“THE GOALKEEPERS GAME” BY PROFESSOR MICHAEL M. RYZHAKHEAD OF THE SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RUSSIA STATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, MOSCOW. A SERIES OF COACHING ARTICLES SUITABLE FOR GOALKEEPERS PLAYING SOCCER, FIELD, AND ICE HOCKEY AS WELL AS WATER POLO GOALKEEPERS MARCH 1972 MOSCOW, RUSSIA SECOND EDITION: DECEMBER 1993 LONDON, ENGLAND THIRD EDITION: MAY 1994 PRINTED IN MALTA FOURTH EDITION: JANUARY 2013 BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA
“THE FUNDAMENTALS OF WATER POLO” by PROFESSOR MICHAEL RYZHAK Professor of Sport and Physical Education at the Russia State Medical School, Moscow. No. 1: With the Special Reference to the Goalkeeper People who watch water polo competitions for the first time are always amazed that theplayers can jump so high from the water without their feet touching the bottom, the pool being morethan two meters in depth. Indeed the water polo player should feel himself equally adept as anyfootball or basketball player who has the advantage of a ground base: to be able to jump outinstantly, making quick starts, always ready to turn back, or aside, swiftly. For all these purposes hemakes skillful use of the water’s density. To achieve such proficiency there are many specialized movements and exercises. One of themost important of these is the “walking” or treading movement in water. The most effective way oftreading water is by the use of the breast-stroke kick. The breast-stroke leg movement or “frog-kicks”can be performed as a simultaneous or alternate movement. The alternate movement is probablymore commonly known as the “egg beater” kick, during which the legs move alternately in a rotarymotion. The inside surface of the lower leg which includes the ankle, toes and heels provides themain propulsion each time the leg is driven down. This type of kick allows the body to remain high inthe water, enabling them also to jump, to perform skills, and generally to stay comfortably afloat. Themovement involves the alternate “frog kicks’ in a cyclical movement with each leg in turn. Theupward trust comes by forcing water downwards with the inside of the shins and feet. Kneeflexibility, along with strong thighs and calves are an important advantage. Goalkeepers especiallyneed a strong “egg beater” kick to enable them to be at a constantly high level in the water, oftenbeing called upon to make instantaneous jumps or to move quickly into position to make saves. The“egg beater” movement is used to achieve a high position in the water, leaving arms free formovement with the ball. Whilst goalkeeping techniques vary in detail, a high degree of leg strength,and the ability both to jump high and a long way across the goal horizontally, are essentialrequirements always. There are important and effective exercises that will promote these qualities: Treading water and “egg beater” kicks. The hands are kept above the water as themovements are performed under the water. To be performed at the coach’s whistle, at which theplayer must look at him and carry out the movement: 1) Hands aside. 2) Hands up. 3) Hands forward. 4) Hands above – a little to the side. 5) Hands aside but the position of the wrists changing.All these movements are shown in the first sequence of illustrations.
JUMPING OUT OF THE WATERIn order to have a high jump out of the water, it is necessary to have good movements of legs, arms,and body.1) Arms are 2) The arms are 3) They make 4) and 5) The arms arewide-spread narrowed stroke raised and out of the water as the body risesTREADING WATER AND “EGG BEATER” KICK EXERCISE 1 2 3 4 5The hands are kept above the water as the movements are performed under the water. To beperformed at the coach’s whistle, at which signal the player must look to him and carry out themovement.1) Hands aside 2) Hands up 3) Hands 4) Hands above: 5) Hands asideover the water forward a little to the but the position side of the wrists changingLater, introduce the use of weight belts or heavy, hand-held medicine balls: 2, 3, or 4 kilos. As the exercise is perfected, a progressive degree of difficulty may be introduced by the useof weight belts. Alternatively, heavy medicine balls can be introduced or 2, 3, or 4 kilos, held in thehands as high above the water as possible.
