Penalty shots in International water polo: Regular opportunities with robust success despite a greater impact on the game under current rules
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of changes in the official water polo regulations, effective since 2005, on the impact, frequency and success of penalty shots relative to the game situation. Analysis of official records from the 192 games of the 2007 and 2009 World Championships compared with 216 games of 1998 and 2001 tournaments revealed a greater impact of penalties on the game under current rules. Penalties more than doubled, were distributed across more games, contributed double to the proportion of all goals scored, and affected the outcome of 20% of games. However, penalty shot success rate remained robust (77%) and was unrelated to aspects of the game situation that prescribe the importance of a goal to winning: the closeness of the score, the quarter or criticality of the game. Analyses of the 438 penalties from all games established that the frequency of occurrence and success of penalty shots did not differ from that expected under any particular situational combination of game criticality, quarter or closeness. The penalty shot thus remains a regular opportunity, unrelated to the game situation describing the importance of a goal, consistently executed with high success by élite water polo players.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2011