Analysis of expert’s opinion of optimal beginning age for learning technical skills in water polo


  • Mladen Hraste Faculty of Science
  • Igor Jelaska University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, Split, Croatia
  • Cain C.T. Clark Birmingham City University


water polo experts, technical elements, new teaching methodology, didactic principles, early specialization


Purpose: Optimizing the training process of young water polo players according to children's developmental characteristics and didactic principles is of pivotal importance; however, there is a lack of research in the area. Therefore, we sought to determine and explain the appropriate age for beginning of learning technical elements in water polo according to water polo experts’ coaches’ opinion.

Methods: In accordance with the objective, 27 expert water polo coaches completed the newly constructed questionnaire designed for this study. Reliability of the measuring instrument was examined using test-retest method on the entire sample and it was found to be satisfactory (r ranged from 0.85 to 1.00 with P< .05 for all variables). Exploratory strategy of factor analysis together with Guttman-Kaiser criterion and varimax raw rotation were used to reduce dimensionality of the data.

Results: The results indicate the existence of four real life existing factors: (1) Basic ball manipulation, basic shots and explosive movements; (2) Basic water polo movements and shots from the central forward position; (3) Complex movements, ball manipulation and shots; (4) Activity for the preparation and execution of the most demanding backhand shots 31%, 17%, 15%, 9% of the variability of manifest space, respectively.

Conclusions: These results yield hitherto unseen insight into experts’ opinion on optimal age for beginning to learn complex water polo movements and can provide important guidance for trainers in structuring curriculum of the training process for all young water polo players.



31-12-2023 — Updated on 06-01-2024


How to Cite

Hraste, M., Jelaska, I., & Clark, C. C. . (2024). Analysis of expert’s opinion of optimal beginning age for learning technical skills in water polo. Acta Kinesiologica, 17(2), 35–41. Retrieved from (Original work published December 31, 2023)



Original Scientific Article