What Equipment Is Needed to Play Water Polo?
The sport of water polo is an old descendant of rugby. In its early existence, it was played in lakes and rivers in England. Goals were scored when players were able to carry the game ball past their opponents onto the opposite side of the water court. The modern-day game is played in a large swimming pool, and the object of the game is to score points by throwing the game ball into the opposing team’s goal.
Pool and Goals
The size of the pool can vary as the sport does not have a regulation size. The pool should measure between 20 and 30 meters long and 10 and 20 meters wide. However, the depth of the pool needs to be a minimum of 1.8 meters. The two goals in water polo measure 3 meters wide. Generally the back of the goal is netted similar to soccer goals.
Water polo balls are made of waterproof material that is textured so that a player can pick up the ball or catch it without difficulty. Generally, the balls are yellow for easy visibility, but in official competition they are green, red and blue depending on the age and gender of the teams. The size of the ball also varies. Men’s water polo balls are 28 inches in circumference while women’s balls are 26.5 inches in circumference. The average weight of a water polo ball is between 14 and 16 ounces. Official rules declare that the ball must be pumped to 13 psi of pressure.
The type of swimsuit necessary depends on the gender of the player and whether you’re playing for fun or in competition. You want a suit that fits tightly and won’t cause drag in the water so that you can move quickly. In official competition, women wear one-piece swimsuits that zip up the back and don’t have traditional swimsuit straps so that opposing players cannot grab the straps.
Headgear and Mouth Guard
Water polo headgear, or caps, are intended to protect the players’ heads and ears from the ball and limbs of other players. Caps are also used to show the separate teams and goalies, similar to jerseys in soccer. Another important piece of water polo equipment is a mouth guard, particularly for the goalie. Mouth guards protect the players’ teeth from the ball and the contact of other players.
- water polo image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com