What are the rules of water polo



A rough Olympic sport

A team of 13 players (seven are active: six, substitutes) vies with another in trying to advance an inflated 27-inch ball of waterproof leather past its opponent’s goalie and into a netted, 3- x 10-foot metal or wooden frame. A game has 7-minute quarters with 2-minute intervals between them.

The pool, 20 x 30 meters (22 x 33 yards), is just under 6 feet deep; it has horizontal lines at the half mark and at 13 and 61/2 feet from each end. No player may touch bo t tom. Each player wears a numbered bathing cap in his team’s color. For an informal game, adjust the dimensions and the rules.

Begin with each team positioned along its goal line, about 3 feet from either goalpost, with teammates 3 feet apart. The referee, at half court, blows a whistle and throws the ball into the pool. The team that gets it moves it by passing it or by dribbling (swimming with it). Defense may try to grab the ball from a carrier or knock it away; if they succeed, it’s theirs. After a goal, play resumes with teams in their respective halves in any positions and one player from the nonscoring team on the halfway line holding the ball. Upon the referee’s whistle, he tosses the ball to a teammate.

Only goalies can put both hands on the ball, slam it with clenched fist, or hold it underwater when tackled. Field players must, while in motion, dribble. pass, or shoot (try for a goal). No team may have the ball longer than 35 seconds without shooting. At least two teammates must handle the ball before a goal can be made. An infraction of these rules is an ordinary foul. Major fouls include hitting a player, interfering with a free pass, and dunking a noncarrier.