1. Managing Decorum
Athletes, coaches, referees and fans are all stakeholders in maintaining decorum throughout a water polo contest. Referees have the tools to ensure that a breakdown in decorum does not occur. It is important to note that following the pregame meeting, the head coach and captain are the only individuals authorized to address the referees, which can take place during time-outs, intervals between periods, with the permission of the referee or, in the case of the head coach, when filing a protest. The head coach and captain may only discuss rule clarifications and potential misapplications of rules with the officials, but may not comment to or address the referees during the actual play of the game. Judgment calls are not subject to discussion at any time. The referee has many tools to address conduct on the deck, including the issuance of warnings, yellow cards or red cards. Referees are encouraged to continue to use all of their options in maintaining decorum, and to understand their role in a competitive environment.
2. Water Polo Move
A water polo move is the act of putting the ball into play, and any water polo-related move by the player taking the free throw is considered putting the ball in play. Examples include passing the ball to another player, dropping the ball from a raised hand into the water, throwing the ball in the air, swimming or dribbling the ball, spinning the ball in the hand, or a hard-ball fake. However, the mere act of picking up the ball by the player awarded a free throw does not constitute a water polo move. The referee administering the free throw must indicate the ball is in play by dropping an arm from horizontal to vertical position when the player taking the free throw makes a water polo move.
3. Collaboration Between Referees
NFHS Water Polo Rules state that the authority of the referees over the players, coaches and team officials shall be effective during the entire time that the referees, players, coaches and team officials are within the precincts of the pool. It is important for the referees to work as a team so that they provide a consistent and fair environment for competition. Before the game begins, officials should discuss how they will share the pool so that the entire field of play is being monitored. Also, managementall of the players in the field, as well as appropriate application of the rules should be addressed. Referees must check the goals, exclusion areas, and pool markings. They should ensure that benches are located properly, and confirm that desk personnel are properly trained and equipment works properly. During the contest referees must use clear and correct signals to avoid misunderstanding by players, coaches, and spectators. Any mistake or misunderstanding must be clarified in collaboration between the two referees. Between periods, officials should address areas of concern and further spell out how they are sharing pool coverage based on what is happening in that particular game. Together, as a team, the referees can insure that athletes and coaches are afforded a fair and level playing field.