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Fan's Guide to Water Polo Rules and Basics Page 5 of 5

water polo player1- History & Object
2- The Essentials (Offense & Defense, Scoring, Etc.)
3- Fouls
4- Field Diagram and Positions
5- Glossary of Water Polo Terms


Advantage rule: A referee’s decision to let play continue when a foul was committed that, if called, would be a disadvantage to the team that was fouled.

Backhand: A pass or shot that is thrown backwards. Most commonly seen as a shot from the hole-set.

Ball under: An ordinary foul for taking or holding the ball underwater while in contact with an opposing player.

Brutality: An exclusion foul for extremely rough play such as striking another player. Results in player being removed from the remainder of the game.

Corner throw: A free throw by the offensive team when the ball goes out of bounds over the goal line and was last touched by the defense.

Dead time: The period of time, no longer than 3 seconds, following a foul before the ball is put back into play. Minor fouls committed during dead time become exclusion fouls.

Dribble: To swim with the ball using a modified (head above water) crawl stroke.

Drive: To swim quickly toward the goal without the ball to become open for a pass.

Drop: A strategy in which a defender swims toward the goal to protect it from incoming offensive players.

Dry pass: A pass in which the ball never touches the water.

Eggbeater: A kicking motion, using alternating circular motions of the leg, for treading water.

Free throw: A free pass granted immediately following a foul.

Front: A defensive strategy by the hole-guard to block the passing lane by playing between the hole-set and the ball.

Goal throw: A free throw awarded to the defense when the ball goes out of bounds over the goal line and was last touched by the offense.

Greenie: A quick shot by a driving perimeter player who receives a pass from the hole-set.

Impede: To prevent the movement of a player not holding the ball.

Lane press: Strategy in which defensive players put pressure, without fouling, on the player with the ball and attempt to block the passing lanes.

Outlet: A pass from the goalie to an offensive player at the start of a counter-attack. Also called a release.

Passing lane: The area between the ball carrier and the intended receiver of the ball.

Power Play: The offensive advantage when a defensive player serves an exclusion foul (20

seconds). Also called a 6-on-5 or man-up.

Slough: The defensive strategy in which a defender drops off a driver to help guard passes into the hole-set.

Strong side: The side of the pool on the same side as the ball.

Weak side: The side of the pool opposite the ball. During the game, players often yell ’weak’ to indicate that they are open on the other side of the pool.

Wet pass: A pass in which the ball lands in the water. A wet pass is used to ’set’ the hole-set.


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