#11 Offense Patterns

Introduction to Offense Patterns

There are many water polo coaches who feel the best way to develop an offense is through daily scrimmage. Usually the players will concur since long drill sessions tend to become monotonous. However, individual skills are best acquired through constant repetition and fundamental tactics are best learned by practice of isolated patterns. Therefore, the coach must plan his workouts to include a well balanced group of offensive patterns and teach the movements to be practiced. The coach who scrimmages very day cannot effectively teach.

A certain amount of game condition scrimmage, with officials and fouling out is absolutely essential and this is usually fun for the players, but it can also be overdone.

It is necessary for the coach to develop his own tactics to suit his offensive patterns for advancing the ball into scoring territory. The system adopted depends upon your individual players ability as well as size of pool and the type of opposition you will be facing. Offensive plays can also be developed and worked over and over as drills.

Following are some of the basic patterns or tactics that have been used by various water polo teams throughout the years.

Drill 11.1: Player at 2 Meters

This pattern is used in a slow moving deliberate type offense, which depends upon one man to do most of the scoring.

Drill 11.01


  1. To place best scorer in front of the goal just outside the 2-yard line in center of cage.
  2. This is used against a man-to-man defense, especially when guard plays rear position, and is not too strong defensively.
  3. Players should attempt to keep area in front of 2 meter person open and free for long passes.
  4. This offense is especially effective in a small pool where breaking type game is hampered.
  5. Guards usually remain in their half of pool, breaking down field occasionally to add variety to offense.

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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