Water polo ball

# Water polo ball

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Encyclopedia
A water polo ball is a ball
Ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

used in water polo
Water polo
Water polo is a team water sport. The playing team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper. The winner of the game is the team that scores more goals. Game play involves swimming, treading water , players passing the ball while being defended by opponents, and scoring by throwing into a...

and 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...

, 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

Ball weight is 400-450 gram
Gram
The gram is a metric system unit of mass....

s (14-16 ounces) and inflated to 90-97 kPa
Pascal (unit)
The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and tensile strength, named after the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It is a measure of force per unit area, defined as one newton per square metre...

(kilopascals) gauge pressure
Pressure measurement
Many techniques have been developed for the measurement of pressure and vacuum. Instruments used to measure pressure are called pressure gauges or vacuum gauges....

(13-14 psi
Pounds per square inch
The pound per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch is a unit of pressure or of stress based on avoirdupois units...

) for men and 83-90 kPa (12-13 psi) for women. Water polo balls come in two main sizes: a size 5 (68-71 cm
Centimetre
A centimetre is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one hundredth of a metre, which is the SI base unit of length. Centi is the SI prefix for a factor of . Hence a centimetre can be written as or — meaning or respectively...

in circumference), intended for use by men, and a size 4 (65-67 cm in circumference), intended for women. Smaller balls are sometimes used by juniors for "mini-polo," though these miniature balls do not typically come in standard sizes and are often coloured green.

## Development of the water polo ball

The modern game originated in the late 19th Century as a form of rugby football, played in rivers in England and Scotland, with a small 3 to 4 inch ball constructed of rubber imported from colonial plantations in India. 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. The original ball soon gave way to a football
Football
Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. The most popular of these sports worldwide is association football, more commonly known as just "football" or "soccer"...

(soccer ball), which allowed for passing and swimming above water with the ball. However, the leather football absorbed water and became extremely heavy, slippery and out-of-control when wet. In 1936, James R. ("Jimmy") Smith
James R. Smith
James R. Smith was an early 20th Century California water polo player and coach. He developed many of the modern rules which are used in competition today, including the use of the yellow rubberized ball adopted by FINA in 1956....

, California water polo coach and author of several books on water polo mechanics, developed a ball made with an inflatable bladder and a rubber fabric cover, which improved performance. The new ball was red, but by 1948 yellow was adopted for better visibility by spectators. It became the official FINA and Olympic ball in 1956.

## Recent changes to water polo balls

In the first half of 2005, 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...

allowed a change to the standard water polo ball used in official games. This change permitted a coloured middle stripe (blue, green, red, black, or yellow) with the normal yellow stripes flanking the coloured.

In May 2006, the NCAA and National Federation of State High School Associations
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...

Rules Committees announced a rule change allowing the colored balls to be used in all NCAA and NFHS sanctioned games. The current rule states that the water polo ball must be “yellow with black lines,” but new wording will allow for colored panels. Mikasa Sports
Mikasa Sports
Mikasa Sports is a sports equipment company based in Hiroshima, Japan.Their football, basketball, volleyball and handball are often used for official matches, games and competitions...

, manufacturer of the new colored ball, claims that the new ball benefits teams by making it easier for them to keep track of their balls, differentiating the women’s balls from the men’s and teaching proper rotation on the ball.

Unique designs and color combinations have been used to commemorate special competitions.