Volume1: Number 2 Men's Varsity Coaches November 1 , 2006

Bi-weekly a varsity coach from the west coast and a varsity coach from the east coast is given the same question solicited from a member of the water polo community. The coaches answer the question independent of each other and their answers are posted here together with a photograph and short biography of each coach. We hope to have the men's varsity coaches to answer the questions in the fall and winter and the women's varsity coaches to answer the questions in the winter and spring.

QUESTION: Your team has only scored 1 in 10 person-up situations against a team. Describe several ways which could be used to eliminate this weakness when playing this team again, and explain why you think these suggestions will work.

Ed Newland, Coach Emeritus of UC Irvine

ANSWER: I have been 1 out of 10 before in my life. I would obviously spend more time working on extra shooting skills. I would have the team do this simple drill: The first number is the passer and the second number is the position of the shooter 1-2,6-3,5-4, 4-5; 6-2,5-1,1-5;4-3; 6-4,4-6,1-3; 1-6,6-1,5-3,4-2. Those are not all combinations but they are the most common ones. The most important position is the 6 position because the other 5 players position themselves from where 6 is playing in the water. If 6 is up, 2 is up, and 1-3 are on the 2 meter line up top, 5 should slide left toward the center and 4 should move outside the 2 post. If 6 is down on the line or inside 2 meter with the ball, 2 follows him, then 3 and 1 slide up, and 5 slides toward his right and 4 comes center.

Most of the time when your extra-man fails it is because players catch and pump the ball 4 or 5 times before they make the next pass. I believe you should catch and make one big pump, only one, and then you pass to another player; or catch the ball and either shoot it or pass to another player. Pumping the ball several time really does nothing. You must learn to catch to pass or pass to shoot with no more than 1 pump. Sounds simple but most younger players pump the ball so it feels right in their hand. So the ball does not move around quickly. One good pump is all you need to lock the goalie and the defense on you the man with the ball.

Trying to learn to catch to shoot or catch to pass with only one pump is what takes so much time. Players also need to learn to fake the ball to one man and then pass to another to have an effective extra man. If you do these simple thing you won't go 1 to 10.

I would spend a lot of time working on shot blocking in all 5 position of the extra-man. I do not believe in secrets just good ball handling and that only comes from a lot of practice. Good passers are very rare in our sport. Just as good communication takes the longest to learn to do well, if at all.

Ted Newland

Coach Emeritus Ted Newland, a 1999 inductee into the UC Irvine Hall of Fame, is recognized as one of the most successful mentors and innovators of the game as he remains involved with the Anteater water polo program.

Newland reached a major milestone when he became the first NCAA water polo coach to reach 700 victories in 2004 and he currently stands as the all-time leader in wins in the collegiate ranks with a career mark of 714-345-5 as UCI's head coach the last 39 years. He notched victory No. 700 in UCI’s 19-8 win over Redlands Sept. 4, 2004, at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational.

He directed UCI to national titles in 1970, 1982 and 1989. His 1982 squad went 30-0 en route to the NCAA championship. UCI has finished ranked in the nation's top five 25 times in the past 37 years and Newland's Anteaters have competed in 21 of the 36 NCAA tournaments conducted. In addition to the three NCAA titles, UCI has finished as NCAA runner-up six times, third place four times, and fourth on five occasions.

At UCI, he produced 69 individual NCAA All-American water polo players who received that honor a total of 113 times. Eleven of his players have gone on to compete in the Olympics 22 times. Five former UCI players were members of the 2004 United States Olympic Team. One of his former All-Americans, John Vargas, served as head coach for the U.S. National men's team while another one, Chris Duplanty, is a former assistant coach for the United States women's squad.

Newland, the 1989 NCAA Coach of the Year, received that honor on three other occasions and he was conference Coach of the Year eight times. He guided UCI to eight conference titles. Newland was inducted into the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1995 and Occidental College's Hall of Fame one year later.

He also served as UCI's head swim coach in the 1970s, leading the Anteaters to three NCAA Division II championships. Prior to arriving at UCI in 1966, he initiated the water polo programs at Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar High Schools. He led CdM to its first CIF water polo championship in 1965.

Newland served as head coach for the U.S. teams in the World University Games a total of five times: 1999 in Spain, 1995 in Japan, 1991 in Great Britain, 1979 in Bulgaria and 1973 in Russia. He has previously coached the U.S. National Team and American squads in the Pan American Games. He has been president of the American Water Polo Coaches Association and served as secretary-rules editor of the NCAA Water Polo Committee. He is the only coach to have had two teams in the top four of the Outdoor U.S. Water Polo Championships, and he has accomplished that three times. Over all levels of his coaching career, he has won over 5,300 games.

A 1954 graduate of Occidental College, Newland and his wife, Anne, reside in Costa Mesa.

Joe Tristan, Coach of Penn State Behrend

ANSWER: When playing a particular team and going 1 for 10 on man-up situations can only make you wonder if the defense is really that good or the offense is really that bad. Man advantage situations take time to develop especially since there are a multitude of defenses that exist to try and stop them, and the best way to understand how effective your teams offense can be is during game situations. I will always go back and look at the structure that I put forth for my team in a game where we missed man-advantage opportunities.

