Water Polo


The waterpolo is a kind of sport that is played in a pool where they are located teams of seven people with a ball float resembling a soccer ball. Originally the game was called ” soccer on the water “, and in fact it looks more like association football and basketball than polo, the name of the sport comes from an earlier form of the game in which players rode barrels painted like horses and hitting a ball with sticks . The object of the game is to score a goal by throwing or throwing the ball between theposts and under the crossbar of the defenders’ goal.


What is water polo?

Also known as water polo , it is a sports discipline that takes place inside a pool in which two teams compete whose objective is to score as many goals as possible against the rival.


What is water polo?

Water polo is a sport that is characterized by being a group sport , and that needs extreme agility , speed , strength and both strategic and mental intelligence to be played.


Water polo needs a team which consists of seven players and up to six substitutes . Each team wears blue or white and red caps for the goalkeepers, with a blue or white number one. The two referees have the final authority in each game; other officials include one or two timekeepers ; one or two clerks , who keep records of the many types of fouls, such as hugging or hitting an opponent; and two goal judges; and the main idea is to try to introduce the ball in the framework opponent to score a goal.


The history of water polo was born in the late 1800s . At that time it was called polo and it was practiced on beer kegs that were thrown into a river where players would ride on them and hit a ball made of leather with a mallet to score a point. The game was very similar to horse polo and over time the players began to immerse themselves in it, removing the barrels and playing directly with the ball, using their hands and feet.

In 1877, Scotsman William Wilson wrote the first basic rules of the game he called water polo. Over time, the game gradually developed in Europe and in 1900 it was played for the first time at the Paris Olympics , where the United Kingdom won the gold medal. In 1908 the international rules of water polo were created , thus continuing its spread throughout the world.

At present, water polo is regulated by the International Amateur Swimming Federation , founded in 1908, through its International Water Polo Committee , which issues the rules of the sport.

Who Invented Water Polo

Water polo was invented by William Wilson in 1877 and also created the rules for what he called water football at the time . In 1885, the UK Nautical Association recognized the game and expanded the rules that became the basis for international rules after the game spread throughout Europe , America and Australia .

How to play

The game takes place in a pool , where two teams face each other . The teams have six players and a goalkeeper . The match has four times of eight actual minutes each, with two-minute breaks. Each team can request three time-outs in each game and the third time-out is only requested in overtime.

Each team stands at its finish line . The ball falls in the center of the pool, and the water polo players swim to look for it, the team that owns the ball only has 30 seconds to reach the opposing goal . When a player keeps the ball for a longer time, the referee calls an ordinary foul . This is penalized by awarding a free kick to the other team, who must serve from where the foul was committed.


The technical fundamentals of water polo are the following:

  • Passing : this is the essence of the sport and can be forward, backhand, Swedish, tap, rectified and underhand passes.
  • Bicycle kick : the player must have a semi-sitting posture in the water with their knees apart and perform a coordinated circular movement with both legs.
  • Shot on target : from the bicycle kick position the player throws the ball over the head.
  • Ball dribble : allows the player to have a peripheral vision of where he is going.


The rules of water polo are as follows:

  • The referees and managers of the table should be out of the water and pool sides.
  • In the pool areas are marked for the correct location of the players and for the referees to apply the rules of fouls, shots and offside appropriately.
  • Players can only take the ball with one hand , the only one who can do so is the goalkeeper .
  • Each team is distinguished in the water by the color of the blue and white caps . Goalkeepers wear red caps.
  • Players cannot sink the ball into the water when it is in play, it is a foul.
  • You cannot lean on the edges of the pool when you are playing, it is a foul.
  • You cannot stand on the bottom of the pool or push off from it, it is also a fault.


The coach decides the places of his players and the following positions are usually used:

  • The buoy : it is occupied by the most muscular , agile player with more shooting power . It must be placed near the goal and its function is to finish the plays. It can be said that he is the organizer and plays with his back to the goal.
  • 1 and 5 : there are usually two , one on each side of the goal , and they must play with the buoy and try to be in a clear line with it.
  • 3: it  is located on the same line as the buoy but with a greater distance from the goal and must have good control of long passes.
  • 2 and 4 : they are placed in front of the sticks about 5 meters from the goal between the center and the ends. Their role is penetration and they must be technical and fast .
  • The goalkeeper : he has a different playing role, his training and physical qualities have to be different. In water polo the goalkeeper is a fundamental piece of the team.


The water polo categories are established by age and apply to both women and men:

  • Benjamin 9-10 years
  • Alevín 11-12 years
  • Infant 13-14 years
  • Cadet 15-16 years
  • Youth 17-18 years
  • Absolute +18 years
  • Masters +40 years


Some of the competitions that take place worldwide are the following:

  • Water polo championship at the Commonwealth games
  • European Water Polo Championship
  • World Water Polo Championships
  • Pan American Water Polo Championship
  • Pan American Women’s Water Polo Championship
  • South American Water Polo Championship
  • EAT Cup
  • Belgian Men’s Water Polo Cup
  • Greece Women’s Water Polo Cup


The technique in water polo is that motor execution that seeks maximum performance with minimum effort . You need prior mastery of swimming technique and mastering specific water polo movements . The player must practice assimilation swimming techniques , specific and some specific movements to dominate the positions . They should also practice how to move with the ball, how to control it and how to keep their body balanced .

Water polo pool

The pool type for international water polo competitions must be a minimum of 33.33 m or 34.83 mx 21.00 m, with a minimum depth of 2.00 m throughout the competition field. The dimensions of the competition field are 30 x 20 m for water polo male and 25 x20 m for female with a depth of 2.00 m.

Water polo ball

The water polo ball must be spherical in shape , provided with an air chamber with an automatic valve. The diameter of the ball must not be less than 68 cm or more than 71 cm. It must be made of waterproof material , without seams, or protrusions to prevent water from leaking, and finally, it must weigh between 400 gr. and 450 gr.


The equipment necessary to play water polo includes a rubber ball or ball, caps for the teams of different colors and that are not red, the goals that are two posts and must be painted white.

Famous players

Among the most famous players in the world we mention:

  • Manuel Estiarte is a Spanish player considered the best. He has participated in 6 editions of the Olympic Games and was runner-up in the world in 1991 and 1994.
  • Serbian Filip Filipovic is considered the best water polo player in the world who won four gold medals, one silver and one bronze with the Serbian team.

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