Question: Head underwater

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retiredguy
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Question: Head underwater

Postby retiredguy » Mon Feb 07, 2022 1:16 am

Ok, so I hear referees say this a lot — “well I can’t call that because the players head is underwater”

My question is this — I don’t see a rule in the rule book that says anything about a players head being underwater negating a foul or exclusion. Usually it seems to me that when a player performs a turn or half turn and the defender has their hands down holding the player, at a minimum this should be some kind of ordinary or possible exclusion depending on the location in the pool. While coaches want to teach players to use their legs to keep their head above water for safety reasons, sometimes the player just can’t keep their head fully above water. Does this automatically become a no call?

Any thoughts?

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby ephpolo » Tue Feb 08, 2022 12:35 am

I don't think a no call based on the offensive player's head under water is justified by anything in the NCAA rulebook. That said, I can conceive of many situations with the offensive player's head under water where a "no call" is correct because the defensive player is not committing a foul.

If the offensive player's head underwater was judged to be "ducking under to gain an advantage" then a contra foul would be the correct call.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby oldtimer » Wed Feb 09, 2022 10:02 pm

If you look back at the 'you make the call number 33' thread you will see that the offensive player put her head under water ,then the defender jumps over the top, steals the ball and there is no call. Ephpolo indicated he felt there wasn't anything to call, but Rational said it should have been an exclusion because the defender climbed all over the offense. So you can see the problem here.

I always tell my players that as soon as your head goes underwater you have taken yourself out of the play and a referee is unlikely to call anything. Part of the reason for this is that referees are told to only call what they see. If you are underwater they can't see anything, therefore many referees will call nothing.

I mentioned some time back in a thread that I saw a player grab another player underwater and push them out of the way. When I asked the referee why that wasn't a foul he said "because it was under water". This illustrates the problem with giving referees interpretations and rules of thumb. It's like the whisper game where everyone hears something slightly different.

My own opinion is that a foul is a foul whether it is under water or not. However it is harder to see when it's under water so by putting your shoulders and head under water you are less likely to get the call because the referee probably didn't actually see it and therefore has to make an assumption. Some are willing to make that assumption and some are not. Some assume too much.

It's a very difficult game to referee perfectly. From a referee standpoint you have no idea what the capabilities of a player might be. So did he or she fail to make the play because they were being held or fouled, or because they just couldn't handle a little bit of pressure? So you try to call what you see but if the player isn't going to help you then at least part of it is on them.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby ephpolo » Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:53 pm

oldtimer wrote:If you look back at the 'you make the call number 33' thread you will see that the offensive player put her head under water ,then the defender jumps over the top, steals the ball and there is no call. Ephpolo indicated he felt there wasn't anything to call, but Rational said it should have been an exclusion because the defender climbed all over the offense. So you can see the problem here.



What I actually wrote was more nuanced than that, beginning with something like, "that's a lousy camera angle and hard to see".

Just went back and re-read that--and rewatched the video, which did not change my mind about a no call BASED ON WHAT I COULD SEE IN THE CLIP.

I went on to say that there were several possible fouls that might have occurred but I couldn't see clearly enough to call them. And then I said that without clear evidence of a foul I could see, I would definitely not bail out a player who chose to stick her head underwater.

Probably a poor choice of words. My point was that if she'd kept herself high in the water, any foul would have been more clearly visible. If she'd even made a visible effort to maintain her head above water, I'd have been more likely to have my attention drawn to the contact that might have been sinking her. But she did not, so far as I saw.

It's not that the rule book says it's not a foul if the player's head is underwater. It's that a player keeping--or trying to keep--her vertical position makes it much easier to observe the foul.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Tue Feb 15, 2022 6:30 pm

A pretty simple concept in my humble opinion.... If the player's head is taken underwater by the defender it's an easy call.
If the player TAKES his/her own head underwater to make the play it's a no-call on the defender to come over the top and take the ball ASSUMING the defender didn't take extra liberties while doing so in playing the "man" and not the ball. If there's incidental contact by the defender so be it. The offensive player put themselves in that position and it's not the official's responsibility to get them out of it. Ideally, quickly whistling the ducking under to gain the positional advantage and turning the ball over before any extra stuff happens is the best scenario, but if the defender is quicker than your call and takes the ball while making "acceptable" (whatever YOU define that to be in that particular instance because each play is actually different) contact then that's fine with me too. Make the signal that the player's head was under and explain later if the coach is clueless.
My point is just because the player purposely takes their head underwater doesn't make it open season on their head or the ball.

