Water polo is a team-based sport that is played in a pool and requires the ability to swim to play. There are six players on each team in waterpolo, and one goal keeper per team, making a total of seven players in play at a given time. There are a maximum of six substitutes per game and the winner of the game is the team that scores the most goals on the opposing player’s side. Waterpolo is a sport that is played by swimming, passing of the game ball, and scoring goals by sending the ball past the goalie of the opposing team in order to score a goal. Waterpolo has similar characteristics of other sports that are played on land, such as soccer and hockey. It is currently the oldest team sport still played in the Olympics.
Structure of Water Polo Teams:
A water polo team consists of seven players. Six of them are free to move about the pool playing area and are tasked with scoring goals and blocking shots. A goalie, the seventh player on a water polo team, has a primary goal of defending his or her team’s goal and prevent the ball from going into it. Unlike most sports involving teams, water polo is less focused on positional play. Rather, players rely on contingency efforts, and making moves depending on the situation that is unfolding. A player may temporarily substitute one position if needed, such as when another player is caught out of position.
Water polo teams generally have “utility” players, which are players that are both skilled in offense and defense. They usually come off the bench when a team needs fresh swimmers to give them an advantage. Also, like most sports, certain body shapes and types are more suitable for either offense or defense. An offensive player is usually quick and agile to launch quick offensive plays, while a defensive player is bigger and tougher to defend and block shots.
Water Polo Team Positions:
Offensive positions on water polo teams include one center (also known as the hole man), two wings, two drivers (also known as flats) and one point man, who is a player that is positioned furthest from the goal. The player that is positioned as the center is responsible for directing an attack on the other team’s goal, while the wings and drivers and point are often referred to as ‘perimeter players’.
Defense in water polo teams are generally set up in a similar fashion as offense, except that they play with defensive mechanisms. The center is known as the “hole D” and his or her job is to guard the opposing team’s center. There are two main types of defensive strategy, commonly referred to as man-to-man or zone.
The goalie or goaltender is a challenging position because he or she is tasked with blocking shots from the opposing team. The position requires a great deal of swimming skill and strength to keep above the surface of the water and block the ball. He or she is also useful in pointing out weaknesses in the defense and make other observations that could be helpful in preventing the opposing water polo team from scoring.