How to throw a skip shot

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Mar 092006
 
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There are several ways to score a goal in water polo. The skip shot is one of the more exciting to see.

The skip shot is essentially exactly what it sounds like: a shot in water polo that bounces off the surface of the water in an attempt to make it past the opposing goalie.

Although rarely used, the skip shot can be an effective strategy if implemented at the right time.

Who uses a skip shot?

The shot is typically used by the "one or five spot" on offense, said senior water polo player Marisa Fernandez. The one and five positions are the two players located next to the sideline of the pool, about two meters from the goal. A player would try a skip shot when faced with a difficult angle at the goal.

How's it done?

A player must first get high out of the water before attempting a skip shot. Next, the player holds the ball above his/her head at about a 90-degree angle.

The release point of a skip shot is higher than that of a traditional shot.

The ball is then thrown off the water with the power coming primarily from a flick of the player's thumb.

Fernandez said the higher a player wants the ball to skip, the shorter the distance he or she should throw the shot off the water. The same tactic is used for throwing a lower shot.

A low skip shot can be used to bounce the ball under the goalie's arm if they are high up out of the water.

How common is it?

Fernandez had never successfully used the shot during a game, but does recount a game last year when junior Annie Quinn used it to score a goal.

"It's not very common because people are scared of it not skipping," Fernandez said. Varied water conditions make the shot unpredictable and therefore uncommon.

Even though Fernandez does not use a traditional skip shot, she is working on a sidearm variation that would be used to throw the ball around a defender.

 

— Compiled by Sean Star

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