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Getting into Water Polo in England

Getting into water polo is easy. Children can be introduced to the game during swimming lessons. For more on joining a water polo club go to our Find a Club page here.

Kids’ Swimming Lessons

Children can be introduced to water polo in their swimming lessons. The Swim England Learn to Swim Programme has water polo specific modules in Levels 8 – 10, known as the Aquatics Skills Framework.

These three steps on the Programme involve learning the basics of the sport from movement, shooting and passing to more complex skills and technique. Ask your child’s swimming teacher about it at the next lesson.

The Aquatics Skills Framework also involves playing Mini-polo – a beginner’s version of water polo with a smaller ball.

The rules of Mini-polo are more relaxed – players can stand up for example – so you can play in shallow water and just use floats or cones as goalposts.

Aquatics Skills Framework – Water Polo

Click or tap on one of the stages of the framework below to see what standards are required to progress through each stage.

Stage 8
  1. Tread water vertically and comfortably for 30 seconds, using eggbeater kick.
  2. Maintain a vertical position whilst moving forwards, backwards, left and right, using sculling and eggbeater kick for 5 metres.
  3. Maintain a horizontal position whilst moving forwards, backwards, left and right, using sculling and eggbeater kick for 5 metres
  4. Perform 5 metre horizontal lateral slides, to the right, return to centre and then left and return to centre.
  5. Swim 5 metres head up front crawl.
  6. Swim forwards 5 metres whilst controlling a ball in front.
  7. In vertical eggbeater, pick up the ball from underneath the surface with alternate hands into a throwing position.
  8. Hold a tripod position, with a ball, for 30 seconds.
  9. Play a simple water polo game, score by placing ball on the side of the pool and demonstrate skills learnt during this stage.
Stage 9
  1. Swim 5 metres head up front crawl, change direction 90 degrees left, swim 5 metres change direction 90 degrees right.
  2. Swim 5 metres head up front crawl, change direction through 180 degrees, swim 5 metres.
  3. Swim 5 metres water polo backstroke.
  4. Swim 5 metres water polo head up front crawl, turn onto back, continue in same direction for 5 metres and turn back onto front and swim 5 metres.
  5. Swim 5 metres head up front crawl with breaststroke legs.
  6. Pass and catch a ball accurately with a partner, with one hand, over a 3 metre distance while maintaining a strong body position.
  7. Swim 10 metres head up front crawl, receive a ball on the water, and continue to swim whilst controlling the ball.
  8. Swim 5 metres with a ball, pass ball to target, and continue to swim 5 metres.
  9. Pick up a ball, shoot at a target from a 2 metre distance and repeat five times. The target may be a player, kick board, plastic bottles, etc.
  10. Play a simplified water polo game, score by hitting a target on the side of the pool or some other adaptation and demonstrate skills learnt during this stage and in Learn to Swim Stage 8 Water Polo.
Stage 10
  1. Swim 5 metres, receive a ball on the water, control the ball in front for 5 metres, change direction one way, swim 5 metres, change direction the opposite way, swim 5 metres and then pass to a partner.
  2. Pick up a ball, shoot at a target five times from a 2 metre distance, using an off-water shot. The target may be a kick board, plastic bottles, a player or into a goal.
  3. Jump vertically, sideways and forwards.
  4. Jump ½ turn and pass ball while on back.
  5. Marking during game-play situation.
  6. Understand concepts of long walking and short walking and when to apply in a game situation.
  7. Play a water polo game, with full rules and goals, and demonstrate skills learnt during this stage and in Learn to Swim Stages 8 and 9 Water Polo, showing good technique throughout.

Adults’ Water Polo

You’re never too old to start playing water polo! Masters water polo is simply water polo for players aged 30 years and older.

The rules of the game are the same with a few minor amendments – possession time is 35 seconds and teams in the age bands 50+ years and upwards play six minute rather than seven minute quarters.

Most clubs welcome players over 30 years and older. Go to our clubs page here and get in contact and we can track down a club for you.

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