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Department of Health and Human Performance
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Cunningham Hall 139
Phone: 785-628-4376
Email: gaschumacher@fhsu.edu
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Water Polo

Starting and Finishing

1. Each team lines up at opposite ends of the pool at the start of play.

2. A team consists of eight players - 4 men and 4 women.

General Rules

3. Play starts each quarter and overtime period when the referee throws the ball into the center of the playing area and both teams propel their inner tubes toward the ball.

4. After each score, the ball is put in play by the goalie which was scored on.

5. No player may leave his/her inner tube to touch or maneuver the ball. Otherwise, he/she is assessed a personal foul and a free throw or penalty throw is awarded to his/her nearest opponent. Also, if a person is tipped out of the tube, a player may not touch or control the ball until they are back in the tube.

6. Position of players in tubes will be seated with legs and arms outside.

7. Throws can either be 1 or 2 handed. You may carry the ball in any position.

8. You must be properly positioned in the inner tube when passing or advancing the ball.

9. The ball cannot be thrown farther than 1/2 the length of the pool.

10. In advancing the ball, a male can throw to another male, but a female must touch the ball before a score can be counted. The goalie can pass to a male or female as long as the pass is from his own area.

11. Any one player cannot continuously control the ball for more than 15 seconds.

12. The goalie must be a male.

13. The goalie may not throw the ball more than 1/2 the length of the pool.

14. To effectively guard his goal and prevent a thrown ball from entering the goal, the goalie may not leave his inner tube in performing his task.

15. The goalie must sit in a horizontal position inside the inner tube.

16. No one can be in the goalie's area except the goalie.

17. The goalie cannot hang on the wall or goal.

18. The goalie's tube cannot touch the edge of the pool.

19. Feet are not allowed to touch the pool's bottom.

20. Each team must notify the official before the goalies can be changed.

21. Tackling a player who has possession of the ball is legal, but must be done from tube to tube. It is illegal to tackle, push, shove, etc., a player that does not have the ball.

22. After a minor infraction, the non-violating team member nearest the spot of infraction puts the ball into play by passing or advancing with the ball. Opponents may not touch, impede, or interfere with his attempts to pass the ball. One pass must be made before any attempt of a goal.

23. If a ball goes out-of-bounds, a free throw from the same point the ball went out is awarded to the opposing team. The player nearest to where the ball goes out takes the throw.

24. If the game is stopped due to injury or illness or two or more players foul simultaneously, the referee throws the ball into the water giving both teams equal opportunity to reach the ball after it has touched the water.

Time-Time Outs

25. A game consists of four minute quarters.

26. Teams change ends at the end of each quarter and at the beginning of every overtime period.

27. There will be two-minute intervals between quarters.

28. Each team shall have three time-outs per game. The time-out period shall last one minute. Time-outs can be called by any player in control of the ball at any time. Substitutions may only be made during time-outs, after a goal is scored, or between quarters or halves.


30. Points for goals:

  1. Scored by men: one point
  2. Scored by women: two points

31. No point is awarded if the goal is made from within the goal keeper's area (5 feet from the end of the pool).


32. A penalty throw is taken by an offensive player who has been fouled inside the penalty area (20 feet from the end of the pool). All players except the goalie must leave the penalty area until the throw is taken.

33. The opposing team is awarded a free throw when one of the following minor infractions occur:

  1. Holding on the pool wall while in possession of the ball.
  2. Holding the ball under water.
  3. Goalie throwing the ball more than half the length while he is in the goalie area. The player may throw the ball any distance when he is outside the goal area.
  4. Offensive or defensive player playing inside the goal area other than the goalie. In addition to the other team being awarded a free throw, this player must leave the pool for one minute.
  5. Walking on the bottom.
  6. Holding the ball underwater when tackled.

34. The other team is awarded a penalty throw at their opponent's goal plus personal foul penalty assessed when one of the following major infractions occurs:

  1. Holding, pushing, hitting, jumping, tackling, dunking, or dumping an opponent not having possession of the ball.
    • If this occurs within the penalty area, a direct throw at the goal is awarded plus one personal foul penalty.
    • If this occurs outside the penalty arc, only one personal foul penalty is assessed and an indirect free throw.
  2. Goalie holding on to the side of the pool while catching or passing the ball.
  3. Persistently repeating minor infraction even after a referee warning.

35. When a personal foul is committed, a free throw is awarded to the nearest opponent, or a penalty throw at the goal if the foul occurs in eh penalty area, plus the offending player leaves the pool for one minute.

36. When one of the following major fouls occurs, the offending player is removed from the game and replaced by a substitute:

  1. Attacking, striking, or kicking an opponent in such a manner as in referee's opinion to place him in danger of injury.
  2. Refusal to obey the referee.
  3. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

37. This is a Co-Rec Tournament. Inner tubes will be used.

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