Co-ed contact sport touching etiquette

I seem to have to a slight problem and don’t know what to do about it. I have just started to play water polo, been playing for two months or so and we seem to be almost 50-50 men to women.

Since water polo is a contact sport there is a lot of touching when you swim go for the ball etc. That’s not really a problem touching a woman, since I’m a guy, really since it’s not like you’re trying to get a cheap feel or any thing like that. However, the other day we did a new exercise where we push off the chest of the defender to get away from them. Since you’re really not supposed to do this you have to push from under the water, well as you can imagine right under the water and where my hand would be is on a woman’s breast.

Here’s what my problem is, since I can’t push off on her shoulder, and putting my hand on her breast doesn’t seem to be very polite, and pushing from below her breast doesn’t work well I really don’t know what to do. So I ask the SDMB what should I do in this situation? Should I even worry about touching a woman there since she is playing and probably expects it or is it rude? I should probably ask but I’m not going to be at practice for a few days.

I say since she’s playing, she should be fully aware of the potential “risks”. As long as you’re not doing it on purpose (or at least, it doesn’t look like you did it on purpose, hehe), it’s fair.

Go for the push off. It may be slightly inappropriate if you do so with your face though.

By “you’re not supposed to do this”, do you mean it’s against the rules? If so, why is it being encouraged? It seems like it’s just asking for trouble, because while the women on your team might understand your female opponents who aren’t privy to your practice sessions might feel differently when you use it on them. If I’ve gotten something mixed up there, my apologies.

Overall though, I think any woman playing a co-ed sport would be a fool not to expect to be subject to the same level of contact as the male players. I played on the boys soccer team in HS, and I know I considered it an insult when I could tell one of my opponents was “going easy” on me. Not that it happened often, but there were a few who seemed to think I was somehow exempt from the pushy stuff, when that was my favorite part!

That woman will have no compunction about kicking you in the nuts regularly under the water. If you need to push off, push off. Just don’t grab.

Make it clear that it’s non-sexual contact by squeezing and shouting “honk honk!”

Well here’s the situation. It is technically against the rules, but it’s one of those areas that are ignored and if it doesn’t look like you’ve done it then they ignore it. Pretty much it’s like holding in football, you see it all the time and you’re not supposed to do it but it happens and isn’t called much. They said that it’s pretty common but didn’t really say what to do when it’s a woman.

Here’s why I really asked, usually when we’re swimming you bump etc, I don’t worry about that, except the time I grabbed a butt by accident, and yes I’ve gotten kicked in the nuts a few times. However, while usually in a game the push would be quick, during practice it was more of a “put your hand on the chest and wait” type thing. Then without thinking I did, :smack: then tried to push off her belly, which just didn’t work. You would think that I’d have other things to worry about, like how to play water polo and not worry about grabbing boobies. :smiley:

Ex-water polo player checking in.

I read the post description and immediately thought of my own experiences with co-ed teams and then I read the OP and you’re in the same boat I was in all of those years ago.

For the record, we had a very small team. Between the JV and varsity teams, we had enough girls for a combined girl team but most other schools we played did not. Therefore, the girls on the varsity team were used during games just like the boys were. We also played against schools which had girls on their teams as well.

As to your point, we (meaning the boys) played against the girls the same way we played against each other. The issue of “touching” only came up once and that was during a game. One of my teammates was guarding a girl and during play, she turned around and shoved him in the face and yelled “Quit f*cking touching me!” We were all kind of shocked because he was a pretty shy guy and it didn’t really fit with his previous behavior. After the game, he told us that when she had been on defense, his crotch had been grabbed really hard several times and he was pretty sure that it was on purpose. In any case, he told us that when the situation came up he had put his arm around her waist (not legal but acceptable when performed under the water). He figured that if she was playing defense the way she was then he was entitled to as well. I’m not defending him, I’m just relating the story as he told it. Incidentally, players from other schools later told us that the same thing had happened during their games which led us to believe that she was using it to get buys to play pretty soft defense against her.

As for the girls on our own team, the issue never came up. I think that they took it as a point of pride that they played on a “boys” team, against other boys, and could hold their own. And I have to say that at first we (the boys) were pretty protective of them during games and would have kicked the shit out of any guy who we thought was just going in for grabs. However, we quickly learned that they could take of themselves quite well, without any input from us.

