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Water polo has been around for centuries. Starting in the late 1800s, the sport has developed from being in murky waters with a poorly constructed ball to the Olympic sport it is today. Water polo was among the first team sports to join the Olympic games back in Paris, 1900. Though it has grown into a popular sport, some people don’t understand the basics of water polo.



Water polo players work as a team to move the ball through the water into the opposing net. Like many other sports, the objective is to score against the opposing team. Scores in games can vary from low to high. The highest scoring game was recorded in 2008 with 27 goals. A team can only hold the ball for 30 seconds before having to take a shot. A goal counts when the ball completely crosses the goal posts and below the crossbar. The shot clock will reset after a shot is taken and the ball is rebounded. Teams have four quarters that last eight minutes to score on their opponents.



A team consists of seven players in the pool at once, but the entire team usually consists of 13 players. One being the goalie and the rest being in the outfield. Players are able to move about the pool as needed during the game. There are no specific positions that players have to keep, unlike soccer or hockey teams. The players are required to wear swimsuits or trunks, swim caps and goggles.



If the game is tied at the end of the match, a penalty shootout will take place. Five players from each team will have a chance to take a shot from the 5m line. The shootout continues until one team misses and the opposing team scores.


Rules of the Game:

  • The field is 30 meters by 20 meters, and the depth is a minimum of 2 meters
  • Players can only carry the ball with one hand, excluding the goalie who can use two hands
  • Players are not able to touch the bottom of the pool and must tread water or swim the entire duration of the match
  • Penalties include major fouls and ordinary fouls. Players may obtain three major fouls before they are removed from the match


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