In order to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the training routines, simple tests can beintroduced to measure the progress of individual players: for example, the height of each player’sjump can be measured, first with one hand up, then with two hands up. Obviously a greater heightwill be achieved with one hand up than with two – the best players can achieve a jump of 175centimeters from the surface of the water with one hand up, as against 150 centimeters with bothhands up. A simple means of measurement is by the use of a rope across the water. Beginning at amoderate height as each player jumps to reach it, first with one hand, then with two, the height isthen progressively raised to find each player’s optimum level of performance. The skill and performance of each player can be exactly measured by the use of a scale orsmall backboard marked with lines 5 centimeters apart and held over the surface of the water asshown in the second and third sequences of illustrations.Looking at these illustrations, the order of movement can be clearly seen: 1) and 2) the hands are making the stroke; 3) and 4) the body moves; and finally 5) the legs.This sequence of the hands, the body and the legs is of great importance. The leg work is certainlyone of the most vital of all the components taught. For this reason great emphasis must be laid onperfecting the breast-stroke kick and the “egg beater kick” as early as possible in every player, withcontinued practice maintained during every practice session.
B. TO TEST A PLAYER’S ABILITY TO JUMP WITH ONE HAND HELP UP 1 2 3 4 5C. TO TEST A PLAYER’S ABILITY TO JUMP WITH BOTH HANDS HELD UP 1 5 2 3 4THE SEQUENCE OF MOVEMENT OF THE HANDS, BODY, AND LEGS IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE.THE ABOVE SETS OF ILLUSTRATIONS B AND C SHOW THE ORDER OF THESE MOVEMENTS:1) and 2) The hands are 3) and 4) The body 5) Finally, the making the moves; legs. stroke:
“THE FUNDAMENTALS OF WATER POLO” by PROFESSOR MICHAEL RYZHAK Professor of Sport and Physical Education At the Russia State Medical University, Moscow. THE GOALKEEPER: PART TWO. Once there was a joke among the originators of the sport of water polo: the coach had tochoose who, among his players, would best be forwards, defenders and goalkeepers. Those who werethe best swimmers and eager to shoot to cover the forwards became defenders; and the rest of theplayers – those who couldn’t swim very well, couldn’t shoot the balls, and were not very strong, -these were put to defend the goal! That of course was only a joke: the goalkeeper is acknowledged to be the most importantplayer in the team. The key to any defensive system is the goalkeeper, but a good goalkeeper is ableto put the team in a scoring position by good exact passing of the ball at a distance of some twentymeters. In order to play in this demanding position, the goalkeeper requires a degree of naturalability as well as the desire, dedication and fortitude necessary to become a successful player. Thereare certain essential goalkeeping drills (exercises) which must be seen as equal in importance to thefield players drills. Too often these drills are overlooked because there are so many more fieldplayers to consider: nevertheless, they require constant intensive practice, and should be requiredfor anyone training with the goalkeeper’s position in mind. In Russia over the last 15 years we havehad specialist coaches solely to train goalkeepers for our national teams, while throughout thecountry, most of our water polo clubs have permanent specialist coaches for goalkeepers, or they areengaged for a specific period of time in order to provide this vital coaching. I am aware that similarproblems exist with other team sports where goalkeepers are involved: soccer, hockey, handball etc.To quote an example: Vladislav Tretjak – the famous Russian ice hockey goalkeeper – organizesspecial seminars for goalkeepers, not only at home in Russia, but in other parts of the world. The success of the Russian National Teams in the World and European Championships, andin the Olympic Games, has often been the result of excellent play by our goalkeepers. In 1966 VadimGuljaev saved our team during the Final of the Championship of Europe against the team from EastGermany, when with the score 1 – 0, he blocked two 4 meter penalties. This same goalkeeper savedour team many times during the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968, when we won the silvermedals, and in the Munich Olympics of 1972 when we won the gold medals. One other of our famousgoalkeepers, Yevgeny Sharonov, helped to win Olympic gold medals in Moscow in 1980, and bronzein 1988 in Seoul and 1992 in Barcelona. In my opinion they were the best in the world at thatparticular time and 50% of the success rate of the game was due to these outstanding goalkeepers.
