Small-sided games (SSG) are one of the most common drills used by coaches for team sports including water polo. Whereas in the past SSG were mainly used to improve the interaction among players and to develop technical and tactical abilities, they are now employed by many amateur and professional teams as an effective tool for aerobic training. SSG are often used by adults as part of their regular training programs in various forms, depending on the aim and the philosophy of the coach. SSG allow more time spent managing the ball under game-like conditions compared with generic training. Thus, most exercise sessions in team sports have SSG played with a reduced number of players on a smaller area than the regular official game field size.
The advantages of SSG or training with the ball are commonly considered with respect to the attainment of an exercise intensity of 90–95% of maximum heart rate (HRmax), which has been proposed to enhance water polo-specific endurance capacity, develop game-specific muscle-groups, improve technical and tactical abilities in game-specific conditions, and assume an effective transfer to match play. Therefore, SSG appear to be effective in combining motor learning, team cohesion components, and aerobic fitness training.
Some of the most common games used in SSG training are "Monkey in the middle", "two on two" or just playing beach water polo 4 against 4. There are many other variations of these games but the things that they have common are high intensity and high number of touches on the ball. SSG is not only good for the technical and tactical abilities but it's also good for building your players' confidence. SSG are also fun and can break up the monotony of the daily workouts.