Water polo is a fast-paced and challenging sport that requires specialized equipment to play. One of the most important pieces of equipment in water polo is the ball. The ball used in water polo is specifically designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the sport, including being thrown, caught, and submerged in water.
In this article, we will explore the different types of water polo balls, their history, and the specifications that make them unique.
Water polo balls are designed to float on the surface of the water, making it easier for players to pass and shoot. They are also made to be durable and withstand the physical demands of the game. The ball’s size and weight vary depending on the level of play, with different sizes used for men’s, women’s, and junior games.
Water polo balls are an essential part of the game, and their design plays a significant role in the sport’s success. Understanding the characteristics and specifications of water polo balls is crucial for players, coaches, and fans alike. In the following sections, we will explore the different types of water polo balls and their unique features.
History of Water Polo Balls
The origins of water polo balls can be traced back to the late 19th century when the modern game of water polo originated in England and Scotland, making for an intriguing history.
Initially, the game was played in rivers as a form of rugby football, and players used a small ball made of rubber imported from colonial plantations in India, measuring only 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
The ball used in the game was initially called a “water rugby” ball, but later came to be known as a “water polo” ball, based on the English pronunciation of the Balti word for ball, pulu.
With the growing popularity of water polo, the ball used in the game went through several changes. In the early days, the ball was made of rubber and had a smooth surface, which made it challenging to grip and pass. Later, the ball was designed with a rough surface to make it easier to hold and pass.
The size and weight of the ball have also varied over time. The first recorded game of water polo was played in 1873, and the ball used was small, measuring only 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Over time, the size of the water polo ball increased, and by the early 20th century, the ball used in men’s water polo was standardized to have a circumference of 27 to 28 inches and weigh between 14 and 16 ounces.
Today, the ball used in water polo is made of water-resistant materials such as rubber or synthetic rubber. The ball’s size and weight still vary depending on the level of play, with men’s water polo using a size 5 ball, while women’s water polo and boys under 14 use a size 4 ball.
In conclusion, the history of water polo balls is a fascinating one that reflects the evolution of the game of water polo itself. From its humble beginnings as a small rubber ball to the modern water-resistant balls used today, the water polo ball has come a long way. The changes in the ball’s size, weight, and surface have all been made to improve the game’s playability and make it more enjoyable for players and spectators alike.
Water Polo Ball Characteristics
The aim of water polo, a team sport, is to score points by throwing the ball into the opposing team’s goal. The ball used in water polo is specially designed for the sport and has unique characteristics that make it suitable for use in water. Some of the key characteristics of a water polo ball are:
The standard size for a water polo ball is size 5, which is used in men’s water polo. The ball has a circumference of 68-71 cm (26.8-28 inches) and a weight of 400-450 grams (14-16 ounces).
Women’s water polo uses a slightly smaller ball, size 4, which has a circumference of 65-67 cm (25.6-26.4 inches) and a weight of 325-375 grams (11.5-13.2 ounces). Youth water polo may use size 3 or size 2 balls, which are smaller and lighter than the standard size 5 ball.
The weight of a water polo ball is an important factor in its design. The ball needs to be heavy enough to sink in the water, but not so heavy that it is difficult to handle.
The standard weight for a men’s size 5 water polo ball is 400-450 grams (14-16 ounces), while the standard weight for a women’s size 4 ball is 325-375 grams (11.5-13.2 ounces).
Water polo balls are typically bright yellow in color, which makes them easy to see in the water. The bright color also helps players to track the ball during gameplay. Some water polo balls may have additional markings or designs on them to help players grip the ball more easily.
The texture of a water polo ball is designed to make it easy to grip, even when wet. The ball has a rough, textured surface that helps players to hold onto it during gameplay.
The texture also helps to create more resistance in the water, which can make it more difficult for opposing players to steal the ball.
Types of Water Polo Balls
FINA-Approved Water Polo Balls
The governing body for water sports, FINA, has stringent regulations for the water polo balls used in official matches. As per FINA’s regulations, water polo balls are required to have a circumference ranging between 68-71 cm and be of a bright yellow color.
The weight of the ball should be between 400-450 grams, and it should be made of rubber or a similar material that allows for a good grip.
There are several brands of FINA-approved water polo balls, including Mikasa, Turbo, and KAP7. These balls are designed specifically for high-level competition and are used in international tournaments such as the Olympics and World Championships.
Non-FINA-Approved Water Polo Balls
While FINA-approved water polo balls are required for official matches, there are many non-FINA-approved balls that are used for training and casual play.
These balls come in a variety of sizes and materials, and are often less expensive than official balls. Size 5 water polo balls are the standard size for men’s water polo, but smaller sizes such as 4 and 3 are available for women’s and youth water polo. Some non-FINA-approved balls are also designed with unique features such as extra grip or enhanced durability.
It’s important to note that while non-FINA-approved balls may be suitable for training and casual play, they may not meet the strict standards required for official matches.
Players should always check with their coach or league officials to ensure they are using the appropriate ball for their level of play. Overall, whether playing at the highest level of competition or just for fun, choosing the right water polo ball is essential for a successful and enjoyable game.
Selecting the Right Water Polo Ball
To play water polo, a specific ball is required. Selecting the right water polo ball is crucial to the game’s success. The ball’s size, weight, and grip are essential factors to consider when choosing a water polo ball.
Level of Play
The level of play is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a water polo ball. The ball’s size and weight differ based on the level of play. Men’s water polo uses a size 5 ball, while women’s water polo and boys under 14 use a size 4 ball.
Intermediate players may prefer a ball that is easier to grip, while advanced players may prefer a ball that is more challenging to handle. Mikasa W6608.5 Water Polo Ball is a popular choice for intermediate players.
Personal preference is another important factor to consider when selecting a water polo ball. Some players may prefer a ball with a softer texture, while others may prefer a ball with a harder texture. The ball’s texture can affect the player’s grip and control of the ball.
Some players may also prefer a ball with a specific color or design. While this may seem like a minor factor, it can have a psychological impact on the player’s performance.
Budget is an important consideration when selecting a water polo ball. Some balls may be more expensive than others, but this does not necessarily mean they are of higher quality. It is essential to find a ball that fits your budget while still meeting your needs.
There are several affordable options available, such as the Mikasa W6608.5 Water Polo Ball, which is a great choice for intermediate players.
Overall, selecting the right water polo ball is crucial to the game’s success. Consider the level of play, personal preference, and budget when choosing a ball.