The Basic Rules for Water Basketball

The perfect recipe for a hot summer day is water basketball and all you need are some friends, a water basketball, one basketball hoop and a pool. It is a great way to stay cool and get a workout at the same time.  You and your friends will need to establish some basic backyard rules to the game and a way you go.

The growing popularity of water basketball has turned this pool sport into a popular intramural sport at the collegiate level. While water basketball is similar to traditional court basketball in many ways, the rules for water basketball are a bit different. If you are new to the sport, or are not familiar with the ins and outs, below are the primary rules that differentiate water basketball from court ball.

Team Size

The team size for water basketball is also 5 like in traditional court ball, but only 4 players need to be in the pool at a time. All players are required to wear numbers, as it is more difficult to distinguish one player from another when playing basketball in the pool. The rules for water basketball prohibit two players from the same team from wearing the same number—and the team will be penalized with a technical foul if this occurs.

Inner Tubes

The rules for water basketball require all players to remain in their flotation inner tubes during the game. Any gameplay or action performed while outside of an inner tube results in a personal foul. If a player accidentally slips out of their inner tube, they are required to reenter it prior to touching the ball.

Number Of Fouls

The rules for water basketball clearly state that each team is only allowed three fouls. If a team incurs additional fouls once they have reached 3, each additional foul will result in one point for the opposing team.

Game Play

The overall goal of water basketball is the same as court ball, in that you are trying to land your ball in the hoop to earn points. However, the rules for water basketball are a bit different in that free throws and 3 point shots are not allowed.

Goal Tending—Results in an automatic point for the opposing team.

Out Of Bounds—The edges of the pool are considered to be out of bounds. If a player forces the basketball out of the pool, the ball will automatically be awarded to the opposing team via a “throw in.”

Violations—Players are not allowed to push off the side of the pool, or submerge the ball underwater in an effort to keep it from the opposing team. Players are also not allowed to attempt to throw the other team off balance by jostling their inner tube, pushing, shoving, or holding them underwater. All of these violations would result in a personal foul.

The rules above are the primary difference between water basketball and court ball.

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