So I say that you play the game the way it is supposed to be played, regardless of gender. I would be that if you asked any of the girls on your team, they would tell you the same thing.

BTW, belladonna, 90% of water polo happens underwater. On my first day of practice our coach told us that if it happens underwater it is legal. It is just part of the game. Of course, the other side of that coin is that you can fake something happening as well in an attempt to get a foul.

… it’s the word “worry” that I have a problem with there…

Kind of off at a funny angle…

I also participate in a full-contact co-ed sport, one where a fair amount of people smacking into/pushing off of each other is expected. It’s called SCA heavy combat. We’re all wearing armor, carrying swords & shields; the guys have cups on and the women are supposed to have full rigid protection over their chestal protrusions (or no armor at all… I don’t get that rule)… Anyway, we’re also wearing full metal gauntlets or hockey gloves, so the romantic opportunities are slim and none. The basic idea is, if anybody uses the disguise of “teaching” to cop feels on the ladies, his career and enjoyment of the SCA will be cut quite short. I realize that wasn’t the intent of what you coach was teaching you, and I hope the women on the team realize that too, and every woman you ever play against, but on the wild off chance that some woman doesn’t get it, you might want to find some other way to push off…

then again, I’m used to dealing with women who are fully armed so maybe I’m a little more paranoid…

I’m with belladonna on this. I was the only female on the rugby team and a forward (#3 prop) at that. After some initial awkwardness when I first joined and after the guys realized I was “in it to win it,” full contact was no problem. It was great in the scrum because the opposing team’s prop would try to be so delicate with me which we would use to our advantage to gain the ball.
My $0.02, either talk to the coach and tell him your concerns or just ask her what to do yourself. I know I appreciated it when one of my teammates asked if I was okay with something during practice. She’ll probably be cool about it and be happy to get back to the business at hand. Uh, I mean practice. :wink:

I’ve never played water polo, so please excuse me if the questions are simple.

When pushing off, do you necessarily have to push on her breasts? Could you push off on her sternum, or ribs? Could you push off lower than her breasts, like the area between them and her stomach, or a little higher, like maybe to her shoulders?

When I played co-ed basketball, the girls understood that there would be a level of pushing and grabbing involved. (We played fairly cleanly, but “no blood, no foul” was invoked regularly). They had no problems boxing out, putting their butts in our crotch and pushing backwards, because they knew that in the heat of competition, we were not viewing it as a lap dance.

I think you should ask the girls (or a girl) on your team what they think. It’s a perfectly appropriate question to ask, and I think they’d appreciate it.

When I was heavily into Martial Arts, I approached my instructor with my dilemma… after an odd childhood, I had taken an oath to never, ever, under any circumstances, strike a woman.

And here I was, expecting to do just that. I was in a hell of a quandry.

So I talked to the instructor.

He called over another instructor, the female half of the team, and she explained to me, in easy to grasp words, that my failure to recognize the women that would be sparring against me was an insult to the women. That I would be downplaying their abilities as martial artists.

I got over it.

And, for the record, once you get a woman past the social conditioning against violence, they are brutal fighters.

No, like I said on her shoulders would be out of the water and a no no, on the stomach is too low to get a good push.

LaurAnge I was planning on asking but I haven’t been to pratice in over a week now.

Tristan I’m not downplaying how well these women play, since most have played before they play a lot better then me, it’s more along the lines of I’ve never been in this situation before.

I’m going to ask on Wednesday night, if I can get the nerve up. I hardly know any of these women so it’s gonna be odd to ask.

I wondered about this with wrestling. My little brother was on the wrestling team at his junior high, and several girls were on the team as well. Though I suppose if what they guy is doing is legal in the sport, and for benign reasons (just trying to pin the opponent) I don’t see anything wrong. In a coed situation, I think gender should be irrelevent, as if you make it a factor it affects the way the game is played.

I want too do that Skateboarding ?. .

I want too do that water polo ?. .


So now I’m really curious how that worked out 17 years ago

My understanding is that Edward ended up marrying his teammate and they now have a 15 year old that is playing co-ed water polo, at the suggestion of his father as a way to meet girls.