US National Men's and Women's Water Polo Players or Coaches
Each month a playeror 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.
Leg Drills to Become a Better Water Polo Player by Terry Schroeder,
US Men's National Coach
The foundation of our sport is legs. Good legs (egg beater
kick) make you a better player. This is a fact. I
would take that one step further and say that the best players at each
level of this game have the best legs. A strong egg beater kick
will help you; shoot better, play better defense, create separation from
your defender, hold position in the water, shot block more effectively
and much more. Overall, a strong eggbeater kick will help you play
the game at a higher level in the water. There is no reason
why most all of the leg work done in practice should not be designed to
reproduce a specific part of the actual game. This will
help a player develop strong legs and balance in the water.
To develop good legs I would recommend a combination of the following
Spit eggbeater drills (penetrating with the ball in your
hand or holding position at center). The split egg
beater is accomplished with one leg down and one leg out (either behind
you when penetrating or in front of you when holding a defender off).
In this split egg beater position the leg that is below you is creating
a force to hold you up in the water and the leg behind you is driving
you forward while the leg in front would be driving you back.
One should be very balanced in the water in this split egg beater
position. Drills would include penetrating with a ball in your hand
and working on your fake while going fast in the water or getting
up high in the water. Or for the centers – a good simple
drill is to drive a guard backwards across the pool while in a good
split eggbeater position. As the guard jumps from side to side
you will have to roll over your hips and seal the guard off on one
side or the other as you are driving him/her backwards
Pushing forward on another player or holding a defender up
who is pushing you down. An example of the first would be
to have one player trying to hold position in the water while the
defender pushes him/her across the pool. This is an important drill
for your 2 meter defenders. The second would be one player pushing
down on another. This is a good drill to reproduce what happens
at 2 meters or on the perimeter when a guard is pushing the offensive
player down. To make this drill more difficult have the defender jump
from side to side a little while maintaining pressure on the offensive
Jumping drills and separation drills. Examples
of these drills would be doing laps across the pool doing a combination
of lateral jumps and vertical jumps. There are other more specific
jumps for shot blocking. These can be broken down into jumps
for the front court defense and jumps for the 5 on 6 defense.
An example of a front court defense jumping skill would be the “in
and out” skill. To execute this skill properly the player
should be in a hips up position (with his/her head in towards 2 meters
and his/her feet out towards the perimeter) when the coach blows the
whistle the player pivots over his/her hips with a coil and spring
move (this is accomplished by coiling your legs into towards your
hips and then springing out with a breaststroke kick into your jump)
and towards 2 meters extending to steal the ball with a lateral jump,
immediately the player tries to restore his/her balance and once again
using a coil and spring, jumps out into a shot blocking position while
maintaining balance in the water.
Another variation of this “in and out” skill and jump
would be on a 5 on 6 at X1 or X3. In this jump, the defensive
player gets into a position like he/she is guarding the post player
on a 5 on 6 defense (one leg should be down and one leg out).
On the whistle the player is to jump out over the outstretched leg
and get into a strong balanced shot blocking position while taking
the angle away from the shooter at 1 or 6. Then using a coil and spring
move the player pivots over his/her hips and jumps back to the post.
An example of a separation jump would be to have an offensive player
on the perimeter and a defensive player on his back. On the
whistle the defensive player fouls the offensive perimeter player
and then immediately separates by jumping back over his/her legs into
a foul and drop position. As he/she drops back he/she should
be on balance and be ready to jump up and steal a pass to 2 meters.
After dropping back, the perimeter defender should than jump back
at the offensive player as if he/she was getting back into a press.
On all the jumps remember that your body will follow your legs so
be aware of where your legs are in the water. If your legs are
straight down below you it is impossible to jump horizontally towards
The more advanced player can do any or all of these drills with a weight
belt on to increase the resistance and improve leg strengthening.
All of these are important leg strengthening drills are designed to emulate
a specific part of the game. In my opinion, this is how most all
of the leg work that we have our athletes do should be performed.
Stronger legs will make you a better player; however, you will
improve even more if you design your leg work around specific parts of
Water Polo Hall of Famer Dr. Terry Schroeder accepted an assistant coaching
position with the Men’s U.S. National Team in January 2006.
Dr. Schroeder is considered one of water polo’s all-time stand-out
players. He captained the National Team from 1983-1992 and has coached
Pepperdine University’s men’s team for 20 years. Under Dr.
