Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Sport Sciences

First Advisor

Lara Killick

First Committee Member

Lewis Gale

Second Committee Member

John Mayberry


In the game of water polo, it is generally accepted that the shooting position of the offensive player and the tactic employed are both important in generating goals. Despite their importance, little is known about the relationship between shooting position and offensive tactics and their impact on the probability of goal scoring. In this research, a sequence of hierarchical mixed logistic regression models is applied to a unique data set from 2016 and 2017 NCAA men’s water polo seasons to analyze the relationship between goal generating tactics and different shooting positions. The primary result reveals that the closer a player is the “midline” of the pool and the closer a player is to the goal, the higher the percentage of scoring by offensive tactic. Furthermore, statistically significant relationships reveal (i) direct shots are better than perimeter shots, (ii) left-handed shooters are more efficient at scoring goals that right-handed shooters, and (iii) counterattack opportunities are better than power plays (player advantage). Understanding the best goal-scoring positions in the pool for each offensive tactic will assist coaches and players in devising more successful offensive and defensive strategies.





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