Training for novice Water Polo players
Image credit: Siong San/SportSG
Players can easily swim up to three to five kilometres in the duration of the entire game, so endurance and stamina is very important. Swim as much as possible during your free time, and be sure to practise swimming styles commonly used in water polo, such as the forward stroke and the backward stroke, keeping in mind to have your head above water at all times.
As players are required to constantly stay afloat during the game, they also have to do a lot of water treading. The technique used to do so is known as the eggbeater, due to the motion made by the players’ legs.
Beginners should also practice treading water for up to 30 minutes, and jumping up after every 30-seconds with their arm up in order to practice blocking and receiving the ball.
The easiest and most effective way of getting the ball across the pool is to throw it to a teammate. However, throwing the ball isn’t as easy as it sounds, since teammates can be located at the opposite end of the pool and players have to throw the ball over a great distance.
Practise dry passing with another player in the pool, and slowly increase the distance between both players until each player reaches the ends of the pool.
If practising with another player is not possible, beginners can also practice dry passing on their own by throwing the water polo ball against a wall and catching it. The player should then increase the distance between the wall and himself in order to maximise his throwing distance.
Since the ultimate aim of the game is to score as many goals as possible during the match, shooting training is vital for the team to win. One of the more common shots is called the bounce shot, which involves the player bouncing the ball off the surface of the water and into the goal.
Beginners should practise this move in the pool, in front of an unguarded goal, and repeatedly bounce the ball into the water until the ball is shot into the goal. Once the player manages to get the ball into the unguarded goal, he should then practise with another player guarding the goal and attempt to bounce the ball until he manages to score.
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