This structure involves the Set-up, Defense Identification, Passing, Player motion and Shooting solutions. Having all of these aspects on a man-up advantage will help your team and individual players to score goals. A breakdown or failure of a particular component can lower the statistical probability of a goal. Of course, this is dependent on the severity of the breakdown or the failure and on how good the opposing defense is.

Set-Up - With all man-advantage situations there is always the set-up of the offense. Now this set-up could also depend on the shooting availability of a player that just drew the ejection and who is wide open for a clear shot. However, if no shot is available then the set-up continues on to the 4-2 or 3-3 offense. Set-up is important because if you have players that are not getting to their positions quickly or are not in positions they are comfortable playing then this can create a weakness that the other team can easily identify causing the man-advantage to be lost or poorly executed.

If the error is in this stage, then we will work on this area by just calling the bogus ejection anywhere in the pool to work on the set-up of the man-advantage. Paying particular attention to the possible areas that need assistance.

Defense Identification - If a defense is not properly identified, a team can kill their own man-up offense and this will help the defense look that much better. This is where an offensive adjustment to the other teams defense must take a front seat in order to help make passing and player motion more important and effective.

If this is where the team is deficient, then in practice we will run different defenses that the offense does not know about and make the offense adjust to the different defenses.

Passing - Passing is very important because you only have 20 seconds on the man-advantage. If passing is sloppy, your team will spend more time swimming for the ball or more time picking the ball up off the water. Because sloppy play tends to put the ball on the water through bad passes or missed catches. If defenses identify players on a team who always drop the ball or continually throw bad passes they can better read the offense and capitalize on these types of mistakes.

Passing is critical. First we will start with no defense. Then add 1 defensive player then 2 then 3 and so on and so forth. The idea is to not drop the ball or put it on the water. If so, then swimming butterfly laps is a good incentive for players to stop dropping the ball or putting the ball on the water.

Player motion - Players should not always be in the same spot for to long on a man-advantage. This player motion is for the purpose of opening shooting or passing lanes through out the entire man-up situation. The lack of player motion can place a defensive player in a lane to block anticipated shots or to intercept passes.

Player motion is very difficult, especially when players forget to move and they get stuck in the same spot on the man-up situation. However, it is paramount to the team structure for motion to be properly executed. Once again start with no defense and then create the motion and add defense as you go. The important aspect is to have a plan where the motion is going and not just motion for motion's sake..

Shooting Solutions - Shooting Solutions (a shooting solution is what I refer to as a good shooting opportunity with regards to ball and player movement in opening the shooting lane. Much like trying to find the solution to a math problem, one wrong negative or positive sign can give you the wrong answer) are important to executing a successful man-advantage; whether it is a certain play or a basic fundamental shooting solution. If you miss, it is a counter; if you make it, you are a hero for the moment. So identifying the proper shooting solution puts the ball in the cage and notches a point on the scoreboard.

Poor shooting can cause a 2 goal swing. The one you missed and the counter goal against. So once again start off with no defense. Call out particular shots. 5 to 1 low corner. Or 1 to 5 High corner cross cage. Then add defense as you go until everything is working in rhythm. Also identify the cowboy shooter. If you have a shooter like this that will always shoot the ball and not wait for the good shot, then either move that player to a post where if he gets the pass he must take the shot, or take him out of the game.

Joe Tristan

Joe Tristan enters his third season as the head men's and women's water polo coach at Behrend and is committed to athletic and academic success for the program.

In only his second season, Tristan led his 2004 team into Behrend history with a fourth place finish at the Division III Eastern Championships and two players to the all-tournament team. He also led Anthony Spoto to the Division III All-America team and was able to take Spoto to the USA Senior Men's National 'A' Team tryout in Southern California. These are all firsts for the Behrend water polo program.

Tristan is a member of USA Water Polo where he is a level 3 coach. He also coached at the 2004 USA National Goalie Training Camp and was a candidate for the 2005 World University Games as an assistant coach for Team USA.

Tristan joined the Behrend Lions after leading the women's club water polo program at Eastern Michigan University. He also was an assistant coach for the Great Lakes Water Polo Club in Ann Arbor, MI. Two seasons ago Tristan led the EMU Lady Eagles to a 9-15 record in their first Collegiate Water Polo Association season and finished fifth at the Midwest Championships. Tristan tackled several obstacles during the year while developing his young team, but eventually led them to a successful season. He coached a pair of all-conference players and guided EMU to earn all-academic honors. From 1997-2002, Tristan was the head boy's junior varsity coach for Huron High School. Previously he served as a graduate assistant for the EMU men's swimming team.

A native of Southern California, Tristan played water polo and swam for Earl Warren High School. He also played water polo for Tulare Water Polo Club and for Eastern Michigan in 1995-96. In 2000, Tristan competed and finished twenty-second in the United States Olympic swimming trials in the 200 meter freestyle.

From 1998-2000 Tristan was ranked in the FINA Top 20 and the top 100 in the World in the 200 meter and 100 meter freestyle events. He currently is EMU's record holder in the 800 freestyle relay. Tristan was a vital part of a pair of EMU Mid-American Conference Swimming and Diving Championship teams.

While serving as a coach at Behrend Tristan will also serve as the assistant men's and women's swimming coach and instruct in the health and physical education department.