Left-handed water polo players are like gold dust – every team needs them. But why are they so useful?
Most water polo players are right-handed. When they attack, they want to receive a pass from the right wing (position 1 or 2).
A left-handed player naturally plays on the 2-m right wing (position 1), and is able to both face the goal and be a threat to the goalkeeper as well as seeing teammates on the left. Being a fast swimmer is a real advantage.
From defense to attack
In defense, lefties defend as all other players. However, from the moment that defense changes into attack, left-handed players are integral to the attack. The aim of a left-handed player is to swim hard until either half way or position 1 at the attacking 2-m (on the right). If they end up at half way, their role is to jump right to find space and act as a link by receiving the goalkeeper’s pass. If this role is taken by a team mate, then the left -handed player continues to drive hard to position 1 on the attacking 2-m, where they can receive the ball from their teammate on half way.
Once the arc is set, most center forwards want to receive a pass from positions 1 or 2, as this puts them in a good position to turn the pit defender with a view to score a goal or gain an exclusion.
On positions 1 or 2, a left-handed player can both face the goal, posing as a threat, and be available to receive a pass from positions 3, 4 or 5. They can then shoot, dummy, pass into the pit or pass the ball to one of the other arc players.
Effective left-handed player tactics on man up
On man up, left handed water polo players pose a great threat. Their best position is position 1, at 2-m on right wing. With the ball in their hand they both act as a goal threat but can also see all their right handed team mates and whether any of them are available to receive a pass.
With ball in hand, a left-handed player can move into 2-m which creates threatening options to both near post and far post.
Another position for a left-handed player on man up is position 6 (right post).
The left-handed player poses a real threat being only 2-m from the goal. They are looking to receive the ball from position 3 (4-m left wing) or position 4 (left wing), particularly if the player on 4 moves towards the goal line and passes the ball over the goalie to position 6.
Another skill to work on is for the lefty to slide between positions 1 and 2, making themselves available to receive the ball in a position offering a new direct shooting lane.