It can best be described as a combination of swimming, soccer, rugby, wrestling and basketball. It is regarded as the oldest team sport in the world which is continuously contested at the Olympic Games. The game is normally played in seven- minute quarters; however, the regular fouls can extend the match time to approximately one hour of nearly non-stop action. In comparison to other team sports, water polo is a relatively shorter game. Upon the years, water polo has gradually been increasing in popularity especially among schools. Despite its popularity, the performance among Grace Lutheran water polo players has not been up to standards.
Energy requirements for any kind of physical performance are critical. The energy stores in the liver are the main fuel for energy in the body. When the stores are inadequate, sport performance, timing and focus begin to suffer. Water polo players require a daily high carbohydrate diet to boost stamina and refill lost muscle and liver glycogen stores mainly during competition and training (Phillips, 2004).
Allan (2004), states that the human body is normally designed to move by a sequence of coordinated muscle contractions. When the brain tells the body to move, the nerve signals trigger a massive release of muscular energy through a special molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). There are three systems in the body which create the ATP energy required for most of the physical activities, all the three systems are used for water polo in varying degrees (Cooper, 2003).
To start with, the ATP-CP system plays a major role in the provision of energy for a five to seven second swim sprint in water polo (Panel, 1999). This is facilitated by a high energy molecule (creatine phosphate) which quickly delivers energy to manufacture ATP. Creatine phosphate is largely stored and readily available in the muscle fibers. This makes it the main supplier of energy during the commencement of water polo game. However, other