As was explained to me a few decades ago when I was starting out from a referee I respect...."The game is played above the water. If a player takes themselves underwater to get an advantage they're no longer playing the game as it was intended. Don't reward their bad play by punishing the defender for staying above the water playing defense." In my opinion he was right then and he's still right.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby SetDx2 » Tue Feb 15, 2022 8:15 pm

I have a slightly different question. Is "ducking under" by an offensive player grounds for an exclusion or is it considered an offensive foul requiring change of possession but no kick-out? For example, after a change of possession, an offensive player swims up the pool parallel to a defender. The offensive player then aggressively dives under the defender as they are swimming and then flails about as if they had been swam over. Should that be a kick-out or just an offensive foul and change of possession? I have seen a defender excluded several times this season in the above scenario and have assumed the official just caught the end result and did not see the dive-under that initiated the contact. What I find confusing is that in the times the offensive player was called, it was called an offensive foul, possession changed, but no kick-out on the diving player. Is that how it is supposed to be called?

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Tue Feb 15, 2022 8:37 pm

SetDx2 wrote:I have a slightly different question. Is "ducking under" by an offensive player grounds for an exclusion or is it considered an offensive foul requiring change of possession but no kick-out? For example, after a change of possession, an offensive player swims up the pool parallel to a defender. The offensive player then aggressively dives under the defender as they are swimming and then flails about as if they had been swam over. Should that be a kick-out or just an offensive foul and change of possession? I have seen a defender excluded several times this season in the above scenario and have assumed the official just caught the end result and did not see the dive-under that initiated the contact. What I find confusing is that in the times the offensive player was called, it was called an offensive foul, possession changed, but no kick-out on the diving player. Is that how it is supposed to be called?

Contra foul and not an exclusion on the offense.
Players aren’t penalized for doing things “aggressively” as it’s inherently an aggressive sport. They can, however, be called for being overly-aggressive and that’s where the judgement of the referee comes in. It would have to be pretty gross and extremely “aggressive” to warrant an offensive exclusion on a duck under attempting to gain positional advantage. One should know it when they see it. If not the crowd will sure think they do :lol:

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby retiredguy » Wed Feb 16, 2022 1:57 am

Water-Polo-Fan wrote: As was explained to me a few decades ago when I was starting out from a referee I respect...."The game is played above the water. If a player takes themselves underwater to get an advantage they're no longer playing the game as it was intended. Don't reward their bad play by punishing the defender for staying above the water playing defense." In my opinion he was right then and he's still right.


This last comment from your referee friend is exactly the sort of thing I hear a lot and my concern is that this isn’t the referees job to decide if someone is “playing the game as intended”. Their job is to interpret the rules, and I don’t believe there is anything in the rules that states an offensive player must keep their head above water to earn an ordinary foul or exclusion. If the defender is fouling them by the rules of water polo, it should be called in my opinion.

I do agree that if the offensive player creates an unfair advantage by holding, grabbing suit, or otherwise while underwater that should be called an offensive foul if seen by the official.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Wed Feb 16, 2022 3:03 am

retiredguy wrote:
Water-Polo-Fan wrote: As was explained to me a few decades ago when I was starting out from a referee I respect...."The game is played above the water. If a player takes themselves underwater to get an advantage they're no longer playing the game as it was intended. Don't reward their bad play by punishing the defender for staying above the water playing defense." In my opinion he was right then and he's still right.


This last comment from your referee friend is exactly the sort of thing I hear a lot and my concern is that this isn’t the referees job to decide if someone is “playing the game as intended”. Their job is to interpret the rules, and I don’t believe there is anything in the rules that states an offensive player must keep their head above water to earn an ordinary foul or exclusion. If the defender is fouling them by the rules of water polo, it should be called in my opinion.

I do agree that if the offensive player creates an unfair advantage by holding, grabbing suit, or otherwise while underwater that should be called an offensive foul if seen by the official.

It would seem you misinterpreted his point, or mine, but the fact remains I’m hard pressed to call a foul on the defense while the offense is already committing a foul by going under to gain positional advantage. If the offense takes themself under the water leaving the ball on top of the water, I have zero problem in allowing the defense to take the ball because it’s either being held by the offense thus no foul if it’s being held OR by letting the defense take the ball if it’s left on the the surface of the water by the offense. As long as the defense is not gross in making contact with the offensive player I’m letting him/her take the ball and start the counter. If it’s gross you make the foul call be it ordinary/exclusion or penalty. There’s all kinds of contact throughout a game that is not called (and we’d agree shouldn’t be) so I’m not going to suddenly call a foul for the same level of contact for a player who takes themselves out of the play trying to illegally gain positional advantage. Apply the advantage rule and let the defense take the ball without being gross in doing so or call the contra. Either way the offense isn’t getting a call.
As for things not being in the rule book(s) well, that’s why we have interpretations passed down from the powers that be on how they want the game called. That’s where the “intended” word comes from in my earlier post. The NCAA is a great example of this with the multitudes of rules interpretations that come down mid-season based on things that have occurred in games and they want consistency in the calls should it happen again in future games. It’s not in the rule book, but the “intent” of how “they” want it called is clear to their officials.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby Cal Polo Enthusiast » Thu May 05, 2022 7:33 pm