Throughout its long history over more than 120 years, water polo has been evolving, havingchanged a great deal, and the functions of the goalkeeper have also developed considerably. Takenote of the picture of the goalkeeper taken from an old book published in Britain during the 19 thcentury. See opposite. At the present time a goalkeeper needs to be a first-class athlete, a perfect swimmer who isgood not only in breast-stroke, but in crawl as well. It was not so long ago that the rules of water poloforbade the goalkeeper from swimming out beyond the 4 meter zone, but now it is permitted. Inorder to benefit from this rule change, a good goalkeeper must be able to swim 50 meter free-style in27-30 seconds, and 50 meter breast-stroke in 36-39 seconds. Also, in accordance with the old rules, itwas forbidden for the goalkeeper to throw the ball further than the middle of the field; now it ispermitted to pass the ball as far as possible, as it becomes necessary in the course of play. Therefore,a good goalkeeper must be able both to give and receive passes from 25-30 meters distance withtheir dominant hand – the strong one, usually the right, and from 17-22 meters with the other,weaker hand, usually the left. Also, as mentioned in my previous article, the goalkeeper must be ableto jump out of the water with one hand held up to a height of 155-170 centimeters and with bothhands held up to a height of 135-155 centimeters I would recommend that these standards ofattainment should be written into the training diaries of all our sportsmen as targets to which theycan aim – these figures are calculated from the results of the best twenty Russian goalkeepers. Also Iwould advocate the regular checking of the condition of each player, using tests similar to thosedescribed in my previous article. The goalkeeper can use the following methods in defense of his goal:a) The safest way is to catch the ball with two hands – it sometimes becomes necessary to remindplayers that the privilege of taking the ball with both hands simultaneously is reserved for thegoalkeeper, and is forbidden by the present rules for other players.b) When a goalkeeper is not certain of making such a catch, or is not ready, then he blocks the ballwith one hand, with his shoulder, with his body, or even with his head.These techniques are illustrated by the following sequence of diagrams:Fig 1. Observing the rhythm of the attacking player’s movements as he drives towards the goal, the goalkeeper is ready before the moment of the shot. His legs and arms are ready to help him to emerge swiftly from the water.Fig 2. At the moment when the ball flies away from the attackers hand for a shot, the goalkeeper begins rapidly to rise from the water.Fig 3. He determines the course of the ball in a glance and behinds to draw his hands from the water ----Fig 4. ---- towards the approaching ball.Fig 5. His loosely-held and well-spread fingers touch the ball over an area of the surface great enough to catch a forcefully-thrown shot with certainty. Accurate catching is further assisted by the spring-like action of the arms which are slightly bent at the elbows, and by the yielding action of the shoulders. At the summit of the body’s rise, the two hands are completely prepared, with the fingers well open.Fig 6. At the moment of contact the fingers firmly grasp the ball.Fig 7. Immediately after making his catch, the goalkeeper begins to sing back into the water and pulls own on the ball, being away as he does so for other players, and carefully watching the field.
Advice on improving the skills of the goalkeeper.1. The goalkeeper should also involve himself in other sports – such as football, basketball and table tennis.2. Alternatively, he should utilize some of the exercises from other sports.3. Exercises on land to develop quick reaction (See the second sequence of diagrams)
A SERIES OF EXERCISES TO BE PRACTICED ON LAND AND DESIGNED TOIMPROVE BALL CONTROL AND QUICK REACTIONS IN A GOALKEEPER1) Throw ball – jump forward to catch it. 2) Throw ball, spin round 360 degrees before catching it. 3) Throw ball from a sitting position on ground – spring up to catch it. 4) Sit on ground - bounce ball in front of feet – 5) Lie full length on ground – throw spring forward to retrieve ball – spring up to catch it.
LAND EXERCISES (cont’d)6) Lie on ground – bounce ball – spring up to 7) Throw ball from standing position: touchcatch it. toes before catching it. a b8a) With right arm between legs, throw ball 8b) Repeat throw: stand and turn to the rightup on left side: stand up, turning to left to side to take the ball with both hands as itcatch using both hands. loops over the head. Repeat both exercises, using opposite hand to throw ball.9) Throw ball from behind back, catch in 10) Throw ball between legs so it goes overfront using one hand only. Repeat using the head and is caught in front using bothopposite hand. hands throughout.
LAND EXERCISES (cont’d)11) Move ball in a circular motion, controlling 12) Lie prone to throw ball up: lift trunk atit with one hand at its highest point and both waist/hips to catch with arms outstretchedhands at the lowest. 13) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart to bounce ball one-handed from the side to a spot between feet: bend to opposite side to take ball in both hands. Repeat from the opposite side. EXERCISES AGAINST A WALL. 15) Stand 2-3 meters away from wall to14) Stand approximately 1 meter from wall: bounce ball against wall so it will rebound onthrow ball against wall with arms above the ground: jump forward and spin roundhead: jump forward to catch the rebound. 180 degrees to take ball low down between legs.
