Fundamental to eggbeater. Depending on the level, have them do a "frog kick" first then get them out and refine it if they are coordinated enough. If not, keep working their legs and they will get better. One way to teach once they are doing a decent frog kick: on the deck, one leg at a time while holding onto something and stepping on tiptoes, kick your butt, turn your toes out and up towards your shin, point to water - make sure knees are facing forward and fairly together and body straight from shoulders to top of knees. A ball or kickboard will be helpful.
Chicken Airplane Soldier
Arms like a chicken (hands in the armpits), then like an airplane (extended to the sides), then soldier (straight down). Demonstrate and do together in shallow or on deck. Combine with kick - kick your butt on chicken, start to kick down on airplane and straight down on soldier. Give it a shot - correct and practice. Technique points: knees facing forward and fairly close together, feet sweep water, body straight from shoulders to top of knees. You might have to put a hand under their body to help them stay afloat as they figure this out.
Ways to teach Eggbeater
Demonstrate, describe, perform, correct, make analogies (i.e. riding a bike, alternate eggbeater kick) etc or Sumo Walk drill
Sumo Walk Drill
Get in a squat position with hands just above knees. Knees should be wider than shoulders, butt low - look for aprox 90 degree angle between body and thighs, toes out. Walk like a Sumo wrestler. When they get it, draw attention to the way their legs are moving. Next, exaggerate to raise the knees and ask for the toe sweep. Draw attention again to the way each leg moves. Get in the water and try it. To make it more fun, talk about what a Sumo wrestler looks like and how they get in this position before they fight each other.
Holding the Ball
Insure each player has an appropriate size ball and explain to them how this size ball will allow them to learn good technique. Promote soft hands open wide with thumb and pinky controlling, and wrapping the hand around the ball.
Picking up the Ball
Look Like a Water Polo Player Drill
In shallow water, everyone stand with feet together. Take one step forward with the left leg. Leave the right leg behind with toes on the bottom and heel up. Demonstrate one hand pick up from the bottom, back around into good passing position - elbow at eye height, left hip 45 degrees forward (10:30), left shoulder more open at 30 degrees (10 o'clock) and left hand in the water helping. Start by doing this without the ball. Once a player looks good, see if they can do it with the ball. See if anyone can do it with opposite hand and leg. See if anyone can do it in deep water. See if anyone can do it with a hand transfer (instead of ball on water, ball in left hand passing to right). They need to do this a lot. It is good for developing touch and balance. The coach needs to demonstrate this assertively - i.e. game speed and game face - make it exciting for the kids as the water flies and they can see that the ball stays in your hand because of the speed that you are lifting. Remember that an attacker with the ball up is a threat!
To make it more fun and to make coaching easier, put them in groups and have them evaluate each other (thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs sideways) and say what needs to be improved. Then go to each group and listen to their evaluations and give compliments and add remarks as needed.
Passing - All work starts in shallow and moves to deep eventually.
Use this sequence. Allow catch with two, pass with one hand during games. They should get away from passing with two as soon as they can.
Pass with two, catch with two - work on hand-eye coordination and high elbows to pass
Pass with one, catch with two - Passer: Get into the left foot forward position, put the ball on the water in front, pick up the ball and sweep the arm up ("Look Like a Water Polo Player"), throw the ball and follow through in one movement. Catcher: Make a target to help the passer aim
Pass with one, catch with one - This is more difficult than it seems for younger players. Their arms are short and they are not as coordinated. Passer: Get into the left foot forward position, put the ball on the water in front, pick up the ball and sweep the arm up ("Look Like a Water Polo Player"), throw the ball and follow through. Catcher: Make a target for the passer, rotate as you catch the ball, remember soft hands and rotating not falling backwards. If the player is having trouble, try having him point to the ball as it is coming to him.
When they can pass with one accurately, this is the best way to get quality, deep water practice: Have one player in shallow and one player in deep. Explain that they are taking turns helping each other get better. Have each player do 5 or 10 passes then switch. Need quality. Use this technique when they start passing with one and catching with one. In all cases, empower the player in deep water to ask for what he wants from the player in shallow (i.e. a higher pass).
Make sure players understand that a pass is an agreement to transfer the ball. The passer must observe how the pass is caught. If the receiver can’t handle the ball from the same passer twice in a row, the passer must adjust their pass. A good pass is one from which the receiver can immediately pass or shoot. Encourage communication so that players get the pass they want (a little higher, lower, more lob). Patience, repetition.
Head Up Freestyle
High elbows, short strokes, big kick, look forward. If a player cannot do regular freestyle, they can work freestyle kick with a ball during this time.
Water Polo Backstroke
Head up - Ask the players to look for the ball as you hold a ball up if they are looking at the sky. If the player can't do backstroke yet, work freestyle kick with a ball during this time.
Head up freestyle, high elbows, big kick, ball close to the face. Players should not touch the ball with their hands.