Water Polo Tactics by Dave Maynard

Volume 3 Number 3 May 1, 2011
Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein.

Screen Door on a Battleship

One of my favorite movie series has to be “Back to the Future.”  One of the characters, Biff Tannen, would often use clichés.  The problem is, he would get them wrong, but in such a funny way.  To this day I tell my kids, “Let’s make like a tree, and get out of here.”  CLASSIC!!!  And it’s Biff Tannen that coined the phrase, for my anyway, “That’s about as funny as a screen door on a battleship.”  Yeah, the cliché is supposed to be a submarine, but in the sport of water polo, where your attack is your “battleship”, and drives can be used to create “screens”, there is certainly nothing funny about their combination.

This is what we are going to do.  We are going to equip our “battleship” with a “screen” to open up our strongest gunner with the best opportunity shoot down the enemy.  Watch how this plays out.

The trigger position for this play is actually the 4 position.  Once the 4 begins their pass to the 5 position, the 3 player drives to the right side of the cage.  Once the ball gets to the 5 wing, the 2 and 4 positions do a cross drive for the cross pick to happen in front of the Hole-Set.  The 3 driver reverses direction of their drive and retreats back to the point position, but offsetting more to the left side of the cage.  It’s at the reverse of the drive, that the 2 and 4 position sets their screen in front of the 3 defender.  The screen is only a slow-down for that 3 defender as the 2 and 4 players drive through to the ball side of the cage or retreat back to the 4 position, respectively.  This overloads the right side of the field and draws the attention to the driver and the 4 position, and with the ball on that side of the field, they are perfect decoys for this play.  The 3, after his retreat, has a wide open goal on the opposite side of the ball to shoot at.  A solid pass from the 5 position across to the 3 is a pass-catch-shoot situation.  No pump fakes, no double looks, it’s a catch and shoot opportunity that has goal in the making. 

Sure, “a screen door on a battleship” is a messed up cliché.  But in the game of water polo, the “screen door” on the “battleship” of your attack is an incredibly powerful way to generate a goal when you need it.  And that’s exciting water polo.


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