At the community club level, water polo is played in co-ed teams. Each team has a minimum of seven players in the water at one time, with a minimum of 2 girls in the water at all times. Water polo is fast-paced, exciting, and extremely fun to play! It takes good team skills as well as individual strength and endurance.
There are different age categories, determined by the player’s age as of December 31 of the current year:
- Mini (new players; ages 6-8 years unable to swim 25 m)
- Junior Development (new players able to swim 25 m; ages 8-12 years): U10
- Juniors (9 -12 years): U12
- Senior (12-18 years): U14, U16, U18
Weekly training depends on the age and skill of the player:
- Juniors and Seniors train two to three times a week for approximately 90 minutes each practice
- Junior Development players train two times a week for 60 to 90 minutes at each practice
- Minis practice once per week for 60-90 minutes
Junior and Senior Programs
The goals of the Junior and Senior programs are:
- to improve each player’s individual water polo playing skills;
- to teach them to work as part of a team; to expose them to the pressures of playing in a competitive environment;
- to develop a healthy respect and attitude towards teammates and opponents (both boys and girls), and;
- to experience both team and individual success; and, to have fun.
Goal of the Junior Development Program:
- to introduce the players to water polo in a fun and semi-structured format where the players learn some of the basic skills and rules of the game in preparation for playing. It acts as a bridge between the Mini Program and the Juniors/Seniors program.
Minis is an introductory program for younger players, who are still learning to swim. Its purpose is to introduce them to water polo and to teach some of the basic skills and rules. The program is meant to complement regular swimming lessons, not replace them.
Advanced Program: Spartans
Players who enjoy the sport and wish to participate at a more advanced level can join the Spartans Advanced Program, supported by Vipers and the Burnaby Baraccudas. The Advanced Program offers an additional weekly practice and select tournaments. For more information on the Advanced Program, contact email@example.com
Other options for higher level play include the regional water polo teams – Pacific Storm or Fraser Valley – which compete at an intra-provincial level.
Fall and Winter: September – April
The Junior and Senior teams play weekly competitive games against other teams from across the Lower Mainland: North Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Surrey. Together these teams form the Lower Mainland Water Polo League (LMWPL); each game is 45 minutes in duration. Twice a year – in December and again in April – the League hosts multi-day tournaments for each age group. (The tournaments are held over a weekend.)
Players in the Junior Development program have opportunities to play games with other 10U teams in the LMWPL. While these games are organized by the individual teams and are not regularly scheduled, they do provide the players with an opportunity to play against other teams, complementing their training and giving them an opportunity to try out their skills.
Summer: May – August
During the summer season, players compete in one-day tournaments, playing 2 to 4 game during the day. The season finale is the Regional Championship where the top 2 teams to advance the Provincial Championships.