EXERCISES AGAINST A WALL (cont’d)16) Bounce ball against wall using only one 17) Kick ball against wall and bend to catchhand: bend forward to catch with both hands. with both hands.18) Lie prone to bounce ball against wall so it rebounds onto the ground: stand to catch it.19) With a clenched fist punch ball against 20) Hold ball above head with one hand:wall as many times as possible. bounce it low against wall so it rebounds on ground, bend to take in both hands.
“THE FUNDAMENTALS OF WATER POLO” by PROFESSOR MICHAEL RYZHAK Professor of Sport and Physical Education At the Russia State Medical University, Moscow. THE GOALKEEPER: PART THREE. There is no position in the game of water polo that demands a particular player to be as wellacquainted with the happenings, or potential happenings of a contest as that of the goalkeeper. Thegoalkeeper stands as the last line of defense of the team. Not only can be compensate for mistakesmade in the field but he can make, or break, the morale of the team: an excellent goalkeeper canmake an average team look like a superior one. Field players will play according to the confidence they have in their goalkeepers. If thegoalie is not very good, they will tend to be more cautious in the field: if the goalie is good, then theyare able to take more liberties defensively regarding the looseness or tightness with which they playtheir opponents. It will become clear as the position is discussed, that stopping shots on the goal is not thesole duty of the goalie. In order to be a good goalkeeper, the goalie must have not only good physicalpreparation, excellent reactions, good technique, and many other things, but he needs a goodunderstanding of his positioning within the goal, linked to the field player’s “sixth sense,” which is anintuitive anticipation regarding the movement of the ball. He must know instinctively when to moveout of the goal to cut off a pass, as well as how, and when, to retreat to block shots. OFFENSIVELY, the goalkeeper must have a thorough knowledge of the offense of his team,and in particular, the patterns, which will usually be initiated by his lead-out passes. He will dictatethe tempo of play through his ability to get the play moving when his team gains possession of theball after a shot at the goal. DEFENSIVELY, the goalie must be aware of the potential scoring abilities of his opponents,and should be familiar with all the shooting styles that he may be faced with, and be called upon toblock. He also needs understanding of the basic objectives of different offensive styles, so that he willbe swift to discern the various patterns of play which his opponents are attempting to use against histeam. This is of great value to a goalie, since such knowledge helps him to anticipate the directionfrom which the ball is coming, and also, probably who will be making the shooting attempt. The basis of all goalkeeper activities is positioning, and suitable positioning of thegoalkeeper is one of the pre-requisites of good defense. By “POSITIONING,” we mean such a movement on the part of the goalie as to ensure that,depending on the actual course of the game, he should always meet the ball flying towards him in aposition which enables him to defend his goal in the most secure and safe manner.
The base position is that in which the goalie is in the middle of the goal about a yard from thegoal line, from which position he follows the play, being able to adjust his positioning while standingon the corresponding side, and in order to close down the angle of attack. It is vital for the goaliealways to maintain constant eye-contact with the ball, most particularly when it enters the scoringarea, or is in the hands of an opponent relied on to do his team’s scoring. At this stage, the goalieshould watch the shooter’s motion in any shot at the goal. One important aspect of an effective defense is the CONCENTRATION OF THE GOALIE. Heconstantly has to watch the development of the game – particularly when it is taking place inside thegoal area – observing both the ball and the movements of the players. This enables him to adapthimself easily to the opponent possessing the ball, and by taking over his rhythm, can more quicklyintervene in the play at the proper moment. Another important part of the defense is the GOALIE’S ABILITY TO MAKE SWIFT DECISIONS.Sometimes he has to decide in a fraction of a second which form of intervention to choose, forexample: whether or not he should swim out of the goal in front of the forward driving towards thegoal. If he has chosen to swim out, he must not stop at all, otherwise the attacker gets into a morefavorable position. The GOALKEEPERS SENSE OF ORIENTATION plays a considerable part in the defense too.No matter how fervent the game, he always has to be aware of his position, quite apart fromconstantly watching the opponents’ movements and the course of the ball. He has to be certain hedoes not get too far from the goal while positioning, saving, or swimming out. Good orientation is animportant pre-condition of the goalie’s security.SAVING A FLAT SHOT: Diagram sequence A. A1 A2 A3 A4Observing the rhythm of a player’s movements as he drives towards the goal, the goalkeeper is readybefore the moment of the shot. His legs and arms are ready for swift emergence, and at the momentwhen the ball flies from the attacker’s hand for a shot, the goalkeeper begins to rise rapidly from thewater (A1). He measures the course of the ball at a glance and, drawing his hands from the water (2),he throws himself in the pat of the ball (3-4). At the summit of his rise (3), he begins to stretch out hisleft arm quickly, in order to block the path of the ball. At the same time, the right arm serves tomaintain his balance (A3-4). The goalie has well calculated the course of the shot flying crosswise,and through the interjection of his body and the complete stretching out of his left arm, he is able toreach the ball with the safest defending surface – the palm of his hand – striking the ball downwards.This movement of the palm directs the ball, so that it hits the water close to the goalie and he is ableto gather it easily, while his body sinks back into the water. This is the correct defensive method inthe case of swift, flat shots directed towards the corner, when the goalie does not have enough timeto reach for the ball with both hands.
