Tried Soccer, Basketball and Baseball…Well Maybe It’s Time To Think Outside Of The Box!

Asia Mape
In Learn, Water Polo
By Asia Mape | July 23, 2016

Whenever I tell people my daughter plays Water Polo, they always look somewhat confused. Maybe it’s because they have never met a young girl who plays the sport or maybe because they just don’t know the slightest thing about Water Polo and believe, like some, that it involves horses running after balls in a pool (true story). Although it’s not for everyone, I can guarantee that once you get involved either by playing or watching, you will be hooked. Exciting and fast paced, this physical game blends the best of soccer and basketball and tosses it all into a swimming pool.

2014-04-09_waterpolo-550pipebeing covered

It’s not an easy game and I don’t want to pull any punches here; try to imagine swimming while constantly being grabbed, pulled, pushed, shoved, kneed, kicked AND YOU CAN’T TOUCH THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL. But if your kid likes water, can swim, and hasn’t quite found their niche, this could be a great option. My daughter is NOT a runner, she is big and strong and hates “land” exercise. But get this girl in a pool and it’s a different story; she becomes fast and graceful and explosive! All things that escaped her in the more traditional sports.


One of her coaches who played Water Polo for UCLA told me that he tried every land sport there was as a kid, but it wasn’t until someone got him in the pool, that his potential was reached – and that was at age 13! This is a sport you can start later in life, many play for the first time in high school. Again, it’s not for everyone, but if you have an athletic kid who hasn’t found “their sport” yet, maybe it’s time to give it a try.

pipe with medalpipethrow

The Important Stuff To Know!

    • Your child needs to be a strong swimmer or have a love for water.
    • Club water polo is typically not a “cut” sport, so everyone makes it.
    • Summer heat isn’t a problem; forget all those hot days on the soccer field!
    • This is a sport for kids who enjoy or tolerate physical contact.
    • Your child will have to wear a Speedo, or, for girls, a VERY tight bathing suit that gets jostled and pulled and ends up where the sun doesn’t shine.
    • Your kid will freeze in the winter while getting into and out of pools (most of the warmer states practice in outdoor pools).
    • Your child will need to be tolerant of lots of sunblock and chlorine.
    • Each practice or game will burn upwards of 700 calories and you will be feeding them constantly.
    • You won’t have to deal with a lot of stinky and smelly clothes like other sports.
    • Kids come home showered and clean.
    • Not a lot of people play water polo, so the competition is a much smaller pool of kids than the big four sports – so they have a better chance at being good at it.
    • Many of the younger teams are mixed boys and girls

Here are ten interesting things you should know about Water Polo:

    1. It’s one of the oldest Olympic Team Games, first played in 1900, but Women’s Water Polo wasn’t added for another 100 years at the 2000 Sydney Games.
    2. The U.S. Women’s Water Polo team is favored to win the Gold in Rio for a second straight Olympics; the U.S. Men have yet to win Gold.
    3. “Egg Beater” is a term used to describe the motion players make with their legs while treading water.
    4. Players swim an average of one mile per game.
    5. Field players can only catch, hold or throw the ball with one hand.
    6. No player is allowed to touch the bottom or sides of the pool at any time.
    7. An average game lasts for one hour and it’s generally viewed as the shortest game of any team sport.
    8. Prince William of England was the captain of his collegiate water polo team at St. Andrew’s University, Scotland.
    9. Whistles blow constantly in Water Polo but rarely result in a stoppage of play like in most sports.
    10. The nude bronze statue at the Los Angeles Coliseum was modeled after Water Polo Olympian Terry Schroeder, currently the head coach at Pepperdine.

If we’ve convinced you to give it a try and you’re looking for a club in your area, click here to search for a local club and If a college scholarship is something your child might be after according to, in 2014 there were 112 colleges that had a Varsity Water Polo Team, 36 of them at the Division 1 level. For a complete list of the colleges that offer Water Polo click  here.


  1. This was my kids’ experience too! Very athletic, hated running and excelled but didn’t enjoy “land sports”. My oldest found self confidence and her voice (she was shy and a push over). Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you Andrea!So nice to hear how much it helped your daughter. It’s such an amazing sport. Looking forward to experiencing our first Junior Olympics next week.


Leave a Comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.