retiredguy wrote:
Water-Polo-Fan wrote: As was explained to me a few decades ago when I was starting out from a referee I respect...."The game is played above the water. If a player takes themselves underwater to get an advantage they're no longer playing the game as it was intended. Don't reward their bad play by punishing the defender for staying above the water playing defense." In my opinion he was right then and he's still right.


This last comment from your referee friend is exactly the sort of thing I hear a lot and my concern is that this isn’t the referees job to decide if someone is “playing the game as intended”. Their job is to interpret the rules, and I don’t believe there is anything in the rules that states an offensive player must keep their head above water to earn an ordinary foul or exclusion. If the defender is fouling them by the rules of water polo, it should be called in my opinion.

I do agree that if the offensive player creates an unfair advantage by holding, grabbing suit, or otherwise while underwater that should be called an offensive foul if seen by the official.


Some players get, or try to get, fouls by sinking, either due to trying to fool the ref or because they just have poor legs. You shouldn't reward either.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby oldtimer » Fri Jul 22, 2022 8:05 pm

Cal Polo Enthusiast wrote:
retiredguy wrote:
Water-Polo-Fan wrote: As was explained to me a few decades ago when I was starting out from a referee I respect...."The game is played above the water. If a player takes themselves underwater to get an advantage they're no longer playing the game as it was intended. Don't reward their bad play by punishing the defender for staying above the water playing defense." In my opinion he was right then and he's still right.


This last comment from your referee friend is exactly the sort of thing I hear a lot and my concern is that this isn’t the referees job to decide if someone is “playing the game as intended”. Their job is to interpret the rules, and I don’t believe there is anything in the rules that states an offensive player must keep their head above water to earn an ordinary foul or exclusion. If the defender is fouling them by the rules of water polo, it should be called in my opinion.

I do agree that if the offensive player creates an unfair advantage by holding, grabbing suit, or otherwise while underwater that should be called an offensive foul if seen by the official.


Some players get, or try to get, fouls by sinking, either due to trying to fool the ref or because they just have poor legs. You shouldn't reward either.


At what point in this discussion did anyone make a claim that someone should be 'rewarded' for poor play? I don't even know why that statement has any bearing on the discussion. The question is whether someone with his/her head underwater can be fouled or not.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Thu Jul 28, 2022 3:49 am

oldtimer wrote:…The question is whether someone with his/her head underwater can be fouled or not.

Well, if you wanted the simple answer all you had to do was ask. The answer is yes and no.

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Re: Question: Head underwater

Postby Cal Polo Enthusiast » Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:26 pm

oldtimer wrote:
Cal Polo Enthusiast wrote:
retiredguy wrote:
Water-Polo-Fan wrote: As was explained to me a few decades ago when I was starting out from a referee I respect...."The game is played above the water. If a player takes themselves underwater to get an advantage they're no longer playing the game as it was intended. Don't reward their bad play by punishing the defender for staying above the water playing defense." In my opinion he was right then and he's still right.


This last comment from your referee friend is exactly the sort of thing I hear a lot and my concern is that this isn’t the referees job to decide if someone is “playing the game as intended”. Their job is to interpret the rules, and I don’t believe there is anything in the rules that states an offensive player must keep their head above water to earn an ordinary foul or exclusion. If the defender is fouling them by the rules of water polo, it should be called in my opinion.

I do agree that if the offensive player creates an unfair advantage by holding, grabbing suit, or otherwise while underwater that should be called an offensive foul if seen by the official.


Some players get, or try to get, fouls by sinking, either due to trying to fool the ref or because they just have poor legs. You shouldn't reward either.


At what point in this discussion did anyone make a claim that someone should be 'rewarded' for poor play? I don't even know why that statement has any bearing on the discussion. The question is whether someone with his/her head underwater can be fouled or not.


A foul is a foul although much harder to see if it is underwater. I assumed that was obvious and this was a more general discussion around the issue. You see sinking/simulation rewarded all the time, primarily defenders with poor legs (or trying to milk a foul) getting rewarded for sinking. It is especially prevalent in NCAA matches in comparison to professional European leagues.

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