Rules

The following water polo rules have been devised for players just starting the game.

How many players in a team?

Each team must start with seven players in the water. Up to 6 substitutes can also take part in a game.

How long does a game last?

The game consists of four quarters. Each quarter lasts for 7 minutes (In the National League this is now 8 minutes). When a foul, corner, goal etc. occurs the clock is stopped, so it takes about 10-12 minutes to play each quarter.

Time-outs

Each team is entitled to two 1-minute time-outs in a game.

How to start

Teams line up at opposite ends of the pool. When the whistle blows, the referee throws the ball into the centre of the pool and the two teams swim for the ball.

To score a goal

At the start of each quarter and after a goal, corner or foul inside 5m at least two players must touch the ball before you can shoot at goal. However, if you are awarded a foul outside 5m you can shoot directly at goal.

Restarting after a goal

After a goal, you must return to your half of the pool.

Corner throws

When the goalkeeper deflects the ball out of play at his (or her) end of the pool a corner throw is awarded to the attacking team.

Fouls

A free throw is given to the other team if you:

stand on the bottom,

catch with two hands,

take the ball under the water,

hit the ball with your fist,

push or prevent the free movement of another player who is not holding the ball,

are in the other team’s 2-metre area,

do not shoot at goal within 35s.

Sin-Bin fouls

You will be sent to the Sin-Bin for

20 seconds if you:

try to stop a player from taking a free throw or corner throw,

throw the ball away when the other team is awarded a free throw,

splash a player in the face,

hold, pull back or sink a player who is not touching the ball,

hit or kick an opponent.

Sent to the dressing room!!

You will be sent out for the rest of the game if you:

swear, back-chat to the referee, or fight.

Penalty throw

A penalty throw is given to the other team if you:

Foul a player in the 5-metre area who was just about to score.

Kick or hit a player in the 5-metre area.

Move the goals to stop someone scoring.

Have more than 7 players in the water.