Volume 1:  Number 2            May 1, 2006

US National Men's and Women's Water Polo Players or Coaches

Each month a player or coach from a US National Men's Team and a playeror coach from a US National Women's Team will give the water polo community some tips on how to play a particular position or a fundamental skill. In turn WPP will post a photograph and concise biography to help the water polo community get to know the players and coaches.

Pointers for New Goalkeepers by Merrill Moses

1) As a goalkeeper the number one thing that you must always work on is your legs.  You block the ball with your hands, I keep my hands very light and ready to react to the ball.  I concentrate on using my leg strength to help me get out of the water.  To improve leg strength use weighted  heavy balls and hold them over your head with your arms locked, give your self time for recovery.

2) A lot of goalkeepers work on there legs but do not concentrate on their lateral movement, you can not become a top level goalie if you cannot move from side to side in the goal.  To improve lateral movement you must work on your lunging technique and also practice moving side to side in the goal.  I always tell goalies that I teach to always stay intense and throw your arms wherever you want to go, don’t half fast it, always watch where you are blocking and with your off hand push off the water

3) Conditioning out of the water, you must do dry land work, running, weights, reaction drills with tennis balls, dry land lunges, the game is played in the water put you must be physically fit to perform at a top level

4) Passing, a lot of goalies do not concentrate on this, but it is a huge key factor to moving to the next level, most games are one by one or two goals and if you cannot make that counter attack pass it could cost you the game.  Always get up big when you are preparing to pass, hold the ball up and snap your wrist when you release the ball.  Also a key note is the first player that you look for might not be the best pass, let the counter attack develop and pass to the open man.

5) Communication,  this is huge, you as a goalie have to compare yourself to a quarterback in football, the only difference is you are on defense, you have to tell your players what you want and where you want them to go,  tell them who and where you want the shot from,  you can see the field a lot better then they can, remember that, they are busy trying to defend their man, your head is always out of the water. You must talk to your team, but never take your eyes off the ball

6) Most important thing is to always be a team player in and out of the water.  Water polo is a team sport, you will never win a game by yourself, you must develop a trust and bond with all of your teammates. If you don’t have that it will be impossible to win the big games.  

Wish you all the best of luck and keep working hard.

MERRILL MOSES

Is one of the most exciting goalkeepers in the game today…Is explosive to both sides of the cage…Known for his vocal leadership in the pool as well as his game play…Highest number of saves in 2006 Premier League Division I…Was named the Most Valuable Goalkeeper at the 2003 U.S. Cup at Stanford…Posted a game-high 13 saves against Slovakia at 2003 French International…Was named as the 1st Team All-American goalkeeper with New York at the 2002 Men’s Senior Nationals…Had 63 saves in six games during the 2002 FINA World League, including back-to-back 13-stop efforts against Russia…Played in the Spanish professional league in 2000-01 with Olivar of Zaragosa, Spain.

College

In 1998, he earned 1st Team All-Conference and 2nd Team All-American honors at Pepperdine...Earned 1st Team All-American distinction in 1997...Was MVP at the 1997 NCAA Championships for Pepperdine.

International Competition Highlights:

2003: World University Games, Daegu , South Korea , 8th Place
2003: U.S. Cup, Stanford , CA , United States , 2nd Place
2002: FINA World Cup, Belgrade , Yugoslavia , 7th place
2002: Unicum Cup, Budapest , Hungary , 4th place
2002: FINA World League, Various Locations, Group B, 3rd Place
2001: FINA World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan, 7th place 
2000: UPS Cup, Los Alamitos , United States ( USA "B"), 6th place
1999: World University Games, Palma de Mallorca Spain , 4th place

(Biography by Kelly Foster photograph by  Ross Herman - provided courtesy of USA Water Polo)

Game Preparation from an Athlete's Perspective by Heather Moody

  • Your game preparation starts with your daily workouts. When you have consistent good workouts you will have good games. What you do in workout is what you do in the game. Every day you are getting ready for your next game.
  • Team meeting to go over game plan. As a player this is where you get your role for the game. As a coach this is where it is important to have a specific game plan; such as match ups, line ups, defenses…
  • After the meeting is your time to digest what your role will be during the game
  • With the National Team we have our team meetings at the hotel then travel to the pool so this might be different for you. On the way to the game do what relaxes you, ex. Listen to music, read a book… This could happen before your team meeting or after but it is important to feel relaxed heading to the pool.
  • At the pool, pre-game, go over your role for the game again either by yourself or with a teammate (better with the teammate) to ensure understanding of the game plan and role during the game.
  • Then come together as a team and do a team warm-up.
    *With the national team we start our warm up together on the deck. The dry land portion is the same as we do everyday at training. This makes it easier to relax and get focused in a high stress or overwhelming environment. It brings you back to what you know.
  • When you hit the water for your warm up, you have one that you are confident in to be prepared for the game. This warm up should be specific to what your role is in the game (Center work on Center skills, Defender work on Defender skills…)
  • Now when you hear the first whistle blow you are ready for the game. You have all the confidence that you are fully prepared for the game from your workouts to all your pre-game preparation.

HEATHER MOODY

Two-time Olympian Heather Moody of Green River , ID , recently took on the role of Assistant Coach to Women’s National Team Head Coach Guy Baker after serving as the interim Head Coach for the Women’s National Team in 2005. In just a few short months, she was able to lead the Women’s World Championships Team to a silver medal finish. Moody took on the position with a wealth of knowledge and groundbreaking experience in women’s water polo. Not only was she a key member of the first-ever USA Women’s team, which carried home silver medals from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, she is also the first American woman to play water polo professionally abroad. Moody signed with Greek club Voulafmeni in 2001.


As a student-athlete at San Diego State University , Moody helped San Diego to a third place finish at the 1996 Collegiate Nationals. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2002. Since that time, she has gone on to help the USA Women to several first place finishes including a first place finish at the 2001 and 2002 Holiday Cup, the 2003 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and the 2003 Pan American Games in Dominican Republic. Moody’s last feat as a member of the National Team was leading her team to a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens , Greece . She now lives in Long Beach , Calif. , where she coaches at Golden West College in addition to her work with the Women’s National Team.

(Biography by Kelly Foster photograph by Kirby Lee - provided courtesy of USA Water Polo)