Water polo terms explained
The most commonly used water polo terms
Here's a guide to some of the most commonly used water polo terms which will enable you to tell the difference between a ‘swim-off’ and an ‘eggbeater’. Water polo may appear a confusing game to the beginner with its many odd terms and phrases, but with this guide you'll be an expert in no time.
Advantage: a rule which allows the referee to play on, even if a foul has been committed, if continuing play would be to the benefit of the team which has had a player fouled.
Ball under: a foul called on a player who takes the ball underwater when an opponent is attempting to tackle them.
Brutality: dangerously rough play, such as elbowing or punching an opponent.
Corner throw: a throw used to restart play if a defender touched the ball last before it went out over the goal line.
Dry pass: a pass made so that the receiver can catch it before it hits the water.
Eggbeater: the leg kick used to tread water and lift players vertically out of the water.
Free throw: a method of restarting play after the ball crosses the sideline or after any foul that does not earn a penalty throw.
Goal throw: a throw by the water polo goalkeeper which is used to restart play if an attacking player was the last to touch the ball before it went out of play over the goal line.
Major foul: a foul serious enough that the offending player is sent to the exclusion area. Also known as an exclusion foul.
Neutral throw: a restart throw by a referee which gives each team an equal chance to reach the ball. This is used following a stoppage where neither team was solely to blame.
Ordinary foul: a foul by a player that, in most cases, leads to the referee awarding possession of the ball to the opposing team.
Penalty foul: a foul committed by a defending player within his 5m area that is judged to have prevented a goal from being scored. This leads to a penalty throw.
Penalty throw: a throw from the 5m line by a member of the attacking team – which can be defended only by the goalkeeper – after a penalty foul against a defender.
Stalling: refers to a team’s failure to shoot within 30 seconds. This leads to an ordinary foul being awarded to the opposing team.
Swim-off: a race for the ball in the centre of the field of play to start each period.
Wet pass: a pass from one water polo player to another, but designed to land in the water first.