An Overview of Water Polo

Water Polo is a team sport consisting of 13 players with seven in the water at a time (six field players and one goalkeeper). The aim of the game is to score the most points by having the ball cross the goal line within the floating goal nets. Field players play both offense and defence. It is very similar to team handball and ice hockey because power play situations occur.


Water polo is an aquatic activity that requires endurance, strategy and some physical contact, but it is an extremely fun sport.


Basic game rules:

  • Play starts with a sprint by both teams to the ball, which is dropped in the pool by the referee
  • The game is played while treading water or swimming with the ball
  • Players can advance the ball by swimming or passing
  • Once a player is given the ball, their choice is to swim with the ball or make a pass.
  • Players may catch or throw the ball with just one hand (only the goalie can touch the ball with two hands)
  • After a goal, play starts in the middle of the pool. Teams can use this time to substitute players
  • When the referee whistles to indicate an infraction or foul, players must pass the ball to a teammate before shooting on goal
  • Players (except the goalie) do not touch the bottom of the pool when the ball is in play
  • Dunking the ball under water is not allowed
  • A man up or power play situation occurs when there is a kick out or violation of the game rules


Sharks Water Polo Program


Swimming Ability

While we welcome players of any ability, participants must be able to swim 25 metres and be comfortable in deep water. U14 players should be able to swim two lengths continuously, while the seniors (U16 & U18)  should be able to complete four lengths. Playing experience is not necessary.



Just a swim suit is needed – everything else is provided. You may also wear goggles for the swim warm-up portion of the practices.



There are usually three to four practices weekly including 15 minutes of dry land exercises. Players not already enrolled in the Sharks swim program are encouraged to join, to improve their endurance.



We host a junior tournament in May or June, and a senior one in July. We attend four to five “away” tournaments during the season. Attendance at all tournaments is not mandatory. We do, however, expect 100% commitment once you sign-up to participate in a particular tournament.


Play time policy

During tournaments leading up to the Regional and Provincial Championships, we strive towards providing fair play time for all athletes. It is important to note that BCSSA rules require 3 boys and 3 girls in the water at any one time and that substitution of players can only be made at specific times during the game. Working within these constraints, our coaches will try to give all players a balanced amount of overall play time in a tournament but not on a game-by-game basis.

For Regional and Provincial Championships, we will be playing to win.


Player expectations

  • Attend as many practices as possible and be punctual
  • Commit to games and tournaments he /she signed up for
  • Show up for tournaments in support of the Sharks and respect for other teams
  • Refrain from poor sportsmanship


Intra-regional players

The Coquitlam Sharks is offering water polo to all members of any Simon Fraser Region Club not already offering water polo.


BCSSA Water Polo

The Sharks are members of BCSSA and therefore, abide by their rules, including defining water polo as a co-ed sport. A team must have a minimum of three boys and girls in the water at all times. The goalie could either be a boy or a girl.

The season starts in early May to the beginning of August. There are some tournaments on weekends in the months of May and June, but the majority are during the week days in July so as not to conflict with weekend swim meets. The Regional championships are usually held during the last week of July or first week of August. Regional champions then go on to the Provincial games which are held a couple of weeks later.

A water polo player’s age as of December 31st each year shall be used to determine the competitor category. The competitor categories for BCSSA water polo are:


  • U10 (Minis) Division – 9 year olds and under, practices in shallow water
  • U12 Division – 10 and 11 year olds, experienced 8 and 9 year olds are accepted
  • U14 Division – 12 and 13 year olds


  • U16 Division – 14 and 15 year olds
  • U18 Division – 16 to 18 year olds


We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia