Understanding Water Polo Target Practice Equipment

Technique is one of the most important aspects of playing water polo. As with any sport, impeccable technique does not come easily; it comes from practice and determination. Players with the best technique are the ones who can score the most and make the best passes.

The best way for a player to improve their shooting and passing performance is by practicing with rebound boards and rebound nets. This type of target practice equipment does not require two people to be present, like actual passing and shooting does, so a player can practice on their own. This guide will explain the specifics about how and why rebound boards and nets are used.

Rebound Boards

Rebound boards are sturdy practice boards that serve as a target for players practicing their shooting technique. These flat boards sit vertically over the side of the pool deck in place of a goal. Since they are just over 3ft. long (unlike goals that are 10ft. long) up to three rebound boards can be placed next to each other to mimic a goal. The boards are typically painted with the outline of a goal and with painted small, circular targets to give the player something realistic to aim at.

Rebound Boards Are Used To:

  • Practice shooting in the water without a second player or goalie.
  • Build shooting endurance.
  • Perfect shooting technique.
  • Have coach or another player easily observe and critique shooter’s form.
  • Sometimes work on passing technique.

Benefits of Rebound Boards:

  • They do not wear down ball since board surface is smooth.
  • Players can use weight ball against board for strength training and endurance shooting.
  • They force player to throw hard enough for ball to rebound back properly.
  • They are easy to move in and out of pool.
  • They are smaller than goals and, thus, easier to store.

Rebound Nets

Rebound nets are 2.5ft. to 3ft. long and sit diagonally on the deck—not vertically over the side of the deck like rebound boards. When used in the water, these nets are set at an angle just on the edge of the pool deck. This forces the player to use their legs to get up to pass so that the ball will rebound right back to them.

When used out of the water, the nets are sat an angle away from the edge of the pool so the player does not accidently throw the ball into the water. The player can either stand or kneel while to throw the ball. Rebound nets vary in design from actual netting to trampoline-like netting.

Rebound Nets Are Used To:

  • Practice passing technique without another player.
  • Build passing endurance.
  • Refine passing skills.
  • Have coach or another player easily observe and critique player’s form.
  • Sometimes practice shooting technique.

Benefits of Rebound Nets:

  • They do not wear down ball since net surface is smooth.
  • Some types of nets allow players to use lighter weight balls for endurance and strength training.*
  • They force player to throw hard enough so ball will rebound back properly.
  • They are easy to move in and out of pool.
  • They have a collapsible, smaller frame than goals and are, thus, easier to store.

*Note: Weight balls may cause some rebound nets to tear or to injure players. Use caution and check product information to ensure weight ball capacity before using weight ball. Trampoline-like netting is better suited for weight balls.

Shooting Sieves

Shooting Sieves are 10ft. (as long as the goal) long and made of a durable mesh material. To use them, they are bungeed to the front face of the goal and used to practice and perfect aim. There are five 1x1ft. holes in shooting sieves: one in each corner of the goal and one in the top middle “bunny” hole. Players can work on their shooting aim without a goalie and without another player; although, multiple players can use it at a time.

Shooting Sieves are easy to set up and take down, since they attach to the goal with bungee cords. Often, players leave the top of it connected to flip the sieve over so it lays on the back of the goal. This way, the Sieve can be flipped back and forth easily if players want to practice shooting on a real goalie too.

Shooting Sieves Are Used To:

  • Practice shooting technique without another player.
  • Build shooting endurance.
  • Refine shooting accuracy.
  • Have coach or another player easily observe and critique shooter’s form.

Benefits of Shooting Sieves:

  • They force player to shoot through the target holes.
  • They are easy to store, move, and attach to goal.
  • They are made of a soft mesh that will not wear down ball’s gripability.

Target practice equipment is beneficial to players for various reasons: rebound boards are used to practice shooting, rebound nets are used to practice passing, and shooting sieves are used to perfect aim. With the help of target practice equipment like these, players will be able to reach their potential and to become the best water polo players they can be. Practice can make perfect and the proper practice equipment will give them what they need to succeed.

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