Robert Gaughran
California All Sporst Clinic

Thank: about these rules; how they pertain to you; and how they relate to what the other team is doing!

1. The best shot at the goal is from directly in front of it.

2. The quickly handled ball is the most affective one.

3. Dry passes are far quicker and more adaptable than wet passes.

4. Good positioning isall one needs to shoot e ffectively.

5. Inches and yards can be gained through alertness in the game situation - ANTICIPATION!

6. A well guarded person is less likely to receive a pass than a guarded one.

7. A guarded person has difficulty shooting or passing even if he does receive the pass.

8. In the front court guard between your person and the ball - force the pass and ball to the outside of the playing area.

9. Sluff toward a guardedforwardforcing him/her to play the ball - then cover back fast.

10. If the ball is on the other side of the pool and you and your forward are out of theplay-cheat toward your opponent goal, but not so far that you cannot recover and guard your person, if the ball comes to your side of the tank.

11. Water polo is a three-way game- 25% Conditioning, 25% ability and 50% THINKING!

12. Watch the ball; know where it is and WHY.

13. Position constantly, both offensively and defensively.

14. Look and attempt to attain position of advantage.

15. Switch players to cover effectively on a quick breaking offense.

16.Keep the refereeon your side because he/she can make or break you. (If the referee calls for the ball s shake off the water and throw it to where you would like to catch it.)

17. Cover defensively while your OWN player is in the PROCESS of shooting.

18. Don't panic pass; take your time, and make it right.

19. Guard the 2-METER PERSON from in FRONT.

20. Before you shoot, look to see if someone else has a better shot, but don't fail to take a shot if it is there.

21. The right-handed person's most effective shooting side, other than the center is the left side. Conversely, the left-handed person's best shooting side is the right side.

22. In the lung offense, the most effective pass for the right-handed person is to receive the ball from the right wing as he/she reaches the four meter line. Conversely, the left handed person is to receive the ball from the left wing as he/she reaches the four meter line.

23. When on offense, strive to keep the ball inside the opponent's six meter line.

24. The man opposite the lob shot should anticipate and follow the shot into the goal.

25. Whe n you have a person pinned to the wall, don't foul, or be over aggressivebut wait andusethe lunge, kick and block".

26. A margin of error pass is much better than a perfect pass that is not thrown perfectly.

27. When breaking down the center, pressure your person to the outside­.


a. The ball must always be under attack.

b. The rest of the team is in passing lanes.

29. On an offensive break, get the ball to the free person; “FIND THE FREE PERSON" - always strive to keep the free person in a scoring position.

30. Work the ball down the tank with quick short breaks and passes.

31. Don’t throw to our person when the chances that he/she w ill get the ball are only 50%, make certainthe percentages are in our favor before passing.

32. Sacrifice speed for alertness.

33. Burn the shooter!

34. When your team has the ball, the other team can't score, so DON'T RISK A POOR SHOT!

35. Don't risk a foul on a person who doesn't have the ball, or is not in a scoring position. NO UNECESSARY FOULS.

36. Short passes are more effective than long passes; everyone can see the long pass.

37. On the fast break, the first two players should flare when they reach the FIVE METER LINE and then move to a position on the two meter line, one yard outside of the goal posts and be prepared for a quick shot.

38. On the fast break-always remain a threat. Remember! You MAY become the FREE PERSON; be in a scoring,position.

39. Penetration is important. Remember, "Forward, Forward”.

40. Always take the free break to the center.

41. Defensive responsibility is always the person closest to the center and to the goal.

42, A tight pressing person-to-person defenseis only as effective as the weakest person inthe press. Any person who is more than a foot away from his/her person will give the other teamthe free pass down the court. The objective of a press is not to allow the ball into the offensive end of the tank.

43. Offensive - Defensive balance is very important.

44. In practice all drills should be done at FULL SPEED.

45. When you steal the ball yell, "I've not it"

46. THINK..." am I in the play - if so then be in it. If you are not in the play, cheat to the other end. -

47. Force a pass when short a man on defense - don't let the offense pick and choose where they want to go.


49. On the whistle pick, up the ball first, then check the referees hand if unsure.

50. "The things you learn after you know it all are the most important" ( Coach John Wooden).

(For the most part I tried to keep the content of Robert Gaughran’s original hand-out " Cardinal Rules of Water Polo " intact; however, I did take a few liberties with the original work. I updated some of his terms, and edited a few sentences for my own clarity. Robert said essentially that I could do with his hand-outs what I pleased, and hopefully, what I did would please him. .- Doc)