USAWP announced rule modifications for the youngest athletes in the 10U and 12U age groups. A summary of the new rules can be found here: NEW RULES. The impetus behind these rules derives from a broad international and domestic basis. Here are some points of discussion to give a little background on the reason for the changes:
Online Video Explanation of New Rules for 12U/10U: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2QqEPdeiis&feature=youtu.be
- These rules have been successfully implemented for over a decade in all of the developed water polo countries around the globe. In fact, at the moment the USA is the only developed water polo country not to use modified rules for 10u and 12u.
- These rules are used by the largest development water polo league in the world “Haba Waba”, and have gained full support from FINA, LEN and UANA. The countries using these rules to develop their athletes have a grown larger interest in our sport and developed some of the best athletes in the world.
- In California, the “Ironman Water Polo League” has been using these rules for the last two years with successful implementation amongst coaches, referees and athletes.
- Modified rules for these age groups is common amongst most youth sports in the world. USA Soccer, USA Field Hockey, USA Ice Hockey, USA Basketball and the USOC were all consulted during this process.
- For example, most 10u basketball leagues ban zone defenses. This rule is in place to help athletes develop the crucial one on one defensive skills necessary for fundamental success in the sport.
- The overriding goal of rule changes at these age groups is to de-emphasize the focus on winning, by concentrating on fundamental athlete development, and in turn attract a larger base of athletes to our great sport.
Rules regarding the size of the goal for 10U athletes remains the same as established in 1/2014. Implementation the new goal size for 12Us is being phased in to allow coaches and clubs time to adjust. 12U will not go into effect until September 2015 for USA Water Polo National Events, and January 2017 for all other sanctioned events.
With the exception of the 12U goal size outlined above, these new rules are effective immediately and will be used for JO Qualifying Tournaments, JOs, Rock-tober 2015.