Water polo has a long history of greatness; it was in 1885 that the Swimming Association of Great Britain developed the first collection of rules for the sport. Its popularity thrives today among the great and small. Even the Duke of Cambridge has been a water polo fan and played for Scotland at the national level. Water polo is a sport that is a combination of strength, speed, teamwork, and fitness at a high level.

The Basics of Water Polo

At its most simple, water polo has goals at the ends of the pool and the game’s winner is the team having scored the greatest amount of points by getting the ball through the posts. Players must tread water for the entirety of the game; they are not permitted to touch bottom. The ball is moved either by pushing it while swimming or passing it to another teammate by throwing it. Only the goalkeeper can use both hands; the other players can only use one hand.

The Start of the Match

Each team of 13 players, of which six outfield players, as well as the goalkeeper, are in the water at any time, requires speed for the beginning of the match. The game of water polo begins with a swim-off. The players are lined up at their team’s goal lines. The ball gets released into the center of the pitch. The first possession of the game is gained by the first team to swim to the center and reach the ball.

Gameplay and Fouls

Two referees oversee the match, one at each end. They whistle one of two different types of fouls: minor, or ordinary, fouls and major, or personal, fouls. The number of minor fouls a player may commit is limitless, but a player that has been found to have three major fouls must leave the game and is not permitted to return.

Water polo is a game requiring remarkable stamina. It is a fast and draining game. Because of this, there are six permitted substitutes to call in. Matches are divided into eight-minute-long quarters. As the clock is stopped at the times when the ball isn’t in play, the average quarter is about twelve minutes. This game of kings is fast and furious, requiring extreme fitness from its players.