How Many Players In Water Polo?

Water polo is a team water sport played in a pool, where two teams compete to score goals by throwing a ball into the opponent’s goal. The players aim to carry, pass, and shoot the ball while swimming in the water. The game combines elements of swimming, soccer, and basketball and requires a combination of physical endurance, strength, and tactical skills.

How many players are there in a team of water polo? A team in water polo typically consists of 7 players. These 7 players play in the pool simultaneously during the game.

In traditional water polo, each team consists of seven players, and the game is played in four quarters, each lasting around 8 minutes (game time can vary depending on the level of play and competition rules). There are specific positions in water polo, and players have different roles and responsibilities:


A standard water polo team’s starting lineup:

Center ForwardCF2
Point GuardPG4

How many players are in water polo in different competitions?

CompetitionNumber of Players per Team
Olympic Games7
FINA World Championships7
NCAA Water Polo (US)7
European Championships7
Asian Water Polo Cup7
Youth World Championships7
Junior Pan American Games7
Local Recreational LeagueVaries

Are there any variations in the number of players in water polo?

While the standard number of players in water polo is seven per team, variations can exist in certain leagues or tournaments. Youth water polo or recreational formats may have modified rules, such as playing with fewer players on each team to accommodate skill levels and encourage participation.

What happens if a team has more or fewer than 7 players in the water during a water polo match?

In official competitions, each team must have exactly seven players in the water during the game. If a team has more than seven players, they will be penalized with an exclusion, and one player must leave the field. If a team has fewer than seven players due to exclusions or ejections, they may play with fewer players until the excluded or ejected players are allowed to reenter the game.

Why is 7 players the standard number in water polo?

The number of players in water polo is typically seven due to the size of the playing area and the physical demands of the sport. Having seven players allows for strategic gameplay and balanced team dynamics. It also ensures that there is enough space in the pool for movement and prevents overcrowding.

Do international water polo competitions have the same rules regarding the number of players on a team?

Yes, the standard number of players in water polo teams is seven in international competitions as well. The rules and regulations governing water polo are set by FINA (International Swimming Federation), and they are followed in most international tournaments, including the Olympic Games and World Championships.

Are there any specific rules for substitutions in water polo?

Yes, water polo allows for rolling substitutions, where players can enter and exit the game freely during stoppages in play or when a goal is scored. However, substitutions must occur within a designated substitution area to avoid disrupting the flow of the game. The goalkeeper substitution is an exception and requires a specific signal to the referee.

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