Water Polo

OOSC Water Polo est 2014

2017 Old Orchard Water Polo Program

The Old Orchard Swim Club is very pleased to once again offer Water Polo sessions this summer. If you are between the ages of 8 and 18 and are interested in attending Old

Orchard Water Polo, the sessions are scheduled for the following dates from 6:30 PM to 7:45 PM:
• Monday – 6/19 {Soft Pretzels served after practice}
• Monday – 6/26 {Ice Cream Cups served after practice}
• Monday – 7/10 {Italian Water Ice served after practice}
• Monday – 7/17 {Soft Pretzels served after practice}
• Monday – 8/07 {Ice Cream Cups served after practice}
• Monday – 8/14 {Italian Water Ice served after practice}
Since 2014 the club has hosted water polo sessions during the summer months in an effort to expand the scope of water activities for the club’s young members. These sessions offer fun competition, training, and sportsmanship in a safe setting.
If you are interested in participating, please sign up on the registration sheet at the pool.

This program is FREE to Old Orchard members. Prior to the first session, all participants should review the OOSC website http://www.oldorchardswimclub.com/old-orchardwater-polo/
for important information about the program.
Dan Thompson
OOSC Water Polo Coordinator

The 2016 OOSC Water Polo Team

Session Structure:       

  1. Group Discussion:
  • Basic Rules of “Old Orchard Water Polo”, which is limited in scale and caters to our younger athletes
  • Equipment
  • Safety
  • Conditioning – Water Polo helps with building endurance & stamina
  • Positive Attitude, Teamwork and Sportsmanship
  1. Warm-Up:
  • Modified Strokes: Freestyle & Breaststroke
  • Treading Water
  • Eggbeater Kick
  • Passing & Ball handling Skills
  1. Scrimmage Games:
  • The coaches will place participants onto age-appropriate teams for small 4 v. 4 games.

NOTE:  Each practice session will offer plenty of quality swimming for each participant.  Participants will get ample exercise & rest! Additionally, the amount of time that a swimmer is permitted to play will be based upon the coaching staff’s assessment of the athlete’s ability to comfortably tread water, handle the ball and swim without assistance. For anyone who is not able to meet these basic playing requirements, we will encourage these individuals to watch and cheer for their “Otter” teammates.

The 2015 OOSC Water Polo Team

Basic Equipment:

Pool / Goals / Water Polo Balls / Swim suits / Swim Caps {Must be worn under the game caps} / Protective Water Polo Game Caps {Blue & White}.

IMPORTANT:  For safety reasons, players will not be permitted to wear glasses*, goggles*, bands, jewelry, watches or any other materials during water polo sessions.  

{*Any exceptions are at the discretion of the Referee & Coaches}  

Additionally, players are encouraged to cut their fingernails, which will help to prevent any scratches.


Old Orchard Water Polo” utilizes slightly modified rules when compared to high-level competitive Water Polo leagues.   The sport is played with two teams competing in a pool, each trying to score the most points by throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal.  The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Pool Playing Field:

Due to size limitations, the “Old Orchard Water Polo” playing field consists of the diving well and the deeper portion of the competition pool.  The area is marked with sidelines and cones, including 5-meter cones and a mid-pool cone.

5-Pass Rule:

A team must complete 5 consecutive passes without interruption outside of the 5-meter cones prior to shooting the ball at the opponent’s goal.  “Old Orchard Water Polo” utilizes this rule in place of a 30-second shot clock as a way to help players better learn the fundamental water polo skills.


The players swim in the pool and use only one hand to control, pass and shoot the ball.  Players are not permitted to touch the bottom or push off of the walls.

Instead of having 7 players per team {6 field players and 1 goalie}, Old Orchard’s intrasquad teams use only 4 field players in the pool at one time with no goalies.  Each game has two continuous 10-minute halves and a 5-minute halftime break.  Additionally, the assigned coaches ensure that all players participate in the games.  All substitute players not in the water must sit in the designated team areas near their own goals.

