USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program
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For kids wanting college recruiting visibility/credibility *only* (no Olympic or Nat'l Team dreams), how critical is ODP participation? For Varsity players in top polo high schools, is that exposure sufficient? Is the ODP skills training intrinsically valuable?
MellowBalls wrote:For kids wanting college recruiting visibility/credibility *only* (no Olympic or Nat'l Team dreams), how critical is ODP participation? For Varsity players in top polo high schools, is that exposure sufficient? Is the ODP skills training intrinsically valuable?
Feedback from a Novice: Depends on where you are. There are some areas where the competition is so high, they already are being seen by College Coaches and ODP might not be that critical to them. There are other areas where the competition is weaker and a gifted player/athlete may need the extra exposure that ODP allows. Yes, exposure with top High School's is good, but it usually must accompany Club. In some cases, the top High School's and Club's are one in the same. The coaching at ODP is made up of the best coaches in the Country so yes, the skills they teach are valuable.....kinda rhetorical. Overall, if you are surrounded by great players and coaches, it will either force you to step up your game or make you look for the nearest exit. ODP can be a good measuring stick.
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If you are at Socal, LAWP, LA Premier, Stanford,or Lamorinds,( SET in the past), ODP probably doesn't mean as much although a lot of their players play (maybe because of connection or great talent). There is a political element to the talent pipeline to the big schools. I suppose there is that element in any sport but it is especially pronounced in a small sport like water polo. There is tons of nepotism as well. (USC has some seriously inferior players on their roster because big brother was really good and family can pay). Any other clubs outside of the huge ones, including OC, it will help if their players play ODP. Recruiting in water polo from the college side happens by club connections and word of mouth and ODP. If you are not part of that world, you have to go after them. (To be fair the college coaches are VERY open to being approached. They will check you out). LOTS of good players go on to college but they have to do the recruiting and marketing of themselves. I've seen lots of really good, proven players bypassed for less talented and/or skilled players from "bigger" clubs. If you are good, ODP is one way to prove that. Even if you are good, though, you might get screwed by connections, politics. (Sounds like real life eh? haha).
I think there are some good points above. Bottom line is that College Coaches get paid to win. Yes, there could be some politics mixed in, but it's a business. Coaches will recruit for what their needs are. A coach may bypass the best attackers because there need is in Goalkeeping and 2MD. Coaches also have certain tendencies in recruiting; could be based on size, could be based on speed, arm strength, tenacity/assertive, etc... As pointed out above, the athlete should reach out to the school/coach and fill out recruit questionnaire, create a resume, then play solid fundamental polo on both ends of the pool. ODP can help in all of this as players can ask the coaches what they need to work on to play at the college level and also help them in exactly how this all works. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't always look at the Top 10 programs. There is some good polo at the D3 level where one can enjoy the sport for what it is, a sport.
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