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NFHS – 2020 Rule Changes

The NFHS announced water polo rule changes for the next two school years on May 1, 2020. A (non-expert and likely incomplete) review of the changes can be found here, and a complete listing should be available at The 2020-2022 NFHS Water Polo rule books are not yet available,.

The rule changes bring the NFHS rules more closely in alignment to the FINA/USAWP rules.

The most important changes are listed below. Please note that these are from the press release and so may not be exactly accurate. This post will be updated when the actual rule book is available.

  • Free throws are taken at the spot of the ball (outside 2m), regardless of where the foul occurred.
  • The direct shot line is moved to 6m. The intent is to spread offenses, increase driving, and give more space in the center area. Penalty throws will remain from 5m.
  • After a corner throw or a foul outside of 6m, the player may put the ball in play and then is eligible to score.
  • Fouls from behind in a probable goal situation are penalty fouls regardless of whether the offensive player has possession.
  • “Tactical Fouls” are to be punished with an exclusion.
  • Goalkeepers may move beyond half tank.

There are also technical changes regarding leaving the field of play, entry after an exclusion, interval time, caps and other items.