THE LOB SHOT. Diagram Sequence B.One of the most difficult of all shots for the goalkeeper to deal with is the lob shot. There are twoways of blocking the lob shot: in the first, the ball is not flying very high and can be blocked in theright corner of the goal with the right hand. (B 1-4). B1 B2 B3 B4THE LOB SHOT. Diagram Sequence C.A more difficult technique is to block the lob shot with the opposite hand when the ball is flying veryhigh towards the right corner and it is impossible to block with the right hand (Seq. C). Aninexperienced goalkeeper will make an instinctive move on this type of shot with his right hand, andwhile this is a natural move, it is a poor choice. The correct move to make should be with the lefthand, while the right hand remains in the water for support and to help swim under the ball (C4, 5,6). This move should be made right across the face of the goal. The eyes should never leave the ball;even if it is missed the goalie should continue to swim, because the shot may hit the top of the goaland so end up drifting in for a score after the goalie has given up on it. C1 C2 C3THE LOB SHOT: Diagram Sequence C.The goalie, beginning to move as the attacker swings his arm, has already noticed that the ball is notflying in the direction indicated by the feint C1. In response to the high curved slow ball, he starts torise from the water C2, C3, and induces a supporting movement with his right hand: C4, 5, 6. At thesummit of the body’s rise, the completely out-stretched left arm meets the ball C4, 5. This is thecorrect manner of defense for lobbed shots.
C4 C5 C6 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * When blocking a shot with the hands is impractical, the ball should be taken on any part ofthe body that the goalie can manage to get in the path of the ball. This may include the arms, elbows,shoulders, and even the head or face, if such is necessary to prevent a goal: Diagrams D1 – 5. D1 D2 D3 D4 D5USING DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BODY TO PARRY, OR BLOCK, A SHOT: Diagram Sequence D.
“THE FUNDAMENTALS OF WATER POLO” by PROFESSOR MICHAEL RYZHAK Professor of Sport and Physical Education At the Russia State Medical University, Moscow. STARTING AND TURNING. When I spoke about general fundamentals of water polo in my previous articles, Iemphasized the importance of the start and turn in the game. So, in this next article I want to show,with the aid of diagrams, different kinds of Start and Turns. It often happens during play that a player suddenly needs to swing into rapid movementfrom a position of rest or very slow motion, and therefore the player must acquire skill in starting.The pre-condition for good starting is constant alertness: this means the water polo player shouldalways be in that position of preparedness which is most suitable for making the first movements ofstroking. A player in such a position of preparedness lies high in the water, only allowing his legs tosink just deep enough to provide the proper support for a very quick and powerfully executedscissors kick. His arms, slightly bent at the elbow, lie just beneath the surface, his head being out ofthe water: see Diagram Sequence A picture 1. The vigorous scissors kick of the legs, and thesimultaneous pulling movement of the left arm, sets the body in motion: pictures A 2 and 3. At thesame time, the right arm stretches out with a forward and downward movement: pictures A 2 to 5.As the pull of the left arm begins, the body turns over on its right side: A 2 to 4. When the pull iscompleted, and the arm emerging from the water is swung forward, the body again turns over to thebreast, taking up the position of crawl stroke: A 4 and 5. The following pull of the left arm is already acrawl arm stroke, which is then joined by the crawl leg kick, thus increasing the speed of the glidingbody: A5. A1 A2 A3 A4 A5
The frequently changing situations of play require, in addition to quick Starts, other abilitiestoo, one of the most important among these being the rapid change of direction i.e. turning. Itfrequently happens that a player, either of his own accord – e.g. in order to feint, or for some otherreason – has suddenly to change direction in the midst of very fast swimming. In such an instance, heperforms a slackening movement under the water with the arm corresponding to the direction inwhich he wishes to turn and, swinging the other arm above the water in the direction of his turn, hebegins to turn his body. The forward-swung arm catching the water assists with a vigorous pull toincrease the speed of the turn. In the meantime the player tucks his legs close to his body to decreasethe speed-reducing resistance surface: see the sequence of diagrams B numbers 1 to 3. B1 B2 B3 As soon as the turn in the desired direction has been executed, the first swimming motion ofthe Start is begun: B No 4, as previously described above. B4 B4This method of changing direction with the ball – used to enable the offensive player to shield theball from his opponent – has its shielding effect accomplished by continually turning and keeping thebody between the ball and the guard. Also, this method is superior to spinning the ball, which in thepast was used as the sole means of changing the course of the dribble.
