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Developing Advanced Passing and Ball Control Skills in Water Polo


Passing and ball control are the lifeblood of effective teamwork in water polo. As players advance in the sport, mastering these skills becomes paramount for maintaining possession, orchestrating plays, and setting up scoring opportunities. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the intricacies of developing advanced passing and ball control skills in water polo, equipping you with the tools to excel in this dynamic and fast-paced game.

water polo ball in the pool

1. Mastering Different Pass Types

Advanced passing involves a variety of techniques tailored to specific game situations:

  • Chest Pass: Quick and accurate, used for short to mid-range passes.
  • Overhead Pass: Effective for long-distance passes and clearing the ball out of your own territory.
  • Backhand Pass: Useful when an opponent is blocking your line of sight to a teammate.
  • Skip Pass: A low, fast pass that skims the water’s surface, useful for quickly moving the ball across the pool.

2. Improving Passing Accuracy

Precision in passing is crucial to avoid turnovers and set up effective plays:

  • Grip and Release: Maintain a strong grip on the ball and release it with a snap of the wrist to ensure accuracy and speed.
  • Eye Contact: Establish eye contact with your intended recipient to communicate your intention and timing.
  • Anticipate Movements: Predict your teammate’s movement and pass the ball to where they will be, not where they currently are.

3. Ball Control Techniques

Strong ball control helps you maintain possession and respond to opponents’ challenges:

  • Eggbeater Kick: A powerful treading water technique that enables you to move your legs independently, allowing you to control the ball and pass effectively.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Develop hand-eye coordination through drills that involve catching and passing the ball with one hand while treading water.
  • Body Positioning: Maintain a stable body position while controlling the ball to avoid losing balance and becoming vulnerable to steals.

4. Fakes and Deceptive Moves

Adding fakes and deceptive moves to your passing arsenal can outwit opponents and create openings:

  • Shot Fake: Mimic the motion of a shot to make defenders commit, then pass to an open teammate.
  • Passing Angle Changes: Use your body and head movements to mislead opponents about the direction of your pass.
  • Timing: Perfect the timing of your deceptive moves to catch defenders off-guard and create passing lanes.

5. Vision and Awareness

Having a keen understanding of the game and situational awareness enhances your passing effectiveness:

  • 360-Degree Awareness: Constantly scan the pool to identify open teammates and anticipate defenders’ positions.
  • Peripheral Vision: Develop peripheral vision to keep track of both your surroundings and the ball.
  • Quick Decision-Making: Make split-second decisions about when and where to pass to exploit defensive gaps.


Advanced passing and ball control skills in water polo are the result of dedicated practice and a deep understanding of the game’s dynamics. By mastering different pass types, improving passing accuracy, honing ball control techniques, incorporating fakes and deceptive moves, and enhancing your vision and awareness, you can become a standout playmaker and a vital asset to your team. Remember, effective passing and ball control are the keys to unlocking successful plays and keeping your team’s momentum flowing. So, dive into these advanced techniques, embrace the challenges, and emerge as a maestro of passing and ball control in the competitive waters of water polo!

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