Looking for a fun sport for the kids to play in summer? We caught up with Townsville Water Polo Association president Kat Giles to find out what flippa ball is and why it’s making a splash with kids.
“It improves children’s swimming skills, their hand-eye co-ordination and it gets them away from the games they have at home” – Kat Giles
What is flippa ball? It’s a modified version of water polo, with adjustments to the rules to accommodate their skill levels and to keep the game going, which keeps the kids interested.
What ages can play? Kids from eight years old to 11 are welcome to join. They need to be older because of the depth of the pool and the skill level that’s needed to play. Players need to be able to swim reasonably well and good hand-eye coordination is a bonus.
How is it different to water polo? There’s a few basic rules that we use in a game of flippa ball, whereas water polo has a whole set of rules. This is designed to keep the kids interested and to keep the game going. For example, one of the modified rules is that they have to throw with one hand, but they can catch with two, whereas – with water polo – you have to catch and throw with one hand. You cannot push the ball under the water and you cannot have contact with someone’s arm if they have a ball in it, or the head.
What are the benefits of flippa ball? It improves children’s swimming skills, their hand-eye co-ordination and it gets them away from the games they have at home. It also improves their exercise tolerance because the quarters are seven minutes long, so they are swimming and playing for those seven minutes.
Did you play flippa ball or water polo as a kid? No, I didn’t: I got into it because of my son – he started playing flippa ball when he was eight years old, and he now plays at a national level.
Are there any misconceptions about the sport? I don’t think that flippa ball is widely known. People understand water polo, but they don’t understand that flippa ball is water polo for kids, and they can just come and enjoy themselves. We’re getting the kids to enjoy the game, and they can progress into the juniors, and then the senior squad of water polo after.
How can we get involved? We have flippa ball at Ignatius Park College on Saturday, 9am till 11am. For the older kids wanting to play water polo, we have training sessions at Long Tan Pool at Heatley, from 6:15pm to 8pm on Tuesday nights.
Last words? We are also looking for adult water polo players. If there are any players that have previously played water polo or if anyone is interested in playing who has never played before, come on down and have a go.
Find out more about flippa ball and water polo here. https://thegotownsville.com.au/where-to-go-directory/4121/townsville-water-polo-assoc/