Coaches / Officials:

The coaches will teach the fundamental skills, including:

  • Rules of the game
  • Essential Skill Instructions:
    • Modified swim strokes & treading techniques
    • Ball Control – Dribbling, Passing, Catching, Shooting & Blocking
    • Communication with teammates.
    • Proper positioning.
    • Concepts of Offense & Defense.

During scrimmages, the coaches will stand on the pool deck {near the goal that their team is defending} and will offer direction & feedback to their teams / players.

The referee will supervise the scrimmage games from the side of the pool by using a whistle and various arm signals to manage play.  The referee is in charge and is responsible for the following:

      • Starting & Stopping the game
      • Determining fouls / penalties / ball possession
      • Determining whether or not a shot on goal qualifies as a score

How does a Water Polo game begin?

  • The start of each half begins with the 4 players from each team lining up along their own goal line wall closest to the goal they are defending.
  • The referee will do the following:
    1. The Ref will raise one arm vertically and then lowers it while blowing the whistle. This signals the start of each half.
    2. At the sound of the whistle the players sprint towards the mid-pool.
    3. The Ref will then drop the ball into the water near the mid-pool cone.
  • The two opposing teams attempt to gain control of the ball.
  • The team that gains possession will then be on offense and will try to move the ball towards the opponent’s goal.


  • Goal Size: 6 feet wide, 3 feet high and 3 feet deep.
  • Score:  This occurs when the ball completely crosses the goal line and enters the net or when the ball strikes the pool wall below the coping but within the two goal posts.  Only the referee will determine if a goal is scored.   The referee will signal a goal by sounding the whistle and noting the player number who scored.

Restarting Play After A Goal:

After a goal is scored, both teams will move back to their original sides of the pool.  The referee will then restart play by giving possession of the ball to the non-scoring team and sounding the whistle.  There must be 5 consecutive passes among teammates without interruption or turnover outside of the 5-meter cones prior to shooting the ball.


These are made when play has stopped, between periods, after goals and during timeouts. Players enter and exit the pool in the area between the goal they are defending and the sidewall closest to the referee. The coaches will supervise & monitor all substitutions.

Ordinary “Minor” Fouls:

  • Standing or Pushing off the bottom of the pool
  • Holding the ball underwater {Dunking} … using the ball as a flotation device!
  • Using clenched fists &/or punching the ball
  • Holding the ball with 2 hands
  • Impeding the free movement of a player who is not holding the ball.
  • Incidental pushing or kicking off an opponent
  • Holding the walls or lane lines
  • Incidental reaching over an opponent’s head, shoulders or arms for the ball:
  • Throwing / tipping the ball out-of-bounds
  • Delaying to take a free throw / unnecessary game delays
  • No player is permitted to act as a goaltender. A foul will be called if a player is treading water in front of his or her own goal for over 10 seconds.

     Referee Action:

  • Ref blows whistle and identifies the team/player that committed the foul.
  • Ref may explain the reasoning for the call.
  • Ref will award a free throw to the other team by using one arm to show the place where the ball is to be put into play and using the other arm to point in the direction of attack.
  • The team/player awarded the ball then has 3 seconds to pass the ball into play without interference from a defender.

Exclusion “Major” Fouls

  • Player leaves the pool without permission
  • Player interferes with a free throw prior to the expiration of the 3 second “no interference” time
  • Splashing water in the face of another player
  • Blatant and aggressive holding, grabbing, kicking, pushing, pinching, punching, scratching and/or biting {especially when the opponent is in a scoring position!}
  • Aggressively throwing of the ball at another player
  • Forcing another player underwater (Sinking)
  • Use of bad language, Disrespectful & Unsportsmanlike behavior

      Referee Action:

  • Ref blows whistle and identifies the team/player that committed the foul.
  • Ref points to the player and then moves the arm quickly toward the designated penalty area.
  • The “Excluded Player” must exit the pool playing field near the designated penalty area. The player may re-enter the field of play after the earliest of the following:
    • 20-seconds of actual play have elapsed
    • A goal is scored
    • The excluded player’s team has retaken possession.
      • NOTE: The Ref will designate when the player can return in “Old Orchard Water Polo”!
    • If an athlete gets a total of 3 exclusions in a game, they must sit out the remainder of the game.
    • Ref will award a free throw to the other team by using one arm to show the place where the ball is to be put into play and using the other arm to point in the direction of attack. This team gains a one-player advantage during the 20-second penalty.
    • Old Orchard Water Polo” does not award “penalty throws/shots” since there are no goalies.

