Is Water Polo a Full Contact Sport? Here’s What You Need to Know

Is Water Polo a Full Contact Sport

Water polo is often referred to as the “toughest sport in the world,” and for good reason. It’s a game that requires incredible physical strength, endurance, and mental toughness. But what about its level of contact? Is water polo a full contact sport?

This is a question that many people ask, and in this article, we’re going to explore the answer. We’ll take a deep dive into the rules of the game, the physical demands placed on players, and the level of contact involved.

So whether you’re a die-hard water polo fan or simply someone curious about the sport, get ready to discover the truth about whether or not water polo is a full contact sport.

Overview of Water Polo

Water polo is played in a pool that is at least 2 meters deep, 30 meters long between goals, and 20 meters wide. The width between goalposts is 3 meters, and the crossbar is at least 0.9 meters above the surface of the water. Players must swim constantly during the game, and they can only touch the ball with one hand at a time.

Water polo is recognized for its physical nature, and players are almost always in contact with one another. To guard against an offensive player, the defender must maintain contact with the opponent by keeping at least one hand on them at all times.

Players are allowed to use their bodies to push and block opponents, but they are not allowed to hold, hit, or kick opponents.

Water polo requires a unique combination of swimming ability, strength, and endurance. Players must be able to swim quickly and efficiently while also being able to push and block opponents. In addition, players must be able to throw the ball accurately and with power in order to score goals.

Full Contact Sports

Definition of Full Contact Sports

Full contact sports are any sports in which significant physical impact force on players is allowed or within the rules of the game. These sports are usually divided into two categories: combat sports and contact action sports.

Combat sports involve using techniques such as striking, kicking, grappling, tackling, blocking, or weapons to win. In contrast, contact action sports prioritize the main objective of the game over player contact.

Examples of Full Contact Sports

Examples of combat sports include boxing, mixed martial arts (MMA), judo, karate, and wrestling. These sports involve direct physical contact between players and often result in injuries.

Contact action sports include football, rugby, ice hockey, and water polo. In these sports, physical contact is a secondary effect of attaining the goals of the game. In water polo, for example, players use their bodies to block opponents from scoring goals.

It is important to note that not all sports that involve physical contact are considered full contact sports. For example, basketball and soccer involve physical contact, but they are not classified as full contact sports.

Overall, full contact sports can be exciting to watch and participate in, but they also come with a risk of injury. It is important for athletes to take proper precautions and follow safety guidelines to minimize the risk of harm.

Physicality in Water Polo

Water polo requires significant physical exertion. Players must be able to swim for extended periods of time while also engaging in full-contact gameplay. This section will explore the rules and regulations surrounding physical contact in water polo, as well as the ways in which players engage in physical contact during gameplay.

Rules and Regulations

Despite being a full-contact sport, water polo has established rules and regulations to safeguard players’ well-being. According to the International Swimming Federation (FINA), players are not allowed to engage in violent conduct, including hitting, kicking, or striking an opponent.

Players are also not allowed to impede the free movement of an opponent unless they are within playing distance of the ball.

Players who violate these rules may receive a yellow or red card, depending on the severity of the offense. A yellow card results in a player being excluded from the game for 20 seconds, while a red card results in a player being excluded from the game for the remainder of the match.

Physical Contact in Water Polo

Despite the rules and regulations in place, physical contact is a common occurrence in water polo. Players use a variety of techniques to gain an advantage over their opponents, including holding, pushing, and grabbing. These techniques are used to gain control of the ball or to prevent an opponent from scoring.

In addition to these techniques, players also engage in physical contact during set plays, such as the center forward position.

In this position, a player attempts to gain control of the ball while being guarded by an opponent. This often involves physical contact, as the player must use their body to shield the ball from the defender.

Overall, physicality is a crucial aspect of water polo. While there are rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of players, physical contact is still a common occurrence during gameplay. Players must be able to withstand physical contact while also maintaining their focus on the game in order to be successful in water polo.

Injuries in Water Polo

Water polo is a unique aquatic sport that combines swimming and throwing abilities, setting it apart from other aquatic disciplines. As with any contact sport, injuries can occur. This section will discuss common injuries in water polo and their prevention and treatment.

Common Injuries in Water Polo

Injuries in water polo can be classified into two categories: acute and chronic injuries. Acute injuries are sudden and traumatic, while chronic injuries are caused by overuse and repetitive motions.

Acute injuries in water polo are often caused by physical contact with other players. The most common acute injuries in water polo are concussions, cuts, bruises, and fractures.

Research has shown that the combination of swimming and throwing without the benefit of protective gear can lead to injuries such as shoulder dislocation and rotator cuff tears.

Chronic injuries in water polo are often caused by repetitive motions and overuse. The most common chronic injuries in water polo are shoulder impingement, tendinitis, and stress fractures.

These injuries can be prevented by proper training and conditioning, as well as by using proper technique during play.

Prevention and Treatment of Injuries

Preventing injuries in water polo requires proper training, conditioning, and technique. Players should be properly conditioned to handle the physical demands of the sport, and coaches should emphasize proper technique during play to minimize the risk of injury.

In addition to proper training and conditioning, players should also wear appropriate protective gear, such as mouthguards and ear guards.

This can help prevent injuries such as concussions and cuts. In the event of an injury, prompt treatment is essential to prevent further damage and to facilitate recovery.

Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation, as well as physical therapy and rehabilitation. In conclusion, water polo is a contact sport that can lead to injuries if proper precautions are not taken.

Coaches and players should prioritize proper training, conditioning, and technique, as well as the use of appropriate protective gear, to minimize the risk of injury. In the event of an injury, prompt treatment is essential to facilitate recovery and prevent further damage.


Water polo is a demanding sport that requires a combination of swimming, tackling, throwing, sprinting, and body contact. Players are almost always in contact with one another in water polo, which is a full-contact sport.

The game is played in a pool with a minimum depth of 2 meters, and the pool is 30 meters long between goals and 20 meters wide. The width between goalposts is 3 meters, and the crossbar is at least 0.9 meters above the surface of the water.

Players in water polo are frequently engaged in tough grappling contests and challenging body contact as they try to gain a positional advantage. Water polo is renowned for its physicality, and conditioning is intense.

Players must prepare to physically be able to play a full four-quarter game and hopefully be much stronger and better fit than their opponents. Being weaker can cost a team the game.

In summary, water polo is a sport that involves full-contact and requires sustained high-intensity physical exertion, as well as sudden bursts of effort.

It requires players to be in excellent physical condition and to have a strong understanding of the game’s rules and strategies. Water polo provides players with a challenging and rewarding experience that requires teamwork, strategy, and skill.