5+ Reasons Why Water Polo Players Don’t Wear Goggles

Water polo players avoid wearing goggles due to the risk of eye injuries from shattered goggles, potential for opponents to use them against players, unnecessary eye protection in the pool, hindrance to peripheral vision, and issues like fogging and distraction during play.

why water polo players don't wear goggles

Water polo players do not wear goggles when they are participating in a water polo match. In fact, in most leagues, players are banned from wearing goggles.

If you are signing your child up to play the sport of water polo, are signing up to play in a league, or are just interested in learning more about the sport, you may find yourself wondering why water polo players do not wear goggles.

Read on to learn the five primary reasons why goggles are not worn while playing this water sport and to get answers to the other questions that people frequently have pertaining to water polo. 

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1. Goggles Can Get Broken By a Ball During Play

One of the primary reasons why water polo players do not wear goggles is because the goggles can get broken by a ball during play. If the water polo ball hits goggles during the course of a game, the goggles, which are made from hard plastic, can shatter.

If the plastic shatters, these shards of hard plastic can scratch or cut a player in the eye. This can cause serious eye injuries or even potentially lead to blindness.

As such, the risk to the eyes that players face by wearing goggles is so high that it simply is not worth wearing goggles (though caps are absolutely necessary).

The risk to the eyes is one of the key reasons why goggles are banned from use in some of the largest competitive leagues. 

2. Opposing Teams Can Use Goggles to Injure Players

Another huge reason why water polo players do not wear goggles is because opposing players can use goggles to cause injury to a player.

Water polo is a physical sport, and there are a lot of elbows thrown and hands touching other players. An opposing player can throw an elbow to the face of a player wearing goggles and cause those goggles to dig into the player’s face.

Additionally, goggles give other players something to grip or grab when they are trying to play. They can grab the straps of the goggles, or the goggles themselves, and snap the straps or goggles. This can sting or cause injury to a player. 

3. Goggles Are Not Needed

Goggles help to protect the eyes from chemicals in a pool and help to keep liquids out of the eye so someone can focus on whatever they are doing, such as swimming in a straight line.

However, what those of us who are not in the pool often may not realize is that your eyes naturally adjust to chemicals in the pool, such as chlorine.

Human eyes adjust to many things very well, such as being in the dark. The human eye can get used to pool chemicals and water frequently splashing in them the longer someone practices and plays water polo. This ultimately means that goggles really are not needed. 

4. Goggles Block Your Peripheral Vision

When the game of water polo is being played, you have to be able to see everywhere in the pool.

At times you may need to look forward, but at other times, you will also have to look from side to side to see where the ball is or watch opponents advancing with the ball.

One of the drawbacks to goggles is that they help you to see straight ahead, but they can block your peripheral vision. This is why you see swimmers wearing goggles, but not water polo players.

Swimmers need to look straight ahead or in a straight line, whereas water polo players need to look all around them. 

5. There Are Many Problems That Can Occur While Wearing Goggles

The final reason why water polo players do not wear goggles is because there are many problems that can arise with goggles, and these can be a hindrance.

Goggles can fall off of the face, can fill with water, the straps can break or the goggles can get foggy. When each of these problems occur, a player would have to deal with their goggles and fix the problem, rather than being able to focus on the game happening right in front of them.

This can cause players to miss out on key plays, all because they are busy fiddling with problematic goggles.

Not wearing goggles at all helps to ensure that goggles do not prevent players from being involved in key plays. 

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Water Polo

One of the more frequently asked questions about water polo is why water polo players do not wear goggles.

However, in addition to this question, there are a few other commonly asked questions about water polo players and the sport of water polo.

Continue reading to learn more about the four other questions that are also frequently asked about water polo and water polo players and to get the answers to these questions. 

Can Water Polo Players Wear Contact Lenses? 

Water polo players can wear contact lenses when they are playing water polo. However, it is important to note that most water polo players who wear contact lenses in the pool are not wearing standard or regular contact lenses.

Regular contact lenses typically should not be worn in water. Your optometrist can prescribe contact lenses for you that can be worn in the water. These types of lenses are typically disposable, meaning you dispose of them after you are done in the water, ensuring any chemicals, such as chlorine, and any bacteria on the lens, do not sit on your eyes for a prolonged period of time. 

Why Do Water Polo Players Wear Headgear? 

KAP SEVEN Turbo No Number Water Polo Practice Cap (White)

Another frequently asked question about water polo is why water polo players wear headgear. There are two key reasons why headgear is worn.

First off, the headgear helps to protect the ears. The headgear has hard guards around the ears, helping to protect the ears if a ball is thrown at the head. This is because hearing loss is one of the most common injuries that water polo players sustain.

The other reason why water polo players wear headgear is because the gear features the player’s number on it. This helps to confirm a player’s identity when they are in the water. Essentially, the headgear acts as a jersey of sorts (rather than the swimsuit). 

Do Water Polo Players Touch the Bottom of the Pool? 

Aside from the goalie, water polo players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool anytime the ball is in play. They must swim or tread water at all times.

It is a minor foul if a player touches the bottom of the pool (which can be quite deep) with their feet while making a play for the ball or advancing the ball.

When there are time-outs or the ball is not currently in play, players can stand and touch the bottom of the pool if they are able to do so. 

What Isn’t Allowed in Water Polo?

Like the majority of sports, water polo has many different rules that state what is and what is not allowed. If you are considering playing water polo, it is important to take the time to learn the rules so you have a better understand of what is and is not allowed.

However, here are some of the key things that are not allowed in water polo. As has already been mentioned, you cannot wear goggles while playing water polo and cannot touch the bottom of the pool.

While water polo is a physical sport, you are not allowed to kick your opponent. You are also not allowed to sink, pull or push an opponent who is not near or making a play for the ball. You are also not allowed to start or engage in a fight while participating in a water polo match. 

More FAQs

Why do water polo players not wear goggles?

Water polo players do not wear goggles in order to prevent injury. Due to the physical nature of the sport, players often throw elbows while competing for the ball. Wearing goggles during such contact could potentially lead to severe eye injuries.

How do water polo players protect their eyes?

Water polo players protect their eyes by avoiding the use of contacts while playing in a pool. Contacts should not be worn in chlorinated pools as the chlorine can cause damage to the lenses. If a player chooses to wear contacts, it is important to wear goggles to safeguard both the contacts and the eyes.

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