A Time-Motion Analysis of International Women’s Water Polo Match Play

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological demands of field players in international women’s water polo match play.

Methods:

Video footage was collected at the 13th FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup in Perth in 2002. Video recordings were analyzed using a simple hand-based notation system to record predefined activity durations, frequencies, and corresponding subjective intensities.

Results:

Average exercise bout duration was 7.4 ± 2.5 s and exercise to rest ratio within play 1:1.6 ± 0.6. The average pattern of exercise was represented by 64.0 ± 15.3% swimming, 13.1 ± 9.2% contested swimming, 14.0 ± 11.6% wrestling, and 8.9 ± 7.1% holding position. Significant differences existed between outside and center players for percentage time swimming (67.5 ± 14.0% vs 60.2 ± 13.3%, P = .002) and wrestling (9.9 ± 9.3% vs 18.4 ± 11.1%, P = .000). A significant difference was found in the number (P = .017) and duration (P = .010) of high-intensity activity (HIA) bouts performed each quarter for outside (1.8 ± 2.2 bouts, 7.0 ± 3.4 s) and center players (1.2 ± 1.5 bouts, 5.2 ± 3.4 s). Positional differences in HIA were the result of a significant difference (P = .000) in the number of maximal/near maximal swims (outside 1.2 ± 1.5 and center 0.5 ± 0.9 per quarter).

Conclusions:

This study characterizes international women’s water polo match play as a highly intermittent activity. Swimming, particularly high intensity, has greater significance to outside players, whereas wrestling has greater significance to center players.

D’Auria is with Athlete and Coach Support Services, Queensland Academy of Sport, Queensland, Australia, and Gabbett is with the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Club, Queensland, Australia.

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