Water Polo 101

Who wants to tread water for ten consecutive minutes, get held under the water by people twice your size and come home with new bruises every week? Well it turns out there are actually crazy people out there who do this for a sport. And I am one of them. Hi, I’m Maddie Woods and I’m here to teach you about water polo.


Water polo is a competitive team sport played in the water with two teams. The game has four quarters in which the two teams try to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing team's goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins the match. Each team is made up of six field players and a goalie. A game of water polo consists of the players swimming to get across the pool, treading water, passing the ball and shooting at the goal.


There are seven players in the water from each team at one time. There are six players that play and one goalie. There are six position including the center, which is in the middle in front of the goal, the two wings, which are on the end, the two flats, which are next to the flats, and the point, which is in the middle behind the center. If the players are set up right, it should look like a horseshoe. It is difficult at first to understand but once you watch a game, you start to get it.


During a game there are rules put in place to make sure nobody cheats or gets hurt but sometimes people try it and get away with it. One dirty trick people do is hold a person’s suit under the water so they can’t move. Another trick (my personal favorite) is to swim under the defender to make it look like they swam over you so that the refs give the ball to your team.


For a game, we usually wear a water polo suit, which looks like a regular swimsuit but with thicker straps and it zips up in the back, a ball that floats and looks like a volleyball and funny-looking caps with hard, plastic things to cover our ears (so that if a ball hits your ear it doesn't burst your eardrum).


Some people might ask why someone would play this sport. Even though water polo can get very aggressive, I still love to play it. You learn things from your coach (obviously) but you can also learn skills and plays from your fellow teammates. At the beginning of the year it can be kind of difficult to get the hang of it but as you get better and grow as a team, it gets easier and you become more in sync with your friends. If you are interested in water polo, I would definitely try it. It is so much fun and you can brag to all your friends about how tough you are.

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