Glossary of Water Polo

Seven players from each team (six field players and a goalkeeper) are allowed in the playing area of the pool during game play with up to four substitutes.[7] Visiting team field players wear numbered and usually White caps, and home team field players wear usually Blue caps (though any other contrasting colors are now allowed); both goalies wear red caps, numbered "1". Players may be substituted in and out after goals, during timeouts, at the beginning of each quarter, after ordinary fouls and after injuries.[8] During game play, players enter and exit in the corner of the pool, or in front of their goal; when play is stopped, they may enter or exit anywhere. The game clock is stopped when the ball is not 'in play' (between a foul being committed and the free throw being taken, and between a goal being scored and the restart). As a result, the average quarter lasts around 12 minutes 'real time'. A team may not have possession of the ball for longer than 30 seconds[12] without shooting for the goal unless an opponent commits an ejection foul. After 30 seconds, possession passes to the other team. However, if a team shoots the ball within the allotted time, and regains control of the ball, the shot clock is reset to 30 seconds.[9] Each team may call 2 one-minute timeouts in the four periods of regulation play, and one timeout if the game goes into overtime.[6] During game play, only the team in possession of the ball may call a timeout.[6] The layout of a water polo pool showing the 2m and 5m markings (red and yellow), the half-way line (marked in white), a goal at either end and the length and width of the pool. Dimensions of the water polo pool[13] are not fixed and can vary between 20?10 and 30?20 meters. Minimum water depth must be least 1.8 meters (6 feet), but this is often waived for younger age groups. The goals are 3 meters wide and 90 centimeters high. Water polo balls are generally yellow and of varying size and weight for juniors, women and men. The middle of the pool is designated by a white line. Before 2005, the pool was divided by 7 and 4 meter lines (distance out from the goal line). This has been merged into one 5 meter line since the 2005–2006 season. Along the side of the pool, the center area between the 5 meter lines is marked by a green line (if marked at all). The "five meters" line is where penalties are shot and it is designated by a yellow line. The "two meter" line is designated with a red line and no player of the attacking team can receive a ball inside this zone. One player on each team is designated the goalkeeper, assigned to block any shots at goal. The goalkeeper is the only player who can touch the ball with both hands at any time, and, in a shallow pool, the only player allowed to stand on the bottom. Players can move the ball by throwing it to a teammate or swimming with the ball in front of them. Players are not permitted to push the ball underwater in order to keep t from an opponent, or push or hold an opposing player unless that player is holding the ball. Water polo is an intensely aggressive sport, so fouls are very common and result in a free throw during which the player cannot shoot at the goal unless beyond the "5 meter" line. If a foul is called outside the 5 meter line, the player is either able to shoot, pass or continue swimming with the ball. Water polo players need remarkable stamina because of the considerable amount of holding and pushing that occurs during the game, some allowed, some unseen or ignored by the referees (usually underwater). There are two types of fouls: one (like the scenario above) only results in the "fouler" giving up the ball and backing off; the other results in an ejection or kick out. Ejections are usually given if someone is being a little too aggressive; i.e. drowning or smacking someone. A player can only have 3 ejections before being majored and can not play for the rest of the game. If a player gets a brutality he or she is also not able to finish the game. An example of a brutality would be excessively cruising or intentionally punching someone. Water polo is a physically demanding activity; action is continuous, and players commonly swim 3 kilometers or more during four periods of play.[8] Water polo is a game requiring excellent hand-eye coordination. The ability to handle and pass the ball flawlessly separates the good teams from the great teams. A pass thrown to a field position player is preferably a "dry pass" (meaning the ball does not touch the water) and allows for optimal speed when passing from player to player with fluid motion between catching and throwing. A "wet pass" is a deliberate pass into the water, just out of reach of the offensive player nearest the goal (the "hole set") and his defender. The hole-set can then lunge towards the ball and out of the water to make a shot or pass. A defender will often foul the player with the ball as a tactic to disrupt the opponent's ball movement. Play continues uninterrupted in most cases, but the attacker must now pass the ball or continue swimming instead of taking a shot. (An exception allows players to quickly pick up the ball and shoot if fouled outside of the five meter mark.) However, as in ice hockey, a player caught committing a major foul, is sent out of the playing area with his team a man down for 20 seconds, but may return sooner if a goal is scored or his team regains possession. If the foul is judged to be brutal, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game, with substitution by another teammate after four minutes have elapsed. A player, coach or spectator can also be ejected for arguing with the referees. During a man up situation resulting from an ejection foul, the attacking team can expect to score by passing around to move the goalkeeper out of position. A player that has been ejected three times must sit out the whole match with substitution.