Why Water Polo Players Wear Caps: The Purpose and Benefits Explained

Why Water Polo Players Wear Caps

Water polo is a high-energy, intense aquatic sport that requires players to be skilled swimmers, quick thinkers and have excellent ball-handling abilities. A unique aspect of water polo is that players wear caps during the game. But what is the reason behind water polo players wearing caps?

Water polo caps have various uses. Firstly, they help identify players and their teams. Each team wears a different colored cap, and each player has a number on their cap.

This makes it easier for referees and spectators to differentiate between players and teams. Furthermore, caps provide protection to players’ ears in case the ball hits their head and causes injury.

Another reason why water polo players wear caps is to prevent water from clogging their ears. Water splashing around during the game can enter players’ ears, leading to discomfort and even infection. Caps help keep water out of the ears, allowing players to focus on the game without any distractions.

History of Water Polo Caps

Water polo caps have been used in the sport for over a century. The first water polo caps were made of cloth and were used to help distinguish players on opposing teams.

Players used caps not only to keep their hair out of their faces but also to safeguard their ears from potential injury due to the ball hitting their heads.

As the sport evolved, so did the design of the water polo cap. In the 1970s, hard plastic ear guards were added to the cap to provide additional protection to the players.

The ear guards also helped to reduce the amount of water that entered the players’ ears, which could cause infections and other health issues.

Nowadays, water polo caps are composed of a dense material with rigid plastic coverings on both sides of the headgear to safeguard the ears in case of a collision.

The caps function not only to differentiate the player and their team but also to shield their ears from possible injuries caused by a water polo ball striking the head.

Water polo caps have become an essential part of the sport and are required equipment for all players. The caps are also used to help referees identify players who commit fouls or other violations during the game.

Overall, the history of water polo caps shows how the sport has evolved over time and how the equipment used by players has become an important aspect of the game.

Function of Water Polo Caps

Protection from Injury

Water polo caps serve as a crucial protective gear for players, as the sport involves frequent physical contact, with players constantly competing for the ball and attempting to score.

The ball used in water polo is hard and can travel at high speeds, which can cause serious injuries if it hits a player in the face or head. The cap provides a layer of protection for the player’s head and ears, reducing the risk of injury.

Identification of Players

Another important function of water polo caps is to identify the players and their teams. Each team wears a different color cap, and the caps are numbered to identify individual players.

This helps the referees keep track of the players and enforce the rules of the game. It also helps the spectators and fans identify the players and follow the action of the game.

Grip on Ball

The material used to make water polo caps is designed to provide a better grip on the ball. The texture of the cap helps the players hold onto the ball and pass it more easily.

This is particularly important for the goalies, who need to be able to grip the ball well to make saves and prevent the other team from scoring.

In conclusion, water polo caps serve multiple functions in the game of water polo. They provide protection from injury, identify the players and their teams, and help the players grip the ball. Without these caps, the game would be much more dangerous and difficult to play.

Types of Water Polo Caps

Water polo caps are an essential piece of equipment for players in this sport. They are designed to protect the players’ ears from injury and to identify the player’s team. There are two main types of water polo caps: standard caps and specialized caps.

Standard Caps

The standard water polo cap is made of soft material and comes in two colors: blue and white. The home team wears blue caps, while the visiting team wears white caps.

The goalkeeper wears a red cap to distinguish them from the rest of the team. The caps are designed to fit snugly over the player’s head and to cover their ears. They also have a chin strap to keep the cap in place during the game.

Each cap in the water polo team is numbered from one to thirteen, representing a specific position on the team. The player’s position in the water determines the number assigned to them. For example, the center forward wears the number three cap, while the goalkeeper wears the number one cap.

Specialized Caps

Specialized water polo caps are designed for specific purposes. They are made of hard plastic and have additional features to protect the player’s head and face. Some of the specialized caps include:

  • Goalkeeper Cap: The goalkeeper cap is designed to provide additional protection to the goalkeeper’s head and face. It has a hard plastic shell that covers the forehead, temples, and cheeks. The cap also has a chin strap to keep it in place during the game.
  • Ear Guard Cap: The ear guard cap is designed to protect the player’s ears from injury. It has a plastic guard that covers the ears and a chin strap to keep it in place. This cap is typically worn by players who have had ear injuries in the past.
  • Customized Cap: Some teams choose to customize their caps with their team logo or colors. These caps are made to order and can be designed to fit the team’s specific needs.

Overall, water polo caps are an important piece of equipment for players in this sport. They provide protection to the player’s head and ears and help identify the player’s team. Standard caps are worn by all players, while specialized caps are designed for specific purposes.


Water polo players wear caps for a variety of reasons, including protecting their ears, hair, and head from injury. The caps also help players identify their teammates and opponents during the game.

While the primary purpose of the cap is to protect the player, it also serves a functional purpose. The cap’s ear guards protect players’ ears from the impact of the ball, which can cause serious injury. The cap also helps players stay visible in the water, making it easier for teammates to pass the ball and score goals.

Overall, the cap is an essential piece of equipment for water polo players. It provides protection, helps players stay visible, and assists with team identification. Without the cap, water polo would be a much more dangerous and difficult sport to play.