Water Polo Rules of the Game

Water Polo Rules of the Game

 Water Polo Rules of the Game


Water Polo - Ohio Fitness Garage


Water polo is a sport that originated in mid-nineteenth century UK where participators sought to play a game of rugby, but instead of on land, they did it in rivers and lakes. Now the game has over a century of Olympic history, and is most popular in England, Scotland, the U.S., and Australia. FINA is the official governing body of International water polo competitions.


How to play Water Polo


In a way, water polo is similar to hockey because before someone can participate, they’ll need to become adept in non-land movement. Water polo players are incredibly strong swimmers who can move at high speeds throughout the water, quickly dive, and tread water while being pursued by other players.


After you’ve achieved the necessary strength and stamina to compete in a water polo match, all you’ll really need is a swim cap, trunks or a bathing suit, and goggles (if required by the league).


Rules of Water Polo


  • Each team has seven players in the water at all time. There are several positions that will be filled in the water, however unlike most sports, these positions are much more fluid and players are free to swim wherever they’d like with only a few exceptions.
  • One offense, there are: Two wings, two flats, one goalkeeper, one hole set, and one point. One defense, there are no set positions aside from the hole set who steals opposing shots.
  • The dimensions of a water polo pool are 30 meters in length by 20 meters in width. The pool is split into two halves, and each half has a 2 meter line and a 5 meter line.
  • No offensive player can be within the 2 meter line unless they have the ball. All players can operate outside that line.
  • If a defensive player commits a foul within the 5 meter line, and the shot would have most likely been a goal, that’s considered a penalty.
  • Each player is allotted three penalties. Beyond that, the player is ejected.
  • There are four, eight minute quarters in a game of water polo. There are two minute intermissions in between each quarter and no halftime.
  • There is only one way to score in water polo, and that is by throwing the ball into your opponents net. The ball has to full make its way past the crossbar, otherwise it’s a no-goal.
  • Teams can only possess the ball for 30 seconds before having to shoot. Like basketball, if they rebound their own shot, their time resets.
  • No water polo game ends in a tie. If there’s a tie by the end of regulation, each team will choose five players to participate in a shootout at the 5 meter line.


Out of all sports with a goalkeeper, water polo perhaps allows for the most freedom. The goalkeeper can cautiously swim throughout the water without being limited. They can even punch the ball, catch the ball with two hands, and even dive to the bottom of the pool within the 5 meter line.


Written by: Devin Pickell

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