The world-famous sport is still building a fan base, but as this year’s Tokyo Olympics showed, the sport is just as interesting as its grass roots variant.
The basic regulations of waterpolo are relatively simple, which is why it works well not only in the largest international arenas, but also as entertainment at the amateur level.
The field on which the match is played is 20×30 meters and is located in a pool. At the ends of both sides are placed goals, attached to the edge of the pool so that they do not change their position. Two teams of 7 players, including a goalkeeper, compete. The task of each team is to place the ball in the goal. The team that scores the most goals wins the match
Each game is divided into 4 series of 8 minutes each. There is a 5-minute break between each part. The players cannot stand on the bottom of the pool, which means that they have to swim all the time. The ball can be touched only with one hand, the goalkeeper is an exception to this regulation
The referees monitor the behavior of the players, whistling possible fouls or violations. This type of play is punished by a free kick for the opponent or exclusion of a player from the game for 20 seconds. Each player can be punished twice for an infraction, the third foul is punished by exclusion from the match.
The most important element involved in water polo is the ball. It is similar to a classic volleyball used by volleyball players and has a diameter of approximately 22 centimeters. The water polo ball is, however, made of a special material that is designed to prevent it from slipping when wet.
The air-filled ball is lightweight so that players can move freely around the water polo field with it. The goals located on the playing field are about 3 meters wide and are specially attached to the sides of the pool, so that they are always in the same place.
An important piece of equipment is also the outfit and protective headgear. In the case of women, one-piece outfits are most often used, which increase the comfort of the game. A key element for both genders of players is a head protector. At the amateur level, a classic cap will work well, which will protect against water in the ears, but at the professional level, special caps are used to protect the entire head, so that during the aggressive game, the risk of serious injury due to impact or fall is reduced.
Waterpolo, while not the most popular sport, is definitely one of the most physically demanding. Water polo players not only have to be excellent swimmers, but also have to develop their bodies in terms of agility, flexibility, strength, speed and breathing capacity.
The bodies of water polo players are characterized by high lung capacity, developed muscle tissue, high level of physical endurance and excellent motor coordination. The advantages of water polo also include a low risk of bone, joint or muscle injury, unlike other team sports played on hard surfaces.
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