How to Play Water Polo

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Although water polo isn't as mainstream as football or baseball, it's gaining in popularity. With this surge there's a need to know how to play the game of water polo. Here is a helpful guide with the basics of the game.

  • Use your arms rather than your legs when you play. Basically it's soccer played in the water, using your arms to throw the ball into the other team's goal. Only the goalie is allowed to handle the ball with two hands. All other players must use only one hand when the play water polo.

  • Gather your team together. A normal team includes 13 players, with 6 players and 1 goalie in the water at once. Each player treads water the entire game and cannot touch the bottom of the pool or hang on the side at any time during the game. Having enough players to rotate in and out is essential in water polo.

  • Play the game in 4 quarters ranging from 5 to 7 minutes depending on the competition level. There is a 2-minute break between quarters and each team has two 1-minute time outs. Rotate players in or out only after a goal, between quarters or if a referee ejects a player.

  • Line the players up on each side of the pool, waiting for the referee's whistle before lunging for the ball which is either placed it the middle of the pool or dropped by the referee.

  • Shoot the ball within 35 seconds after your team gains possession of it. If your team holds on for longer than this, the opposite team takes a free throw.

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