool using floaters.
  • Mouthguard: The use of a mouthguard
    Mouthguard
    A mouthguard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips and gums...

     is recommended due to the extreme amount of contact involved with water polo.
  • Swimwear
    Competitive swimwear
    Competitive swimwear generally refers to the Swimsuit, apparel, equipment and accessories used in the aquatic sports of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, triathlon and water polo.- Brands :Female Swimsuits*Racerback*Kneeskin*Bodyskin*LZR Racer...

    : Male water polo players wear swim briefs
    Swim briefs
    A swim brief, or racing brief, refers to any briefs style male swimsuit such as those worn in competitive swimming and diving. The popularity of the Australian Speedo brand racing brief has led to the use of its name to refer to any racing brief, regardless of the maker...

     or trunks. Female players must wear a one-piece swimsuit
    One-piece swimsuit
    A one-piece swimsuit is a usually skin-tight one-piece swimsuit worn by women and girls when swimming in the sea or in a swimming pool, or for any activity in the sun, such as sun bathing. The one-piece swimsuit usually covers a female's torso...

    . Suit-grabbing fouls are common, so players often wear tight-fitting suits, and layer on several suits at a time for additional security. Many swimwear labels also sell specialized water polo suits that feature reinforced stitching and tougher fabric. Most female water polo suits do not have open backs, but zip securely up the back so as to not have straps that can be easily grabbed.

History


The history of water polo as a team sport began as a demonstration of strength and swimming skill in late 19th century England and Scotland, where water sports and racing exhibitions were a feature of county fairs and festivals. Men's water polo was among the first team sports introduced at the modern Olympic games in 1900. Water polo is now popular in many countries around the world, notably Europe (particularly in Serbia, Russia, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, Greece and Hungary), the United States, Canada and Australia. The present-day game involves teams of seven players (plus up to six substitutes), with a water polo ball
Water polo ball
A water polo ball is a ball used in water polo and canoe polo, usually characterized by a bright yellow colour and ease of gripability, so as to allow it to be held with one hand despite its large size.-Standard water polo ball characteristics:...

 similar in size to a soccer ball but constructed of waterproof nylon.

The rules of water polo were originally developed in the late nineteenth century in Great Britain by William Wilson
William Wilson (aquatics)
William Wilson was a late 19th-century British journalist, swimming instructor and coach, and contributor to the scientific techniques behind competitive swimming...

. Wilson is believed to have been the First Baths Master of the Arlington Baths Club
Arlington Baths Club
The Arlington Baths Club is a nineteenth century baths in Glasgow, Scotland. It was not formed as a "Swimming Club" in the meaning today and the oldest swimming club in England, and therefore probably in the UK is Brighton Swimming Club formed in 1860...

 in Glasgow. The first games of 'aquatic football' were played at the Arlington in the late 1800s (the Club was founded in 1870), with a ball
Water polo ball
A water polo ball is a ball used in water polo and canoe polo, usually characterized by a bright yellow colour and ease of gripability, so as to allow it to be held with one hand despite its large size.-Standard water polo ball characteristics:...

 constructed of India rubber. This "water rugby" came to be called "water polo" based on the English pronunciation of the Balti
Balti language
Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Ladakh. Baltistan, before 1948, was part of Ladakh province. The Balti language is a dialect of the Ladakhi language, a form of Tibetan. It is mutually intelligible with Ladakhi proper and Burig...

 word for ball, pulu. Early play allowed brute strength, wrestling and holding opposing players underwater to recover the ball; the goalie stood outside the playing area and defended the goal by jumping in on any opponent attempting to score by placing the ball on the deck.

Major competitions


Men's water polo at the Olympics
Water polo at the Summer Olympics
Water polo has been part of the Summer Olympics program since the second games, in 1900. A women's water polo tournament was introduced for the 2000 Summer Olympics...

 was the first team sport introduced at the 1900 games
Water polo at the 1900 Summer Olympics
At the 1900 Summer Olympics, a water polo tournament was contested.8 teams entered the water polo event, with one withdrawing before competition. The tournament was played in a single-elimination format, with no playoff for third place. Thus, four of the seven competing teams won...

