How To Get Better At Water Polo

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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There is only one way to get better at something: practice; the more you do an activity or practice the same, the more you experience the repetitions needed to perfect it. Water polo is no different; putting time in the pool will be the best way to get better at the sport.

First, and most importantly, is to become a strong swimmer; this can be accomplished utilizing swimming laps or exercises like holding one’s breath underwater. From there, a potential player must figure out how to throw a ball in the water.

Men playing water polo - Getting Better At Water Polo.

How Should You Train per Week?

One of the most critical body regions needed for water polo is the shoulders; the muscles here keep the players afloat, helping them move around the pool, and throw the ball.

An intelligent player will utilize the weight room and strengthen the back and deltoids using heavy row bands and other resistance-type workout equipment.

Another solid workout would be the wall slide workout; the reps, similar to a squat with the exception that the person working out will have their back on the wall, will, in effect, work the same muscles needed to stay at the surface of the pool.

Again, working out a minimum of three days a week is recommended, with five being optimal.


Men playing water polo - Getting Better At Water Polo.

Should You Work Out at the Gym as Well?

This is a firm yes; there are going to be sets of exercises that will strengthen the muscles needed to maintain the shoulder strength required to play the sport of water polo.

Be sure to work on the deltoids and trapezius muscles; your back and shoulders are at the core of where the body needs to be strong.

Another recommendation would be to use resistance band workouts to give your muscles a shot of endurance for the next match, and there is scientific evidence that resistance training ramps up the effectiveness of each rep.


What are the Three Most Important Water Polo Skills?

As any savvy water polo fan will tell a newbie to the sport, the point of the game is to score more goals than your opponent. This involves precise passing, solid team play, spacing, and talent to give your team the best chance for success.

The essential water polo skills would be:


  • Endurance – A player must be able to stay above water while maneuvering, dodging opponents, and working the ball around for an open shot.
  • Strength – Especially in the men’s game, having enough power to break away from defenders or to rise out of the water to deliver a straight shot on goal and force the other team away from the goal is essential for victory.
  • Throwing ability – One of the most common actions will be to throw the ball as a pass or shot on goal; players will perform this action second most only to a swimming kick.


What Makes a Good Water Polo player?

A good athlete has a natural athletic ability in addition to having a strong swimming ability, an understanding of the game, and a solid arm to score goals with.

Other things like good vision and a strong voice can play in a player’s favor, especially when leading a team and communicating with them.

Physically, a robust set of shoulders, pairs of legs, and lungs are what a water polo player will strive for. Getting into the Gym, improving cardiovascular health and muscle strength, and having a healthy diet are all excellent habits for any athlete.


What Should Water Polo Players Eat?

Water polo consumes massive amounts of energy and fuel to play, and nutritional experts say that a diet consisting of approximately sixty to sixty-five percent carbohydrates for each practice session and match will provide adequate nutrition for the player.

The same minds also recommend that a water polo player eat at least three-square meals to get the proper amounts of carbs, protein, and lipids for a healthy body and recovery needs.

If meat is an option, having each meal feature a solid piece will provide adequate protein for an active athlete. If you are vegan or similar, consider using plant-based ‘meat’ to provide the same level of nutrition.


Final Thoughts on How to get Better at Water polo

The most important thing for any athlete is to take care of their body, starting with giving oneself the nutritional needs to perform at their best.

Secondly, after figuring out how to fuel the body, the next step is to create a workout regiment focusing on the muscles used most during water polo.

From there, the body will adjust and improve if all is done correctly. The game will get more straightforward as endurance, strength, and pure ability increase.

In the long run, having the first two items worked out will benefit any athlete, not just a water polo player. Even non-athletes need to find an equal balance to achieve bodily homeostasis.