What does it mean to drive in water polo?
Driving is to swim to forward your position in the field.
What are the objectives of a drive?
The main objectives are to get inside water or to get open for a shot. When a driver gets
inside water, they create a scoring opportunity for their team and put themselves in a position
to draw exclusionary or penalty shot fouls.
How do you initiate a drive?
Usually the drive starts from the point or the flats (aka top wings aka 2 and 4 positions). In
evenly matched teams, the element of surprise is integral to a successful drive. Often a
driver who just tries to muscle through the drive will be less successful than one who waits for
his defender to look away or one who fakes one way to commit his defender then swims the
other way. A good drive requires explosive movement.
When do you drive?
There are several scenarios for driving. When there is a foul, drive to create a scoring opportunity
from the free pass. An example would be the point drives after an ordinary foul at hole
set. Another scenario would be to drive to draw your defender to you because he is menacing
other attackers and clogging up your offense. In that case, swim to a position away from
your defender where you would be free to receive a pass. If the defender comes with you,
you have helped your team. If he doesn’t, you will be a scoring threat.
Where do you drive to?
This is a team offense decision. Generally, drives come from the top (left/right flats or point)
and tries to penetrate the defense. When driving, look to create a good shooting angle by driving
towards or inside the posts. You may stop for a moment if you feel that the pass is coming
and you have an opening for a shot, but, if that doesn’t come, swim all the way down to
How does a drive end?
If the driver establishes position, receives the ball and can make a good shot, he should
shoot. If the driver gets position but doesn’t receive the ball, he should swim out into the wing
position. If the driver doesn’t get position, he should consider setting a pick to open up the
wing player for a pass or a shot.
Are there any other considerations around driving?
Always make a plan. Don’t drive when a turnover is inevitable because you become the defender and you are already beat. Always look to create confusion in the defense.