Newcomers to one of the most famous aquatic sports will need to know the water polo basics for beginners. Water polo is a sport that takes place in a body of water. Water polo teams can range from amateurs just having fun to elite professionals in the Olympic Games. Below, we will outline water polo basics, guidelines, and regulations pertaining to the sport.
- There are seven players on each team. The constituency of a water polo team is six field players and one goalkeeper, which adds up to seven per side. There are visitors (i.e. the "visiting team") and the home team; which team you are on depends on who owns/is closest to the pool.
- Visiting teams wear blue caps. In contrast to this, home team members don their heads with white caps. Goalies, unlike their team, wear the same color red hat. These caps serve to designate positions and membership.
- There is usually 8 minutes per each period. This isn't a 100% certain rule, and time of play depends on level of expertise. Olympians, national team members, clubs, and colleges play with 8 minutes. High school varsity teams and college clubs take 7 minutes while freshman teams/youth leagues take a mere 5 minutes per play period of water polo.
- The object of the game is to have the most points. Points are earned by throwing, bunting, or somehow knocking the ball into the opposite team's goal. Passing is the primary means of moving the ball around the field.
- Specific offensive positions. The offensive team usually has a center, two wings, two drivers (those located near the 5 meter), and a point (the one situated farthest from the goal).
- Specific defensive positions. The defensive team, although not always, takes queues from the offensive set-up. The positions are usually directly translated into defensive ones, as the center becomes the "hold D" when defending.
- Goalies have special privileges. For example, the goalie (on either side) is permitted to do the two following moves: he/she is able to touch the bottom of the pool and he/she is able to grab the ball with both hands.
- There are four quarters. There will be four periods of play in regulation water polo. Each team, since most usually contain around 13 players, will thus have plenty of time to substitute all players in for at least a small period of play.
- A 2-minute break between quarters is mandatory. Between each period there will be a 2-minute break in which players can get rested and ready for the next quarter. Time outs, as a side note, last one minute.
- Holding the ball for a long period of time is a penalty. Having possession of the ball without shooting/passing it for 35 seconds will result in a penalty. Specifically, the other team will get a free throw.
There is a lot that goes into water polo. It's not a surprise that with so many water polo basics being listed, you're probably spinning in your head right now. Don't worry, however, the water polo basics become more apparent as you get into the game.