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Water Polo – A Team Water Sport

When you look back and consider the long history of many other sports, water polo is relatively young. Very little is known about the origin of this game. It is believed that in 1870, a Scotsman name William Wilson helped to create this wonderful water sport. Audience find it more interesting to watch people competing against each other rather than one individual competing against other. This is the reason why swimming races were declining in popularity in Britain during that time. People started playing water soccer in lakes, rivers and even in swimming pools. Wilson drew up the rules of the game. People saw potential in Water Polo as a team sport and began refining the game.

Early Water Polo games were nothing short of an aquatic wrestling, demonstrating a player’s strength. It was only in 1880 that Water Polo was looked at as a serious sport and the rules were refined further to move the style of the play further from rugby and closer towards soccer.

Today, Water polo the oldest continuous Olympic team sport. It is enjoyed in a body of water, incorporating some of the elements of competitive swimming, handball and football into one. There are two opposing teams, composed of a total of seven members. Six of the team members function as water polo players, trying to score against the other opposing team. The seventh member of the water polo team is the goalkeeper or goalie. The goalkeeper is the only player who can touch the ball with both hands at any time. Plus, only he is allowed to stand on the bottom. Each successful completed goal is worth one point.

In most water polo games, the team players enter and exit the playing area in front of the area specified as the team bench when a game is in progress. When no play is taking place, players may enter or exit at any location around the field of play. Water polo is therefore very similar to the land-based game of team handball.

The water pool dimensions in the water polo pool are not fixed. They can vary between 20 x 10 and 30 x 20 meters. The depth of the pool is kept at minimum of at least 1.8 meters or 6 feet.

Players move the ball by either throwing it or swimming and pushing it in front of them. The players are not allowed to push the ball or push or hold an opposing player. Fouls are many and very common. The result is a free throw during which the player cannot shoot at the goal. The game is divided into four time periods; depending on the level of play.

Water polo players need a strong stamina as there is considerable amount of holding and pushing that occurs during the game. It is definitely a physically demanding sport, with continuous action among the players. Requiring excellent eye-hand coordination too, strong swimming and ball handling skills are also a must for a good water polo player. At professional levels of the sport, as the pace of play rapidly increases, the anticipation and mental preparation is important.

Some of the most common injuries while playing Water Plod are sunburns and eye irritation. But most of these injuries do not require medical aid and can be treated at home. Little padding is worn to protect players in the water so stopping these injuries is nearly impossible. When players are fighting for possession, facial and head injuries can also occur.

Some of the latest variation of Water Polo are the Inner tube water polo, Surf polo, Canoe Polo or kayak polo. Water polo equipment includes Ball, Field player cap, Goalkeeper cap, Goals, Swimwear and Mouth guard. The size of the ball is different for men's and women's games.

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