Positions of Water Polo

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In a game of water polo there are seven players in water at a time. There is one goalkeeper and six other players that play out. There is hardly any positional play in this game, unlike most of the other sports. A single player in this game can fill up several other positions as the situation demands in the game. These positions are mainly, the center, the two wings, the point and the two flats. Utility players are those players in this game that are skilled in all these positions on the defensive or offensive. There are certain body types which are apt for particular positions. Like on the right hand side of the field left handed players are coveted. This gives the team an opportunity to attack from two sides.

The offensive positions consist of the following positions: two wings (they are situated on or near the two meter), one center, two drivers (these are located on or near the five meter, known as flats), and a ‘point’ which is located furthest from the goal. The perimeter players include the wings, point and the divers. A specific number system is generally assigned in order to indicate these positions in US NCAA men’s division of this sport.

One of the most basic position set up type is ‘3-3’. It is named so because of the fact that there are two lines present in opponent goal’s front. Other set ups used by the professional teams are: arc, mushroom or umbrella, the shape of an arc is formed by the players around the goal and the hole set being the handle or stalk. One of the other options for offensive set is Double hole. The number of offensive players in the center forward position is two. This position is generally in the front of the goal. The most commonly used in a ‘man up’ situation is double hole. It is also used to pull in a protector and thereafter subsequently pass it out to one of the perimeter players for a shot.

The highest individual scoring player is the one whom is placed in the center in front of the goalie of the opposite team and the most explosive shorts from a short distance are taken by the player in the center position.

‘Motion Offence’ is an offence in which there are two weak side perimeter players who are set up as a flat or as a wing. The other four players which are remaining swim in a square pattern. The tempo of the play is then controlled by the weak side wing and flat. They are ones who then pass it to the players and thus drive it towards the center. Whenever no dominate whole set is available or the defense seems to be to strong this form is used an offence. In women’s water polo since teams generally lack a player of sufficient strength or size to be set up in the center position this form is used. The use of this system makes man coverage a difficult task for the defenders. The tempo is also better controlled once the players are “set up”. Constant motion makes this form very tiring and proves to be its main drawback

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