, along with cricket, rugby, football, polo (with horses), rowing and tug of war. Women's water polo became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 after political protests from the Australian women's team
Australia women's national water polo team
The Australian national women's water polo team represents Australia in women's international water polo competitions and is controlled by Australian Water Polo Incorporated. It is currently organised into the Asia/Oceania regional group.-History:...

.
The most famous water polo match in history is probably the 1956 Summer Olympics
1956 Summer Olympics
The 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which could not be held in Australia due to quarantine regulations...

 semi-final match between Hungary and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. As the athletes left for the games, the Hungarian revolution began, and the Soviet army crushed the uprising. The Hungarians defeated the Soviets 4–0 before the game was called off in the final minute to prevent angry Hungarians in the crowd reacting to Valentin Prokopov punching Ervin Zador
Ervin Zador
Ervin Zádor is a Hungarian retired water polo player and former member of the Hungarian national team.-Career:At the age of 21 Zádor represented Hungary at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. He played four matches and scored five goals.The Soviet Union and Hungary fielded competitive water...

.

Every 2 to 4 years since 1973, a men's Water Polo World Championship
Water polo world championship
The FINA World Water Polo Championship is an international water polo tournament, currently held every two years as part of the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Currently the reigning champions are Italy in men's and Greece in women's competition.-History:...

 is organized within the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Women's water polo was added in 1986. A second tournament series, the FINA Water Polo World Cup
FINA Water Polo World Cup
The FINA Water Polo World Cup is an international water polo competition among the top men's national water polo teams of the members of FINA. It was established in 1979 and was held every two years, but it has been contested every four years since 2002....

, has been held every other year since 1979. In 2002, FINA organized the sport's first international league, the FINA Water Polo World League
FINA Water Polo World League
The FINA Water Polo World League began in 2002 to capitalize on increased worldwide popularity of water polo created by recent Olympic Games, especially in Europe, North America and Australia. Competition between the world’s best male players began on national teams in a season format with a prize...

.

There is also a European Water Polo Championship
European Water Polo Championship
The European Water Polo Championship is a sport competition for national water polo teams, currently held biannually and organized by the Ligue Européenne de Natation , the governing European aquatics federation. There are both men's and women's competitions.The first European Water Polo...

 that is held every other year.

Professional water polo is played in many southern and eastern European countries like Serbia, Croatia, Russia, Italy, Spain, etc. with the LEN Euroleague
LEN Euroleague
The LEN Euroleague and the Women's Champions' Cup are the premier European water polo club competitions run by the Ligue Européenne de Natation...

 tournament played amongst the best teams.

Water polo federations, teams, and clubs

  • NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship
    NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship
    The NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship has existed since the 1969 season.No school from outside the state of California has ever surpassed third place...

  • NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship
    NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship
    The NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship has existed since the 2001 season. Three conferences have teams competing in women's water polo, the Collegiate Water Polo Association, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference...

  • U.S. Intercollegiate Women's Water Polo Championship (pre-NCAA)
  • Serbia men's national water polo team
    Serbia men's national water polo team
    The Serbia men's national water polo team represents Serbia in international water polo competitions and is controlled by the Water Polo Association of Serbia...

  • Russia men's national water polo team
    Russia men's national water polo team
    The Russia men's national water polo team is the representative for Russia in international men's water polo.-Olympic Games:*1996 — 5th place*2000 — Silver medal*2004 — Bronze medal*2008 — Didn't participate-World Championship:...

  • Greece men's national water polo team
    Greece men's national water polo team
    The Greece men's national water polo team represents Greece in international water polo competitions.- Olympic Games :Greece men's national water polo team participated 14 times at the Olympic Games...

  • Greece women's national water polo team
    Greece women's national water polo team
    The Greece women's national water polo team represents Greece in international women's water polo competitions. Since the 2000s, Greece have emerged as one of the leading powers in the world, with their most precious achievements being the silver medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2010...


Water polo rules


Further reading