#9 Combination Drills

Introduction to Combination Drills

Combination drills cannot be properly placed in any one classification. They are designed to include most of the basic fundamentals, simulating true gamelike conditions whenever possible.

In many of the previous categories simple combinations have been used in order to properly run the drill. This was necessary since it is difficult to isolate many of the fundamentals to be practiced. In previous sections, the emphasis was intended to be placed on a specific skill rather than a combined skill. This is usually the best method for the novice.

These combination drills which are more complex are proposed for the more advanced performers to practice several fundamentals at the same time. The coach must remember to keep in mind his total offensive picture when running these drills to give the players a feeling of purpose, and at the same time improving team and individual weakness.

Drill 9.1: Steal the Ball

To quicken player reaction time and teach them to "steal" the ball before an opponent gets control of it.


  1. Line up groups of players as indicated in diagram, give each player a number.
  2. Coach, manager or goalie puts ball in play with a pass to spot between players, calling number as he throws ball (Example: #4).
  3. Both #4 players sprint for ball, the man gaining control continues on offense until shot is taken, other player attempts to foil shot.

Note: Be sure all numbers are called; do not allow players to push off the wall.

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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