Spinning the ball incorporates the use of the hand and wrist to knock the ball to the desired spot: Diagram Sequence C. If dribbling the ball whilst in a prone swimming position, the technique for turning it is as follows: grasp the ball with the hand, and either by gripping with the fingers and thumb, or by rolling the ball, raise the ball out of the water: pictures C 1 to 3. Move the ball to a position in line with the next desired direction of travel, and then place it back on the water – refer back to Diagrams B No. 4 – directly in front of the dribbler’s nose – or keep the ball on the hand in order to shoot or to pass the ball in the chosen direction: Diagrams C Nos. 4 and 5. Once again the scissors kick is the best leg action for use with the turning skills: refer to Diagrams C Nos. 4 and 5. Bring the legs towards the chest (C 2 and 3) as the ball is grasped and, as the body is turned towards the desired direction, use a strong scissors kick to get under way: C 4 and 5. During the turn, the arm opposite the ball should be scooping or pushing the water in an effort to rotate the body to the new position: see Diagrams B 1 to 3, and C 1 to 5. C1 C1 C2 C2 C3 C3 C4 C4MICHAEL RYZHAK.Moscow, February 1994. C5 C5 From these descriptions of the start and turn, it becomes readily apparent why it is essential for a water polo player to swim the front crawl with short arm strokes. Such short and frequent arm strokes make it possible for the player to change his movement very quickly, which he could not do if he swam with long gliding arm strokes. If these basic and essential abilities are lacking in a player, then the perfect execution of high-standard tactical ideas becomes impossible.
A. Leg Movements Under The Water While Treading Water Using the Breast Stroke
SWIMMING EXERCISES FOR WATER POLO PLAYERS The swimming exercises of a water polo player may be divided into two groups. The firstincludes learning and practicing the correct techniques of the different swimming styles: front crawl,breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, side stroke, and swimming under the water. Since suitableprograms for such exercises are readily available, they are not being repeated here. In doing these exercises, it is most essential that the technical requirements of style, whichwere pointed out in the explanations of the various swimming strokes are carefully followed, and themovements perfected. The second group includes swimming exercises, which develop agility and adroitness.Among these exercises, particular care should be devoted to “water treading” which is the actualsustaining movement of a water polo player’s body. While treading water the player’s body floatsvertically in the water and his legs perform a movement, which is a combination of those legmovements used in breast stroke and side stroke. The legs can be moved simultaneously by a quickclosing together, or left, then right, successively. Sometimes the hands perform a fan-like movementclose to the hips while treading, and when rising from the water the hands help the movement withdownward pressure. These movements are shown in the two pages of Diagrams A and B, the first of which showleg movements under water, when treading water using the breast stroke kick, while the secondsequence shows underwater movements using the “egg beater” kicks of successive leg movements. Inboth sequences of diagrams, particular attention should be paid to pictures Nos. 6 and 7, since thosegive a correct understanding of the position of ankle, toes and heel that provides the main propulsionas the foot is driven downwards each time. TREADING WATER and SLIDING with the ball held high in one hand – see diagramsequence No. 1.During this movement the hand is not rigid, but is performing a continuous forwards and backwardswaving motion. This exercise should be performed with both arms equally, and most practicalmethod is in the form of a relay race, the teams to include all available players. In addition to the fundamental swimming, BALL HANDLING and CONTROL is the basis ofwater polo technique. The teaching of the basic HOLDS and THROWS must be undertaken with the greatest carein the training of beginners.
