Water Polo Australia, in consultation with the State Associations, recently updated the the national rules for the 14&Under age group, as well as introduced national modified rules for FlippaBall and 12&U competitions, in order to facilitate progressive skill development.
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The changes were designed to better accommodate the domestic needs for event organisers such as pool space as well as better align with the overall athlete development players, from the grassroots through to senior level.
Australian Men’s Head Coach, Elvis Fatovic said: “We need athletes to start understanding the positions in water polo from a younger age. This includes both seven on seven play and man up positional play.
“The modified rules will be beneficial at the 12 & Under level and help develop the well rounded player and promote team play.
“Comparing the development of our Australian junior athletes to the rest of the competitive nations in the world, I believe we need to start playing water polo using the same rules and conditions (FINA rules) in order to stay competitive.
“This will give our athletes the best opportunity and preparation to be able to compete with other nations, when they represent Australia,” said Fatovic.
What do the rule changes mean?
- Past modified rules for 14 & Under will be played at the 12 & Under level (with minor changes) for both boys and girls divisions.
- 14 & Under water polo will be played with FINA rules with minimal rule modifications, same as 16’s and 18’s, but will still include participation requirements.
- 12&Under and 14&Under will have 7 field players in the water with a minimum of 11 players and a maximum of 13 on the card.
- The modified rules at the 12 & Under level are designed for development of the ‘whole athlete’ and encourages the athletes to play in all positions in the game. (i.e., Centre forward and centre back).
- The move back to FINA rules for 14 & Under will allow the athletes the develop their skills to play traditional water polo.
- Having 7 field players in the water will improve the spatial and positional awareness of our athletes and keep us in line with the game internationally.
What does this mean for my Club in 2017-2018 season?
- WPA encourages all States to use the modified rules for 12 & Under and FINA rules for 14 & Under.
- However, some States may not be able to apply all of the changes and may have to adapt some of the rules due to resource and environmental constraints (i.e., field size).