USA Water Polo Coaches' Association

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  • Download the USAWP Playing Rules Get Acrobat Reader in PDF format here (changes noted in blue)

    Download the Rule Changes Summary Get Acrobat Reader in PDF format here

    2014 New Rules Points Of EmphasisGet Acrobat Reader

    Age Group Rule Modifications 12U/10UGet Acrobat Reader

    The USA Water Polo Coaches' Association shall serve as a forum for the discussion of issues that are of mutual concerns to its members. USA Water Polo Coaches' Association is committed to developing coaches who will be effective instructors and role models, through a comprehensive education program at all levels of the sport. The means used include, manuals, seminars, audio and visual evaluation, and direct hands on experiences.

    USA Water Polo/USOC Mobile Coaching App Now Available!

    Introducing the Team USA Mobile Coach Platform! This platform is a coaching resource which delivers information on both a mobile application and a website desktop companion site. With your continued USA Water Polo membership, you will receive cutting edge information for coaching the sport of water polo from USAWP and additional resources from the experts at the United States Olympic Committee. Yes, this is a benefit only to current USA Water Polo members and your membership will give you access to top resources for coaching the great game of water polo, as well as access to amazing resources from Team USA in:

    *Coaching Education
    * Detailed Video Instruction
    *And More!

    To use, simply launch from your desktop computer at, and register with your current USAWP membership number information. Download the mobile application to your smart phone through the App Store or Android Market to have your favorite drills, skills, videos, and other resources to take with you anywhere. Just search: Team USA Mobile Coach to download in the store!

    Team USA Mobile Coach FAQs (pdf)

    Team USA Mobile Coach Instructional Video


  • New FINA Water Polo Rules Explanation


    As a referee with 27 years of experience working high school, college, and international games, including two Olympics and four World Championships, and a high school coach with 30 years of experience in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Newport Beach, California, people often ask me about my dual roles in water polo. What do I think of referees when I am coaching and what do I think of coaches while I am refereeing?

    As a coach, I understand the amount of work required to prepare your team for a season, thus I understand the emotion of coaches during games. They have invested so much in their teams and for this reason they are going to hold the referee to a high standard.

    Referees understand that a coach is bias toward his or her players. Coaches spend lots of time and energy working with them and become so emotionally bonded. But coaches typically watch only what their players are doing or not doing, whereas the referee is watching what all the players are doing. Many coaches try to influence the referee into making calls in favor of their team. Referees need to understand this view, but not succumb to the coach's wishes. Not giving in to what the coach wants sometimes leads the coach into believing that the referee is bias against his or her team. But this is never the case.

    As much as the referee needs to understand the position of a coach, certain behavior is not acceptable. An example of this is verbal attacks on the referee in the form of abusive or inappropriate language. It is one thing to disagree with a referee's decision, but it is another thing for the coach to resort to sarcasm and personal attacks on the referee. All referees can understand the coach's disagreement with a call, but they should not accept inappropriate methods of expressing that disagreement.

    There are exceptions to this, of course, and as a coach I have been guilty of poor behavior toward referees at times myself. Sometimes I do so in an effort to fire up my team and at other times it stems from a frustration that I am having with the way my team is performing in the game. Being in "the moment" can sometimes aim this frustration at the referee. Coaches need to be punished with a yellow or red card in these situations and they need to understand when their words and actions have crossed the line of appropriateness.

    Coaches need to understand that the vantage point or angle of the referee is far better than that of the coach, who is 25 or 30 meters away. Water polo is a game of position and angles for the players as well as the referees. The position of the referee is critical in making the correct call. Nowhere is this more apparent than in instant replay in college and professional football where referees "review" a play from many different angles in order to determine the correct call. Referees should always work to improve their angle so that they can get the best view. Coaches who are 25 or 30 meters away do not have this luxury, and thus they should not complain as much as they do about certain calls.

    As a referee it is irritating to have coaches who believe that their angle so far down the pool is better. Coaches who do this do not win any battles with the referee.

    As coaches we always want our players to let go of their mistakes and move on to the next play. We don't want them to dwell on their mistakes. In sports like water polo, it is critical to not dwell on a mistake because the game never stops. The best players are always anticipating the next play. As coaches we must exercise the same with a referee's call. We can disagree with a call but then we must move on and coach the team. Of course, there are exceptions in some cases, but when coaches resort to criticizing an official repeatedly in a game they lose perspective of their role as a coach.

    A coach should not only control their behavior but also the behavior of their players in the game. Coaches tend to blame the "out of control" behavior of players on the referee. The referee does have a certain responsibility to maintain the control of the players in a game and the general flow of the game. However, the coaches have a responsibility to maintain the control and behavior of their players as well. That responsibility does not fall completely on the referee.

    A good example of this is when the score of a game is lopsided and the referee is accused of "helping" the losing team. Referees are not supposed to do this, but at times they do because they have been incorrectly advised to do so. At other times, referees may do this because the coach of a winning team will not take responsibility to hold down the score. This latter situation is more prevalent in high school or lower level games than in college.

    Lastly, and probably the most frustrating aspect of dealing with coaches from a referee perspective is when a coach become a "constant complainer" or a "victim." Coaches who complain about every call are irritating. These coaches are not looking at the "big picture," or the overall game. They focus on each and every call and in doing so they lose track of what their own players are doing. Their focus shifts to the referee, where it is misplaced. Coaches should let referees officiate and coaches should coach. The referee does not tell the coach what he or she is doing wrong strategically, so why should the coach ever be in a position to tell the referee what the referee is doing wrong. Once again, there are exceptions, but there is no place in the sport for the "constant complainer" coach who feels that his or her team has fallen "victim" to the referee's calls. When this occurs, the coach is refusing to take personal responsibility for the performance of the team, and the players follow this lead about their role in the game. This type of behavior is not something coaches should teach their athletes.

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