Better Shooting using Heavy Balls?

Mike Reid will answer your questions about physical training, weight training and general training for water polo.
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Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:16 am
How are you connected to water polo?: Player, Coach & Official.

I am a professional Strength & Conditioning Coach from Canada living for the past 6 years in Europe but I'm now back coaching Water Polo in Canada.
I operate 2 websites on training, health and nutrition.

I am presently writing a monthly article for WaterPoloPlanet on strength & conditioning for Water Polo.
Location: Canada, Denmark & Hungary

Better Shooting using Heavy Balls?

Postby MichaelReid » Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:26 pm

Below is an excerpt from my most recent post on

What are your experiences, thoughts, comments ...?

Better Shooting using Heavy Balls?

If I can train with a heavier ball, then when I go back to the regulation size and weight I should be able to just "kill it".

It makes sense right?

Get stronger by using heavier loads doing the same motion as your sport skill, it is basic strength training science.

Although this is a really good idea in many circumstances (i.e. trying to copy or mimic exactly what you do in your sport with heavier loads) it may not always be a good idea.


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Re: Better Shooting using Heavy Balls?

Postby dantedett » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:40 pm

I have had a lot of experience with using heavy balls in water polo; but we use them to strengthen the legs and not the arms. You are completely right when you say that shooting a ball is a skill that requires a certain neuromuscular reaction when it is being performed. Using a heavy ball messes up the correct implementation of the skill because it requires different neuromuscular reaction (recruitment of muscle fibers) than when a player is actually shooting a water polo ball.Throwing a heavy ball will not help develop the correct technique for shooting a water polo ball. Because of the weight of the ball, a player ends up "shot-putting" the ball instead of throwing it correctly. The only way to get better at shooting a ball is to practice shooting in the pool while using the correct technique.

Throwing a heavy ball can also put a lot of stress on the shoulder joint and can cause injury to the muscles and tendons surrounding that joint. In my book I describe using heavy balls to help develop the legs; but I caution that the players should use two hands at the same time to pass the ball to each other. Using heavy balls in this manner is one of the best ways to develop the legs, because you are actually adding resistance at the same time that you are performing the eggbeater kick.

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