Water polo is a team sport that involves great physical movement during the game. Each player needs to swim constantly while also passing the ball, defending against the actions of opponents and scoring techniques. Water polo players may need to perform freestyle, backstroke and water-treading maneuvers. Water polo players need considerable leg strength to compete in this demanding game that requires speed, power and endurance.
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Flexibility and Strength
“Everything in the game is about the legs,” according to Terry Schroeder, the head coach of The United States men's water polo team. If you want to become a good water polo player, you will need strong legs. If you want to be a great water polo player, you need super strong legs. Increasing flexibility is also crucial because the flexibility of hip flexor muscle increases the distance between the legs in water polo's eggbeater position. Leg strength also helps improve your chances of landing better offensive shots and managing quicker returns on counterattacks.
Without leg strengthening exercises, a player will never gain a significant increase in flexibility and strength. Leg strength is especially important to help center forward players dominate their positions. The walking lunge helps develop the muscles on the backs of your legs. The key point of performing this exercise is to keep your trunk upright and take a long stride while keeping your front knee in line with your toes or toward the outside of your foot.
Another good workout for increasing leg strength is weight training. For building up leg muscle and developing muscle endurance, use medium weights with high repetitions. Other length-strengthening exercises include bike riding, stair running, squats and leg extensions. When working the upper part of your body, concentrate on exercises that require pulling than pushing. Keep your ratio of pulling and pushing exercises to 2:1 or 3:1. Suitable pulling exercises include pull-ups and chin-ups, and appropriate pushing choices include push-ups and bench presses.
No matter what type of exercise you want to practice for better leg strength, learn the proper technique. Strength training, performed properly, can greatly improve your performance in water polo. But mistakes caused by improper techniques could destroy your water polo career. So, do your workout under the supervision of a qualified coach. If you suffer an injury or strain while performing leg strength exercises, discontinue the workout and, if necessary, seek medical attention.