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Why Are Left-Handed Players Crucial in Water Polo?

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.

Graphic showing the water polo attacking positions and numbers

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.

Attacking water polo positions on man-up

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.



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