Drill 1.15: Follow the Ball

To practice quick changes in direction and to develop stamina.

Drill 1.15 Follow the Ball


  1. All players must be in the water facing coach who stands on deck holding water polo ball.
  2. Players must follow the direction of the ball with swimming movements: forward, backward, upward, sideward, etc., always watching ball.
  3. If coach lifts ball overhead it indicates players should reach up as if trying to intercept pass or block a shot.
  4. Continue drill as long as desired.

Variation: Give each player a ball if players have learned to handle ball well.

Drill 1.16: Half Tank Wind Sprints

To develop stamina and endurance through repeated wind sprints with change of direction.

Drill 1.16 Half Tank Wind Sprints


  1. Divide squad into four groups, line up group 1 and 3 at one end of the pool and groups 2 and 4 at the other.
  2. Start group 1 with dive or stride entry; they sprint to center line and return.
  3. Group 2 starts as soon as last man in group 1 makes reverse turn; group 3 and 4 follow same procedure.
  4. Drill is continuous with group 1 following group 4.
  5. Continue drill for 10-20 minutes.
  6. Vary drill by sprinting to center on front and returning on the back.

Bill's Biography

Bill Anttila
Known nationally as one of the foremost authorities on water polo, Bill Anttila was inducted in the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame on January 17, 2004. He was involved in aquatics from 1947-1984. In 1948, Bill was responsible for the inauguration of the first community college water polo program in Northern California at Stockton College. Before that, Bill began the water polo program at the University of the Pacific in 1947. He coached the Pacific Tigers for 18 years with only one losing season and his 1956 team won the league championship with a 12-2 record. Bill was also the swimming coach at Stockton College, where he won 10 NCC championships and never had a losing season.

During his 38 years of coaching water polo, his teams won 10 Northern California Championships. In 1,099 games, Anttila compiled a 759-340 overall record {.691 winning percentage}. At the time of his retirement, Anttila was the winningest water polo coach in the United States. He had the satisfaction of coaching over 50 All-Americans. He has written a book titled Water Polo Drills and Playing Hints. Anttila was inducted into the Stockton Hall of Fame in 1985. He was then inducted into the University of the Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He is currently retired and resides in Stockton with his wife, Sisko, of 50 years.


The medal pictured above is the last solid gold Olympic medal which was given out at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in Sweden

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