WATER POLO COMMANDMENTS FOR GOALIES

Robert Gaughran
California All Sports Clinic

  1. ALWAYS WATCH THE BALL - nothing is more embarrassing than the long, quick goal.

    • PASSING THE BALL
      • Pass the ball to the free person farthest from the goal.
      • Call the player’s name loudly as you pass it.
      • Lead the player.
      • Key to a quick offense is the first rapid pass out from the goal.

    • BODY POSITION
      • Keep your tail end near the surface.
      • Keep your hands at the surface

    • ALWAYS MOVE ON THE BALL
      • When moving in the cage, always look at the opposite end
      • Place yourself between the shooter and the center of the cage.
      • Stop the ball in the AB plane. The plane perpendicular to the line drawn between the shooter and the center bar of the cage.
      • Bear in mind that percentages prove that if the man is coming in from the side he will shoot toward the close corner.

      Hover mouse over image to animate diagram.


    • COMMITMENT
      • Make the shooter commit before you do.
      • Try not to move on the free mans fake, come straight up, by straightening your body from the waist.
      • Do not jump forward or reach back from plane AB.
      • Just move sideways in plane AB, unless it is a lob shot.

    • LOB SHOT:
      • Move straight across the cage, reaching for the ball with your right hand if the ball is shot from your right and with your left hand if the ball is shot from your left.
      • Use your off side hand to support your body and to swim under the ball! Do not take eye off ball.
      • If you miss continue to swim as a ball off top of cage may float in if goalie stops moving.

    • DRIVE SHOTS:
      • As the shooter starts his or her drive, if you have time, move into the cage about 6 inches further than you normally play the position:
      • As the shooter approaches within shooting distance, move out another six inches to your original position. (A shooter will normally time his arm stroke with the distance he is from the goalie. Moving six inches causes hi or her timing to be off a fraction of an arm stroke, and this makes it more difficult for the shooter.)
      • Be in your regular position, ready to come straight up, by the time the shooter is ready to shoot. Keep weight off of your arms and do not be moving forward as the shot is taken.
      • Fake a commitment, which will hurry the shot

    • THROW YOUR HEAD TO THE SIDE THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO COVER.

      • MISSED PENALTY OR OPEN SHOT
        • If a player misses a free or open shot let him or her know bout it.
        • Rattle the shooter!
        • Do not get rattled yourself.
        • Take the attitude that you can stop any shot.
        • If you remain calm and watch the ball, you will stop most shots, especially if they are near your body.
        • If smashed do not indicate any discomfort.
        • If they score show no. emotion.

      • ALWAYS PRACTICE GOING FOR THE BALL WITH TWO HANDS, HITTING THE BALL DOWNWARD AND IN FRONT OF YOU. (Even. if you do not reach the ball with both hands, your other arm moving in the direction of the ball will enable you to move further to one side. This will possibly allow you to pick off shots bouncing off the bars.)

        • PENALTY SHOTS
          • A shooter will probably shoot to his or her near corner.
          • When in doubt-cheat to one side and guess.

        • TALK TO YOUR MEN MOVING INTO PLAYERS HOLES
          • Talk to your players; tell them which free person you want them to cover; tell them to cover their players all over the pool; shout about free person on your team.
          • Call out hats on a referees call.
          • When a person is free tell that person what to do. If he or she doesn't do it, chew him or her out. If a player doesn't like it tell the player to see the coach. Right or wrong a player must follow your instructions.
          • Acknowledge good plays by your team. No one else will, so talk it up.

        • PRACTICE - Make the coach and players do some drills just for you.

          • SCOUT YOUR OPPOSITION – during warm ups
            • Learn who are the shooters.
            • Learn who are the pigeons.
            • Advise players of any left handers.
            • What type of shots does the set take - back hands, sweeps etc.



          (For the most part I tried to keep the content of Robert Gaughran’s original hand-out "Goalie Gems" intact; however, I did take a few liberties with the original work. I updated the sentences to include both genders. Robert said essentially that I could do with his hand-outs what I pleased, and hopefully, what I did would please him. This is the last Robert Gaughran's handout that we have; thus, WPP would like to thank Robert for sharing these handouts with us and the water polo community. - Doc)