[ Index ] [ The Rules ] [ Before You Play ] [ Playing the Game ] [ Watching the Game ]

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Anyone who can swim, can learn to play Octopush. In the beginning you do not need to know how to dive or snorkel. When you join a club, the coach will teach you how to snorkel and how to dive to the bottom of the pool. You will also learn how to swim with fins to help you move quickly through the water.

Check out Gear and Squids to see what you need in terms of equipment.


The Rules

  • Each team consists of 10 players but only six can be in the water at any one time. Substitutes are allowed at any time during the game.
  • An official match lasts 30 minutes with a short 2 - 3 minute break at half time so that the teams can change ends. In a friendly tournament the length of the match can be shortened, especially for younger players.
  • There are two Referees in the water with snorkels and a Chief Referee and a Timekeeper on the side of the pool. They wear yellow shirts and red caps. If there is an infringement of the rules, the water Referee holds up his arm and the Chief Referee strikes the water gong to stop play. Referees can award 'free squids' (free pushes), penalties or time allowances.
  • Octopush is a non-contact sport. You are only allowed to move the squid with the pusher.


Before you play

pic12 Warm up first
This means stretching to warm all your muscles and then swimming (without fins) to raise your heart rate. Swim for at least 10 minutes and gradually increase the effort you put in. Stretch again after the game and swim gently to prevent those aches and pains the next day! As part of your warm up you could try some widths underwater.

Practise some basic skills
During practice sessions, your coach will help you develop your snorkelling and swimming skills. In a game you need to flick the squid to other team members so this also needs practise. It is not an easy action and many younger and new players can pass the squid just a short distance. Experienced players manage to move the squid between three and four metres, often lifting it off the ground.

As your skills develop, you will work with the other team members on tactics. Whether you are a defender or an attacker you need to be aware of what the rest of the team are doing. Remember you can't signal to each other by calling so you have to watch the game all the time to make sure you are in the right place.

(See Information: Links for more ideas)


Playing the game

pic16The game starts with each team at opposite ends of the pool. The squid is placed centrally on the pool bottom. The object of the game is to score a goal into the opposition's gulley by diving to the bottom of the pool and pushing the squid towards the opposition's goal.

At the whistle, the forward players race for the squid. Speed is vital here and those swimmers who are quick and agile will have the best chance of taking possession first.

During the game, players take turns to descend to the bottom of the pool to take part in the play and then come back to the surface to take breath. A player will need to hold their breath while they are under the water. Each player may pass the squid to another team member by flicking the squid with the pusher. A good team will work together to make sure that they support each other. Teams try different attacking and defensive formations in a game in an attempt to score themselves while preventing the opposition from scoring.

A gull (goal) is scored by passing a squid over the metal lip of the opposition's gulley and into the trough. When this happen, the teams return to their end of the pool before the game starts again.


Watching the game

From the pool side, it is sometimes difficult to see what is happening but if you have the opportunity to watch Octopush through a pool side window, the movements are fascinating.

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Last modified on: Tuesday, July 1, 1997.