B. Leg Movements Under The Water While Treading Water Using “Egg-Beater Kicks”
BASIC HOLDS AND THROWS IN WATER POLO The teaching of basic HOLDS and THROWS is vital to the development of secure ballhandling and control, on which so much water polo play depends. It cannot be over-emphasized thatsuch teaching must always be undertaken with the greatest care during the training of beginners andnovice players. LIFTING THE BALL It is strongly recommended that TOP POSITION BALL LIFTING TECHNIQUE should be thefirst to be learned by the player. This is mainly due to the fact that this skill will be used throughoutthe entire duration of a player’s career. There are several ways of holding and lifting the ball. LIFTING THE BALL FROM UNDERNEATH This method requires the hand to be placed beneath the ball, with the fingers and thumbspread comfortably, and the ball is cradled in the hand. As the ball is raised, there should be verylittle gripping or pinching of the ball, though there should be slight pressure applied to avoid andjostling of the ball. At the same time that it is being raised, the hand should be rotated to the startingposition for the forehand. [see diagrams No. 2 below] 2. Lifting the Ball from Underneath It should be emphasized that the ball should never be allowed to touch the palm of the hand:it should be contained on the entire length of four fingers and rest on the thumb and the fatty padbelow the thumb. The fundamental hold should first be learned in shallow water, where the player can standon the bottom and practice the skill until he becomes both confident and proficient. Next the playershould move to deeper water while continuing to practice the skill, until he is ready to execute the liftto the throwing position and then finish the move with the throwing motion. LIFTING THE BALL FROM ABOVE Place the hand on top of the ball, fingers spread so that the hand covers close to maximumarea of the ball: press it into the water and, as the ball bounces out of the water, the palm is turnedunder it with a quick wrist movement.
As the ball is lifted, the hand is rotated thumb first to a position to the rear of the head, andslightly above the ear. It is from this position that all overhead shots and passes will be initiated.[Diagrams No. 3 below and on previous page] 3. Lifting the Ball from Above SIDE LIFT There are variations of the first methods of lifting the ball from the water, one of the morecommon of these being the SIDE or BACKHAND LIFT. In this lift the skill is affected by rotating thehand from on top of the ball – thumb first – until the hand can cradle, or lift it. Then the ball is liftedclear of the water and then by a pass, a flick, or a push, is moved to the side of the rear. [See diagramNo. 4 that follows] 4. Side Lift of the BallTO LIFT THE BALL WITH THE HELP OF THE FOREARM The support provided by the palm and thewide-spread fingers may be greatly increased by bending the wrist inwards. This enables the playerto press the ball against his forearm, thus increasing the firmness of his grasp. [See Diagrams No. 5below] 5. Lifting the Ball with the Help of the Forearm
TO LIFT THE BALL WITH THE HELP OF THE FINGERS [See Diagram No. 6 below] 6. Lifting the Ball with the Help of the FingersCATCHING THE BALL During the play, the player’s activity is by no means restricted to balls lifted from the water:he must just as frequently catch the ball flying in the air. This catching the ball in the air – or ‘receiptof the ball’ – has its own definite movements. When the catching of the ball is executed with the correct movements even the most rapidly-flying ball rests securely, or as it is called “sticks” in the player’s hand. Making the ball “stick” isassured by a series of movements, which, at the moment of contact, prevent the ball rebounding fromthe player’s palm. The player – concentrating his attention on the ball flying towards him – reachesahead to meet the ball [Diagrams No. 7 Picture A.] In the moment before contact is made with theball, the tense muscles of the arm are relaxed, the fingers spread out, and the elbow begins to bend[Picture B]. 7. Catching the Ball.The force of the ball is reduced at the moment of contact first by the elasticity of the loosely-heldfingers, and then by the bending of the elbow. These movements should be made rapidly enough toconform to the speed of the ball. This series of movements is completed by a dynamic yielding actionof the whole arm, an action that originates in the shoulder.
The next sequence of diagrams [No. 8] emphasizes the importance of the correct positioningof the fingers while catching the ball. 1 2 3 4 8. The Correct Positioning of the Fingers
9. Catching the Ball Diagram Sequences No. 9 and 10 relate to a player’s skill in catching and passing the ball –exercising to improve these skills will be given later. 10. Passing the Ball