The birth of women’s water polo
Water polo originated in the second half of the 19th century in Great Britain thanks to a man named William Wilson. It is based on the principles of rugby. In 1900, this discipline was included in the program of the Olympic Games. The first world championship was held in 1973, then only men were among the participants. Women’s teams have been on the world stage since 1986. The fair sex of Great Britain are the first women in the world who got acquainted with the game of water polo. The first evidence of women playing water polo is found in the UK. Engraving “Polo at sea”, printed in 1875 on the pages of the London magazine “Punch”; it depicts not only men, but also women in bathing suits, who, standing on flat-bottomed boats, similar to a kayak, throw the ball with a two-bladed oar. It is generally accepted that the first official women’s water polo match was held in Holland in 1906. However, there is fragmentary information about women’s water polo competitions in swimming clubs in British resort towns.
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Features of women’s water polo
Women’s water polo has some differences from men’s. Initially, only the dimensions and duration of the game differed. Other sizes of the field, gates, balls. For women’s competitions, the size of the playing field was no more than 18 x 12 m, and for men’s this figure was 20-30 x 15-20 m, the height of the goal for women was 80 cm, and the width was 2.35 meters. For men, the goal was 1 m high and 3 m wide. The ball for women was 47–52 cm in diameter, the men used a ball with a diameter of 67–71 cm. The playing time for women was 5 minutes/period, while for men – 7 minutes/period.
Over time, most of these differences decided to remove. To date, of the differences, only the difference in the size of the court and the ball remains. The area of the reservoir for women is 25 x 17 meters. For men – 30 x 20 meters. The ball requirements for women are 0.65–0.67 m in circumference and 0.68–0.71 m for men.
Women’s Competition Rules
The team consists of 11 people. There are 7 of them on the field, this is the goalkeeper and field players. The rest are spares. They can replace players on the field in case of injury.
The game begins with the fact that both teams are each at their own gates. The ball is placed in the center of the court. After the referee’s signal, the fastest of the players tend to take possession of the ball. Thus, the team that can do this has a significant advantage in the game. Once a player has possession of the ball, he has a maximum of 30 seconds to attack. The main goal is to get the ball into the opponent’s goal. A goal is scored if the ball has completely crossed the goal line between the posts. Competitions are held in 4 stages or periods. Each period lasts 8 minutes. A break between them is from 2 to 5 minutes.
Gestures and tricks underwater
As for gestures, they are mainly used by referees, as they communicate with the players. The whistle also helps with this. Athletes during the game have a number of principles that they impeccably follow.
- Always keep the ball in sight.
- Make decisions quickly.
- Move as fast as possible in the water.
- Cover the ball from the opponent with the body.
- Watch the reaction of the partner: if he does not look in the direction of the one who gives the pass, do not give the pass.
- Do not hold the ball in your possession.
- Do not interfere with your ally who has the ball.
Women’s water polo requires endurance and concentration from the fair sex. This is a very spectacular sport that takes place directly in the reservoir. Thus, difficult conditions are created for athletes. To succeed, a woman needs to be more than just a strong and excellent swimmer. It is important to combine physical fitness and strategy skills.