Alex Counsell in goal for Sunderland. Picture credit: Antonia Barraclough

The Sunderland team are yet to find a replacement for last years goalkeeper  Alex Counsell. Picture credit: Antonia Barraclough

Water Polo may not be the most popular sport in the United Kingdom, despite there being over 300 clubs across the nation. This might be down to the fact that it requires the athlete to be physical, agile, alert and a strong swimmer throughout the whole game.

SportsByte spoke to Adam Woods, who travelled across Europe with the GB junior team, about what is needed to be a successful Water Polo player and the skills required to play in all positions.

“To become a Water Polo player at a club level, there needs to be an average level of swimming fitness and good all round core stability,” said the 18-year-old, who has been named 2014 Young Coach of the Year in the UK.

During an average Water Polo match (10-15 minutes a quarter) the outfield players will swim approximately 30 lengths of a swimming pool. This requires different lengths and the ability to control a ball simultaneously.

“All players need to be alert and have a good understanding of what’s going on around the pool, good leg strength and flexibility around the hips and knees.”

The University team are without a permanent goalkeeper after Alex Counsell left the side and Woods, who joined the team this year, outlined the main attributes needed to be the last line of defence.

“For a keeper you’re looking for long levers (arms and legs) and superior leg strength in order to cover the majority of the goal. Pit players, those who play central of the pool, are generally big built and hard to move through the water.”

The Sunderland team have struggled to play offensively in BUCS competitions and failed to score more than five goals during each game of last season’s campaign.

“Wing players need to be able to work their way round their defender using a combination of good skill levels and alertness,” Woods continued.

“The point player needs a good shot and good alertness of the game to assist on overseeing where other people in the pool need to be.”

If this sport appeals to you then you can join the University team or you can visit the BBC Get Involved page for Water Polo.

 
 

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