Water polo conditioning drills are perhaps one of the most challenging sports drills, as they require skill and serious physical conditioning. Water polo coaches are very keen to ensure that players learn the basic skills prior to learning its actual application for water polo play. The following water polo conditioning drills can help improve balance, flexibility, and coordination among water polo players.
- Tap drill. This is perhaps the most popular warm up and coordination drill that works ball handling. This is used by most coaches to make sure that warm ups are done properly. Tapping the ball near the board gives the player’s fingers and wrists strength essential for water polo.
- Head drill. This is one of the conditioning drills that enhances coordination and balance. Smooth balls and dry drills are widely used techniques to allow the water polo player get a feel for the ball with their head. Water polo head drills can still be done in the water, so long as you are using a smooth ball.
- Faking. This is a conditioning drill that merely exercises the ability of the players to think. There are several techniques that are used for this drill. Among the most popular is the “one location to another,” where the player moves on his right and left side and high and low positions. One example is doing a fake throw to the low left, where the actual move is moving to the high right.
- Swinging pendulum. This is a conditioning drill done that stretches the shoulders to improve shoulder flexibility. One bends low up to the waist and swings from side to side while holding the ball on a stretched hand. Repetition and speed are gradually increased.
- Throwing conditioning drill. In water polo, the most useful throwing drill is the full arm throw. The whole body moves in precise coordination. The ball comes from behind the head, hence the force of throwing the ball comes from the coordinated movement of the torso and the shoulder. The drill allows the player to practice their accuracy of throwing the ball in a straight line from the head before the ball is released.
- Swimming conditioning drills. A water polo conditioning drill in swimming may sound a little redundant, but this undoubtedly enhances one’s agility in the water by learning different strokes. The trudgeon stroke is best for quick start and turns while the backstroke is best to maintain view of the play without stopping. Conditioning drills include quickly changing the style through random picking of strokes according to what the coach will command.
- Shoulder wrestle. This water polo drill aims to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. This requires a team up of two players who place both of their hands on the other player’s shoulder with the elbow straight and will try to submerge each other.