Volume 2:  Number 5            September 1, 2007

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.

Essential 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 drills.

  1. 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

  2. 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 player.

  3. 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 perimeter.

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 the game.

TERRY SCHROEDER

Terry Schroeder, Assistant US Men's CoachUSA 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)

How Will Playing on the National Team Help with Life After Polo? by Elsie Windes

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 company.

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.

ELSIE WINDES

Elsie WindesINTERNATIONAL/CLUB: 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, El 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)