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Born in England in the 19th century, water polo combines three other activities: soccer, swimming and rugby. But it was only when it arrived in the United States that the sport began to gain more popularity, and soon after it was introduced into the Olympic Games.

The rules of water polo are simple and involve equipment, player positions, field markings, judges and much more. The rules of the game also include the size of the balls, nets, distances, caps, duration and more.

Keep reading to find out more about the sport and the rules of water polo!

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Water polo rules: equipment

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Water polo rules are simple to understand

One of the most important obligations for water polo players is to pay attention to their clothing and equipment. The first of these is the cap, which must have contrasting colors, with the exception of red, so that they are different from the tones of the ball.

The colors chosen must be approved by the referees, who can even choose the shades of cap for each team. As a result, goalkeepers wear different colors from the other players, such as red.

According to the rules of water polo, the caps must be tied under the chin. If the cap comes loose from the player’s head in the middle of the match, it must be replaced as soon as the team has possession of the ball.

The caps must also have malleable ear protectors that are the same color, with the exception of goalkeepers. The caps must also have the player’s number on the side, measuring 10 centimeters in height.

In addition to the caps, the rules of water polo involve two types of ball, one used by women and the other by men. The balls for women’s games must measure between 65 and 67 centimeters, and those for men’s games must be between 68 and 71 centimeters.

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Both balls must weigh no less than 400 grams and no more than 450 grams

Water polo rules: teams

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Water polo has four periods of play

Each water polo team must have a maximum of 13 players, including 11 in the line-up and two goalkeepers. At the Olympic Games, the rules change slightly: a maximum of 11 players on each team.

During a match, the reserve players must remain seated on the benches and cannot leave, with the exception of half-time or time-outs. Only the head coach can move near the pool at any time.

As in other sports, the rules of water polo state that the captains of each team must be the match leaders and are also responsible for the conduct and discipline of the teams.

Players must not have any kind of substance on their skin, such as oil or grease. If the referees notice these substances, they must be removed as soon as possible so that there is no infringement.

Water polo rules: refereeing

In water polo matches, the refereeing team is made up of two referees, two goal judges and an assistant video referee, as well as timekeepers and secretaries.

The timekeepers are the people responsible for marking the actual possession times of each team. Meanwhile, the secretary must mark the time of each period, time requests and time-outs, as well as recording penalties and expulsions.

According to the rules of water polo, the goal judges must be positioned at the control table on the same side of the pool, but one on each goal line. Their tasks involve signaling during matches.

As well as signaling, they must keep an eye on the ball. If the object leaves the field, they need to be agile and make the substitution to the goalkeeper or player who is closest to the attacking team.

Water polo rules: playing time

A water polo match has four periods, also called “quarters”, which start from the moment a player touches the ball.

When the game has to be interrupted, time is stopped and restarted again as soon as the ball is touched. Between the first and second periods, the water polo rule determines a two-minute break, and the same happens between the third and fourth.

After the second period, the teams have to change sides, as do their coaches, assistants and others.

Water polo rules: how to play

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Water polo has been an Olympic sport since 1900

The aim of water polo, of course, is to score as many goals as possible. The game takes place in deep pools, which are at least 1.80 meters deep, and players need to be very physically fit.

Contrary to what many might think, the rules of water polo don’t require athletes to be great swimmers, but rather to have plenty of agility and breath.

Players are not allowed to hold the ball with both hands, with the exception of goalkeepers. The object passes from hand to hand until it reaches the goal, which is three meters long and 1.50 meters high.

An important detail in water polo is that it is forbidden to hold a player by the arm, or even to dunk him. If this happens, players are punished and can even be sent off.

It is also a foul in water polo to throw water at your opponent or to hold their feet while they are underwater.

When it’s time to throw the ball towards the goal or another player on the same team, the best tactic is to get your body out of the water by leaning backwards. The ball doesn’t slip due to its material, as it is made of rubber that doesn’t stick and is non-slip.

In the event of a draw, water polo decides the winner of the game from the penalty spot, just like soccer. At the time of the kick, the players must move away from the penalty area and stay at least two meters away from whoever is going to throw the ball into the goal.

What did you think of the rules of water polo? Enjoy being here and keep browsing the site to find out more about the rules of other sports, and don’t forget to leave your comment!

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