Kayak or Canoe Polo is one of the eight kinds of canoeing pursued in the UK. Canoe Polo combines paddling and ball handling skills with an exciting contact team game, where tactics and positional play are as important as the speed and fitness of the individual athletes.
The game requires excellent teamwork and promotes both general canoeing skills as well as a range of other techniques unique to the sport. Two teams each with five players on the pitch at any one time compete to score goals in their opponent's net which is suspended 2 metres above the water. The ball can be thrown by hand, or flicked with the paddle. Body protection, helmets and face-guards are all compulsory. Canoe Polo is, in the realm of paddle-sports, a fast-growing discipline.
Since the introduction of canoe polo at Malvern College, the team has gone from strength to strength. In the 2014/15 season we attended the Welsh Open Junior Tournament at Brecon as a NFC team, winning 2 out of 6 games and holding reigning champions Cardiff to a fraught 2-2 draw, much to the frustration of the established vastly experienced team. So far, during the 2015/16 season, we have played in 3 out of the 4 tournaments in our regional category the South West England Junior League. With a much stronger field of teams from all over the south west, it has been tough going but we are happily making strides forward in our game play, tactics and ball handling skills. Other schools entered in the league include Abingdon and Cheltenham, both of which we currently sit above in the league standings. With the introduction of canoe polo sessions for the lower school, we are looking very strong for coming years where pupils progressing through the College will gain vital skills and experience before competing for the senior team.
Head Coach: Jay Watts
My experiences of canoe polo started outside, in a cold outdoor pool on the Isle Of Man, playing with friends and makeshift equipment. The game is fast paced, aggressive and relies completely on the whole team working together. Following these early experiences, I played at Lancaster University and trained with Battersea Canoe Club, a Division 1 team based in Central London. As a relatively new coach to the sport, I am learning quickly – as are, hopefully, the pupils too!