An Overview of Water Polo for Beginners

As the name states, water polo is a sport played in the water. The sport can be described as either soccer or basketball. However, water polo is a very competitive full-contact sport with seven players on each team. There are six players and one goalkeeper on each team, with only two teams playing at a time.

Water polo, just like soccer, determines the winner when one team scores more than the opposing team. Just like basketball, water polo is divided into four equal quarters. A water polo game lasts for about six to eight minutes, depending on whether the game is a stand-alone or a tournament match. Matches also have a 30–35 second shot clock.

The field players in water polo are not allowed to touch the ground while playing. Therefore, they use a specialized kick motion called eggbeater kick. This particular motion kick helps the players’ upper bodies to remain out of water. Also, it provides stability for the players to accurately pass or shoot the ball.

The only player who can touch the ground is the goalkeeper when the pool has a shallow end. On such rare occasions, the advantage is eliminated by raising the goal. The other six players play in three positions, wing (s), point, and center (hole set). The players can change positions to gain a shooting advantage over the other team.

Since all movements in water polo are by swimming, there is a punishment for players touching the ground. Any player who touches the ground causes the ball to be given over to the opposing team. The players are almost always in physical contact. Opposing players shove each other water to gain control of the ball.

Defenders always keep a single hand on the opposing player in defense. There are some pushes or kicks that are allowed in the game. The referees, however, control the physicality of the matches. For instance, pushing a player underwater is an illegal move and the use of goggles is restricted.

Overall, water polo is a sport that values teamwork among players, strategy, and regular exercise. All water polo players display excellent sportsmanship and coordination. Also, the sport requires incredible full-body strength to play.

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Based in Seal Beach, CA, Richard Foster is an attorney, author, and graduate instructor. For more, visit to stay up to date!

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Richard Foster

Richard Foster

Based in Seal Beach, CA, Richard Foster is an attorney, author, and graduate instructor. For more, visit to stay up to date!

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