Water Polo: Essential Gear and Equipment You Need to Play

what do i need for water polo

If you are interested in playing water polo, you may be wondering what you need to get started. Water polo is a physically demanding sport that requires a specific set of equipment. While you don’t need a lot of gear to get started, having the right equipment can make a big difference in your performance and safety.

The most essential piece of equipment you will need for water polo is a swimsuit. Your swimsuit should fit snugly and allow you to move freely in the water.

You may also want to consider wearing a water polo cap, which can help protect your head from the ball and make it easier for your teammates to spot you in the water. Other important pieces of equipment include a water polo ball, goggles, and a mouthguard.

Essential Equipment

Water polo is a physically demanding sport that requires specific equipment to play safely and effectively. Here are the essential items you need to play water polo:


Your swimsuit should be tight-fitting and made of a durable material that can withstand the physical demands of water polo. Many players prefer to wear a one-piece swimsuit, although some also wear two-piece suits. Choose a swimsuit that is comfortable and allows for a full range of motion.


Goggles are an essential piece of equipment for water polo players. They protect your eyes from the chlorine in the pool and from stray fingers and elbows during the game.

Look for goggles that are specifically designed for water polo, as they are more durable and have a wider field of vision than regular swim goggles.


A mouthguard is a crucial piece of equipment in water polo. It protects your teeth and mouth from impact and can prevent serious injuries.

Many leagues require players to wear a mouthguard, so make sure you check the rules before you play. Choose a mouthguard that fits comfortably and allows you to speak and breathe easily.


A water polo cap is a colored headgear worn by players to identify their team and to protect their ears from the ball. The cap is also used to grab and hold onto during the game. The caps are usually made of a durable material and come in different sizes to fit players of all ages.


The ball used in water polo is unique and specific to the sport. It is made of a waterproof material and is designed to be easy to grip and throw.

The ball is smaller and heavier than a regular soccer ball, and it comes in different sizes for men and women. Make sure you choose a ball that is appropriate for your age and skill level.

Optional Equipment

While the essential equipment for playing water polo is limited, there are various optional items that can help you improve your game, protect yourself, and keep your gear organized. Here are some of the optional equipment that you may consider:

Training Gear

Water polo is a physically demanding sport that requires strength, endurance, and agility. To enhance your performance and conditioning, you may want to invest in some training gear that can help you train more effectively and comfortably. Some examples of training gear that you may find useful are:

  • Swim fins: Swim fins can help you strengthen your legs, improve your kicking technique, and increase your speed and power in the water. They come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, so you can choose the ones that fit you best.
  • Pull buoy: A pull buoy is a floating device that you place between your legs to isolate your upper body and arms during swimming. This can help you improve your arm stroke, breathing, and body position, and build upper body strength.
  • Resistance bands: Resistance bands are elastic bands that you can use to add resistance to your movements and exercises. They can help you build strength, flexibility, and endurance in various muscle groups, including your arms, shoulders, and core.

Protective Gear

Water polo is also a contact sport that involves physical contact between players, the ball, and the goalposts. To protect yourself from injuries and bruises, you may want to consider using some protective gear that can cushion and shield your body. Some examples of protective gear that you may use are:

  • Ear guards: Ear guards are lightweight and flexible pads that cover your ears to prevent them from getting hit or pulled by opponents or the ball. They can also reduce the risk of ear infections and cauliflower ear.
  • Nose clip: A nose clip is a small device that you clip on your nose to prevent water from entering your nostrils during swimming. This can help you breathe more comfortably and avoid nasal irritation or infections.
  • Arm sleeves: Arm sleeves are sleeves made of neoprene or other materials that cover your arms to provide warmth, compression, and protection. They can help you prevent muscle strains, bruises, and sunburns.

Waterproof Bag

Since water polo involves getting wet and changing clothes frequently, you may want to have a waterproof bag that can keep your gear dry, organized, and accessible. Some features that you may look for in a waterproof bag are:

  • Size: The bag should be large enough to fit all your gear, including your ball, cap, goggles, towel, and extra clothes.
  • Material: The bag should be made of waterproof and durable material, such as PVC, nylon, or polyester, that can withstand exposure to chlorine, saltwater, and sunlight.
  • Compartments: The bag should have multiple compartments and pockets that can separate your wet and dry gear, your valuables, and your snacks and drinks.
  • Straps: The bag should have comfortable and adjustable straps that can allow you to carry it on your shoulder or back, and that can distribute the weight evenly.

Training Tips

Training is an essential part of water polo. It is important to have a well-rounded training program that includes conditioning exercises, skills and drills, and game strategy. Here are some tips to help you improve your game:

Conditioning Exercises

Water polo requires a lot of endurance and strength. Therefore, conditioning exercises are crucial to improve your overall fitness. Several effective drills include:

  • Passing drills
  • Shooting drills
  • Defensive drills
  • Offensive drills

Skills and Drills

Water polo requires a variety of skills, including swimming, passing, shooting, and defending. To improve your skills, you should practice drills that focus on specific aspects of the game. Some effective drills include:

  • Passing drills
  • Shooting drills
  • Defensive drills
  • Offensive drills

Game Strategy

Understanding game strategy is important to be successful in water polo. You should focus on developing a game plan that capitalizes on your team’s strengths and exploits your opponent’s weaknesses. Some effective game strategies include:

  • Zonal defense
  • Man-to-man defense
  • Counter-attacking
  • Set plays

By incorporating these tips into your training program, you can improve your water polo skills and become a more effective player. Remember to always consult with a coach or trainer to ensure that your training program is safe and effective.


Now that you know the basics of water polo, you can start preparing for your first game. Remember that water polo requires a lot of stamina, strength, and skill. You need to be able to swim fast, tread water for long periods, and handle the ball with accuracy and speed.

To get started, you need a few essential pieces of equipment, including a swimsuit, a water polo cap, and a mouthguard. You may also want to invest in a pair of water polo gloves and ear guards to protect your hands and ears from injury.

When it comes to training, focus on building your endurance and strength through swimming, weightlifting, and other exercises. Practice your ball handling skills, passing, shooting, and defending techniques to become a well-rounded player.

Finally, remember that water polo is a team sport, and you need to work together with your teammates to succeed. Communicate effectively, support each other, and always give your best effort. With dedication and hard work, you can become a skilled water polo player and enjoy the many benefits of this exciting sport.