What Does Down the Line Mean in Water Polo? A Clear Explanation

What Does Down the Line Mean in Water Polo

When watching a water polo game, you may hear the phrase “down the line” being used by players and coaches. But what does it mean exactly? In water polo, “down the line” refers to a pass that is made from one end of the pool to the other, along the sideline.

This type of pass can be a powerful offensive weapon, as it allows a player to quickly move the ball up the pool and create scoring opportunities.

Down the line passes are often used when a player is on a fast break and needs to get the ball to a teammate who is ahead of the defenders.

The pass is typically a long one, and it requires both accuracy and power to be successful. When executed properly, a down the line pass can catch the defense off guard and lead to a quick goal.

However, down the line passes also come with some risks. If the pass is not accurate or powerful enough, it can be intercepted by the defense or go out of bounds.

Additionally, if the receiving player is not in position to catch the pass, it can result in a turnover. Despite these risks, down the line passes remain a valuable tool in a water polo player’s arsenal.

What is Water Polo?

Water polo is a team sport that originated in the late 19th century in the United Kingdom. It is played in a swimming pool, with two teams of seven players each.

In water polo, the aim is to score a higher number of goals than the opposing team by throwing a ball into their goal, which is guarded by a goalkeeper.

Players use a combination of swimming, treading water, and passing to move the ball around the pool. They are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool or the sides, except for the designated areas where substitutions are made.

Water polo matches are divided into four quarters, with each quarter lasting for eight minutes, and a two-minute interval between the second and third quarters.

Water polo is a physically demanding sport that requires endurance, strength, and agility. Players must be able to swim long distances, tread water for extended periods, and pass and shoot the ball accurately while being defended by opponents. The sport is played at both amateur and professional levels, with national and international competitions held regularly.

What Does Down the Line Mean in Water Polo?

Definition of Down the Line in Water Polo

Down the line in water polo refers to a type of shot taken by a player that is aimed towards the goal line. This shot is taken from the outermost lane of the pool, perpendicular to the goal line. It is a difficult shot to execute, as it requires a high level of accuracy and speed to get past the goalkeeper and into the goal.

Importance of Down the Line in Water Polo

The down the line shot is an important tool for water polo players, as it allows them to create scoring opportunities from a difficult angle. Because the shot is taken from the outermost lane of the pool, it is often unexpected by the defense, giving the shooter a better chance of scoring.

Additionally, the down the line shot can be used to draw fouls from the defense, as they may try to impede the shooter’s progress towards the goal.

How to Execute Down the Line in Water Polo

To execute a down the line shot, a player must first position themselves in the outermost lane of the pool, perpendicular to the goal line. They should then receive the ball from a teammate and quickly turn towards the goal, taking a shot towards the far post.

The shot should be taken with speed and accuracy, as the goalkeeper will be in position to block the shot if it is not well-placed. Some tips for executing a successful down the line shot include:

  • Keeping the ball close to the body while swimming towards the goal
  • Looking up to identify the best shooting angle before taking the shot
  • Using a quick release to catch the goalkeeper off-guard
  • Practicing the shot regularly to improve accuracy and speed

Overall, the down the line shot is a valuable tool for water polo players looking to create scoring opportunities from difficult angles. With practice and skill, players can master this shot and become a more effective scorer in the game of water polo.

Other Key Terms in Water Polo

Center Forward

The center forward is a player who is positioned at the center of the opponent’s defense in front of the goal. They are responsible for scoring goals and creating opportunities for their teammates. They are also expected to be strong swimmers and have excellent ball handling skills.


The goalie is the last line of defense for their team. They are responsible for blocking shots and preventing goals. They are allowed to use their hands to block shots, but only within a certain area of the pool. They must also be able to swim well and have good communication skills with their teammates.

Counter Attack

The counter attack is a fast break that occurs when a team gains possession of the ball after defending against an opponent’s attack.

The goal is to quickly move the ball up the pool and create a scoring opportunity before the opponent’s defense has a chance to set up. This requires good communication, quick thinking, and fast swimming. Other key terms in water polo include:

  • Hole Set: The player who is positioned in front of the goal and is responsible for drawing defenders away from other offensive players.
  • Exclusion: A penalty that results in a player being temporarily removed from the game for a set amount of time.
  • Press: A defensive strategy where the defenders try to prevent the offensive team from advancing the ball up the pool.
  • Swim Off: The start of the game or a quarter where two players from each team race to gain possession of the ball in the center of the pool.

Overall, understanding these key terms is crucial for anyone looking to fully appreciate and enjoy the game of water polo.


As we have seen, “down the line” is a term used in water polo to describe a shot taken from the outside of the pool, close to the sideline, towards the goal line. This type of shot can be very effective when executed correctly, as it can catch the goalkeeper off guard and result in a goal.

While “down the line” shots are not the only way to score in water polo, they are a valuable tool in a player’s arsenal. It is important for players to practice this type of shot and develop their skills in order to increase their chances of success in the game.

Overall, understanding water polo terminology is crucial for players, coaches, and fans alike. Whether it’s knowing what a “down the line” shot is or understanding the rules of the game, having a solid knowledge base can enhance one’s enjoyment and appreciation of this exciting sport.