Old Orchard Water Polo Terms:

  • Dunking: A player controlling the ball cannot take it underwater.  If this occurs, a minor foul is called.
  • Defensive Players: These players try to stop their opponents from scoring.
  • Dribble: To swim with the ball floating in front of the face and between both arms using a modified freestyle craw stroke or breaststroke (with head above water).
  • Drive: To swim quickly toward the goal without the ball in an effort to become open for a pass.
  • Driver: Offensive player facing the opponent’s goal.
  • Drop: A strategy in which a defender swims back towards the goal he/she is defending in an effort to protect it from incoming offensive players who control the ball.
  • Dry pass: A pass in which the ball never touches the water.
  • Eggbeater Kick: This form of treading water uses an alternating breaststroke kick that helps to elevate a player above the surface of the water.
  • Free throw: A free pass granted immediately following a foul.
  • Impede: To prevent the movement of a player not holding the ball. The referee may call a minor foul for this and give the “impeded player” possession of the ball.
  • Offensive Players: These players attempt to score goals.
  • Press: When the defenders guard the offensive players very closely.
  • Sinking: This is when one player forces another player underwater. If this occurs, a major foul is called.
  • Transition: When a team in the pool switches from offense to defense or defense to offense.
  • Turnover: When the team with the ball loses control due to a bad pass, a foul, a steal or a bad shot

The 2014 OOSC Water Polo Team

Interesting Water Polo Facts:

  1. While Water Polo has been a well-known sport in Europe for over a hundred years, its popularity within the United States has been limited. Even so, over the past 20-years the sport has gained more recognition and it is now played in many High Schools and Colleges across the USA.
  1. Water Polo and Soccer became the first “team” sports to be played in the Olympics in 1900.  Water Polo has remained an Olympic Sport ever since.
  1. Even with the limited exposure in the United States, the US Olympic Men’s Water Polo Team {represented by the NY Athletic Club} won a GOLD medal at the St. Louis Olympics in 1904.
  1. The US Olympic Men’s Water Polo Team also won Olympic medals as follows:

BRONZE – Paris in 1924

BRONZE – Los Angeles in 1932

BRONZE – Munich in 1972

SILVER – Los Angeles in 1984

SILVER – Seoul in 1988

SILVER – Beijing in 2008

NOTE: The 1924 team was led by the Olympic Gold Medal swimmer, Johnny Weissmuller, who later went on to become a Hollywood film star in six “Tarzan” movies.

  1. Over the past 5 Olympics the US Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team has won 5 Medals, including:

SILVER – Sydney in 2000

BRONZE – Athens in 2004

SILVER – Beijing in 2008

GOLD – London in 2012

GOLD – Rio in 2016

NOTE:  These rules have been modified in order to fit the needs of the Old Orchard Swim Club and do not strictly comply with the standards set by USA Water Polo, the National Collegiate Athletic Association or FINA Water Polo{which are the most recognized domestic and international governing Water Polo associations}.

If you are interested in attending the Old Orchard Water Polo sessions, please sign-up at the Old Orchard Swim Club located at 9 Evans Lane, Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003 or send an email to the attention of Dan Thompson using the OOSC website’s “Contact Us” feature.

I hope to see you at the Old Orchard Water Polo sessions this summer.

Dan Thompson

OOSC Water Polo Coordinator

Old Orchard Water Polo

Old Orchard Swim Club, P.O. BOX 2956, 9 Evans Lane, Cherry Hill, New Jersey