Friday, 13 June 2008 15:40
One of the most important skills in water polo is the shot for goal. Good mechanics of the shot is of paramount importance to the polo player to optimize ball speed as well as to increase consistency and accuracy. Sound mechanics also decreases the chance of injury from repeated throwing at high speed or from a technique that puts excessive strain on a particular part of the body such as the shoulder or elbow. This article focuses on the basic shot used in field and penalty settings.
- The body acts like a whip with larger body parts (legs and trunk) developing momentum, which is transferred to the arm, then hand and finally to the ball - this process is called the KINETIC CHAIN.
- The KINETIC CHAIN is influenced by the amount of momentum each segment (eg.trunk) can produce as well as the number of segments that contribute - the more momentum a segment can produce and the more active segments in the chain, the greater the effect of the chain.
- The sequence order should be elevation and pick up - backswing - forward hip rotation (throw arm hip moves forward relative to the non-throw arm hip) - forward shoulder rotation (throw arm shoulder moves forward relative to the non-throw arm shoulder) with trunk flexion - arm extension - wrist flexion.
- Research has shown that the movements which contribute to developing ball speed are trunk rotation (hip, then shoulder rotation - approximately 30-35%), Internal rotation and/or horizontal adduction of the upper arm (20-30%), elbow extension (22-27%) and wrist flexion (8-13%).
- The sequence should be smooth - breaks or jerky movements indicate inefficient technique.
- Ball control is paramount to transfer the momentum built up by the body to the ball.
The Shot For Goal
Ball positioned behind body.
Player looking at goal.
Start Elevation / Ball Pick Up
Eggbeater kick increases to raise body.
Added elevation achieved by bending at the hips and bringing the legs up high for an explosive upward burst.
Ball picked up by pressing into water and gripping or moving hand underneath as it rises.
Top of Backswing
Hips have started forward rotation Shoulder line points to target.
Ball positioned above and behind the head.
Hand begins to rotate the ball so it is behind the ball during forward swing.
Opposite arm high for balance and to provide assistance with generating rotation of the shoulders.
Mid Forward Swing
Hips have completed rotation.
Shoulder rotation speed is peaking.
Hand behind ball.
Arm externally rotated (note forearm 'lagging behind' in the side view) and elbow flexes to about 80 degrees.
Elbow behind shoulder line.
Upper body has moved forward.
Wrist flexed for ball control (from here it will extend, or straighten, then flex again as the ball comes off the palm but is still in contact with fingers).
Elbow rapidly extends.
Forearm leaning forward viewed from the side.
Arm and shoulder in alignment as viewed from above (elbow not in front of shoulder line) Wrist flexes as ball comes off palm (but still contacts the fingers).
Opposite arm elbow vigorously tucked back into side to increase shoulder rotation speed.
Arm continues its path across the body and internally rotates so it does not straighten completely at the elbow (for injury prevention).
A good full follow through is indicative of a powerful throw and is used as a cue in numerous sports to encourage athletes to complete the skill optimally.