Polo Strategies

Basic Offense:

  • All five players typically move up the court to play offense, and it is generally best to spread out so that there are players far on the sides of the court as well as in the middle.
  • The basic idea when on offense is to drive in and try to break up the defense, leaving holes so that teammates can get close enough to the goal to take a clean shot.
  • Keep moving!  It’s much easier to throw the ball when you have forward momentum, and it makes the defense have to continually adapt.
  • Don’t cluster in the center under the goal.  It’s generally best to have players constantly moving from inside to outside and vice versa.
  • It’s generally best not to take a shot on goal over several defenders, because odds of success are low and a turnover is likely.  It’s often better to pass the ball around and keep moving until someone has a clean shot on goal at close range, with only the goalie in the way.
  • After a goal has been scored on your team, it’s typically best to move the ball back up the court as quickly as possible, leaving the defense little time to set up.

Basic Defense:  A zone defense is the type most commonly used in kayak polo games.  Here are descriptions of typical positions and functions.

  • Goalie:   The goalie has a good view of the entire game, so the goalie will often call instructions to the rest of the defense.
  • Wing:
    • Wings play slightly in front of and to one side of the goalie.
    • The wings prevent opposing players from getting close enough to shoot on goal, usually by boat tackling them.
  • Center:
    • The center plays directly in front of the goalie.  Watch out for getting too close to the goalie and knocking the goalie out of position.
    • The center tries to maintain position to prevent opposing players from getting to the desirable shooting position directly in front of goal.
    • The center has a good view of the game, and may also call instructions to the defense, and relay instructions from the goalie.
  • Chaser:
    • The chaser puts aggressive pressure on the offense, trying to force a turnover.
    • Depending on the number of chasers and the defense strategy, a chaser may attack the person who currently has the ball or the player who is his/her easiest next pass.  The objective is to force the offense to fumble the ball or attempt a difficult pass.