Schroeder’s lead, the Pepperdine Waves have a cumulative record
of 307-195 (.612), have attended the NCAA Championships eight times and
claimed the NCAA championship in 1997. Schroeder was inducted into the
USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1998 and was recently inducted into the
International Swimming Hall of Fame.
With Schroeder as U.S. team captain, the team finished second to Yugoslavia
at both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games and placed fourth at the 1992
event in Barcelona, Spain. The team also captured the FINA Cup in Barcelona,
downing longtime nemesis Yugoslavia in the title game.
A graduate of San Marcos High in Santa Barbara, Calif., Schroeder earned
All-American honors at Pepperdine in 1977, 1978 and 1980. He graduated
with honors in 1981 and then completed his doctorate studies at Palmer-West
Chiropractic School . Schroeder and his wife, Lori, reside in Westlake
Village, Calif. with their daughters, Leanna and Sheridan.
(Biography and Photograph provided courtesy of USA Water Polo)
Playing on the National Team Help with Life After Polo? by Elsie
Playing on the National team has strengthened several of my characteristics
that I hope will benefit me for when my time on the national team expires.
Being on a team with about fifteen other individuals has helped me acquire
skills such as leadership, teamwork, hard work and dedication.
Once I am finished with the national team and look to pursue another career
it will be a new challenge for me and I will have to apply what I have
learned with my experiences with water polo to my new career.
For example, being involved with the national team program for the past
few years I have become accustomed to and confident in the system that
we use. I know my role on the team and understand what I need
to do to help the team succeed. Once I am involved in the workforce I
will need to learn about their system and what I can do to benefit the
Whether working with colleagues or playing with teammates, comradery
within these individuals is important for success. Just like in a business
on the national team you have no control over who makes the team but these
individuals significantly influence your life. Because of the
diverse personalities on my team I have learned how to work well with
different types of people. This is a skill that will help me
in many situations throughout my life. Sometimes conflicts or stressful
situations can cause problems for the group, however on the national team
we have learned how to adapt and overcome tensions and strive for a common
goal. These techniques of working through adversity will also help me
be a valuable asset to any company I chose to work for.
Hard work, dedication, and time management are also key tools for success
in water polo and in life. There are practices when you
don’t think you can go on, but not giving up builds character and
will be an important staple in a successful life. During full time
training there isn’t much time between practices, therefore it is
important to be both productive and efficient. This is a valuable
skill to have that I will certainly use in my future endeavors.
All of these skills will be important for me in life after polo but what
is most important is that I find something I enjoy and am passionate about.
I know I wouldn’t be successful in water polo if it wasn’t
something I loved. Now I just hope I can find something in the business
field that I love as much.
A member of the USA Senior National Team and one of the top young water
polo players in the nation...Helped the United States' women's water polo
team to a gold medal with an 11-9 victory over Russia at the 2005 FINA
Junior World Championships in Perth, Australia, Jan. 24-30, 2005...Scored
a team-leading two goals in USA's 9-8 victory over Hungary and tallied
two goals in a 19-1 victory over China...In July of 2004 helped the United
States to a gold medal at the 2004 Junior Pan American Games in San Salvador,
COLLEGE: Named to the 2006 All-MPSF First Team, the
ACWPC All-American Second Team and was< Berkeley’s top scorer with
40 goals… In 2005, led the Bears in scoring with 51 goals, earning
third-team All-America, second-team All-MPSF and MPSF All-Tournament honors...Was
a 2005 MPSF All-Academic selection... Named 2004 honorable mention All-American,
Cal's first true freshman to ever be selected as an honorablemention All-American...Also
named second-team All-MPSF and was a member of the MPSF All-Freshman Team.
HIGH SCHOOL: At Beaverton High School was a three-time
all-league selection, a two-time Metro League MVP and the 2003 Oregon
State MVP...Helped her team to the 2003 Oregon state title...Competed
four years on the varsity swim team, placing third in the state in the
50 free (24.81) as a senior.
PERSONAL: Majoring in interdisciplinary studies...Parents
are Doug and Betty Windes…Favorite pre-game meal is a peanut butter
and jelly…Father and sister, Lucy, also played water polo.
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION HIGHLIGHTS:
2006 Holiday Cup, Los Alamitos, CA , 1st place
2006 FINA World Cup, Tianjin, China, 4th place
2006 FINA World League, Cosenza, Italy, 1st place
2005 FINA Junior World Championships, Perth, Australia, 1st place
2004 Junior Pan American Games, San Salvador, El Salvador, 1st place
(Biography and Photograph provided courtesy of USA Water Polo)