Water polo is a fast-paced sport played by two teams in a swimming pool. There are goals at each end of the pool and, similar to other sports such as football, the winner of the game is the team that scores the most goals by getting the ball between the posts.
Each team is allowed to have seven players in the water at any one time (six ‘out-field’ players and a goalkeeper). Other than the goalkeeper, you will see the other players moving continuously around the pool.
They are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool and must tread water the entire time - although players use a movement called the egg-beater which is more efficient than the normal action of treading water.
Players can move the ball by throwing it to a teammate or swimming while pushing the ball in front of them. They can only hold the ball with one hand, other than the goalkeeper who can use both hands.
A water polo player can cover up to three kilometres in a game. Water polo players need remarkable stamina because of the considerable amount of holding and pushing that occurs during the game. Because it’s such a fast game and can be quite draining, each team is also allowed a maximum of six substitutes.
Under FINA rules, a water polo match is divided into quarters. Each of the four periods is eight minutes long but because the clock is stopped when the ball is not 'in play' in real life the average quarter lasts around 12 minutes.
Each team is only allowed to hold onto the ball for a maximum of 30 seconds before shooting for the goal. If they haven’t done this then possession passes to the other team.
Water polo can be introduced to young players through Mini Polo and is a fantastic sport to play with young people. For more information on water polo please visit the ASA website by clicking here.
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