#9 Combination Drills

Drill 9.2: Keep Away

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



a. Line up groups of players as indicated in diagram, give each player a number.
b. Coach, manager or goalie puts ball in play with a pass to spot between players, calling number as he throws ball (Example: #4).
c. 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.

Drill 9.3: Wet-dry Pass and Shoot

To practice several fundamentals, dribble, break, roll, pass which is followed by a shot to improve timing.


  1. Line up players in two groups as indicated in diagram.
  2. O1 starts drill by breaking along a 4-yard line, he receives short wet pass from 03 and dribbles to other side of cage, rolls over on back and throws dry pass to X1 who shoots.
  3. X1 starts out with crawl but rolls to his back as he passes center of cage, and continues to swim on back, anticipating pass from O1.
  4. 01 should time his pass to X1 so as to hit his shooting arm as the arm recovers from stroking movement, X1 receives pass dry and immediately shoots.
  5. Goalie returns ball to O3 area and play continues.
  6. After doing this drill 3-5 minutes, blow whistle and switch start to other side of pool.

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

   WATER POLO PLANET.COM: the Alternative Voice    www.waterpoloplanet.com