12 Reasons Your School Should Play Water Polo

Last weekend Matt attended an ASA Assistant Water Polo Coaching Course in Chelmsford. Teaching the course was Martyn Thomas, former GB Goalkeeper of 14 years and British record holder for the most international appearances – he’s basically Water Polo’s Peter Shilton.

Martyn also spent over 40 years in education as a PE teacher and assistant head and during the course he shared with us, from a Physical Education perspective, how Water Polo ticks every box in terms of child development. Martyn has kindly followed up to share these reasons via our blog so that more schools consider adding Water Polo to the timetable.


1 – Water Polo is for EVERYONE

Children play with those that are more capable, less capable and those with disabilities both physical and mental.


2 – Water Polo develops the mind

Leadership and man management skills are imperative in Water Polo. You also have to learn the self-discipline to train and commit.


3 – Water Polo teaches respect of the opposition and authority

General discipline within the game is important as it is a contact sport, players will learn to accept authority and rules.


4 – Water Polo develops team skills

Water Polo is the ultimate team sport where everyone gets involved in attack and defence. Players learn how their individual role supports the success of all.


5- Mini Water Polo is for boys and girls

Mini Water Polo is low contact and can be played by all in a mixed gender situation up to age 16.


6- Water Polo develops strategy understanding

Intellectual appreciation of team game techniques and tactics are important in Water Polo.


7 – Water Polo improves cardio-vascular fitness

Whether it is swimming around the pool or treading water, Water Polo is an incredible cardio workout.


8 – Water polo players need to be flexible

Mobilisation of the joints is a must in order to swim efficiently, move through the water, pass and shoot.


9 – Water Polo is not weight-bearing

Exercise is easy on the joints and great for children who struggle with lands sports, there are low numbers of injury’s compared to the likes of Rugby.


10 – Water Polo builds strength

With all the swimming, treading water, throwing and wrestling, Water Polo is great for building strength.


11- Water Polo develops great watermanship

Your child learns about safety in water & general watermanship which can be life saving.


12- Water Polo develops motor skills

Swimming skills & ball skills are difficult, but combining the two adds an extra layer of complexity.


About Martyn

Martyn is a vastly experienced water polo coach and former player.

He represented Great Britain from 1965-1979 as a goalkeeper and holds the British record for the most international Water Polo appearances. In 1972 he participated in the world student games and in 1973 the world Water Polo championships, as well as numerous European competitions.

His coaching accolades include coaching Cheltenham (The current British League Champions) and previously he was South-West Chief Coach and an International Coach, selector for British Universities and current water polo tutor.