National Training Camp Selections???

USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program
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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Moderator » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:54 am

OCPoloDad wrote:
Look at Hockey; there are the same 4 countries (Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, sometimes USA gets in the mix) and then every one else. No one below the Equator has a chance. How does Hockey make it work? Very few countries do it; very few countries and their people have access to constant ice; the best players in the US are living on the Canadian border States (Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, etc...); very few people understand the rules (like polo); and very few people have played it (like polo). How do they make it work?


Hockey has a wider range of countries, players and fans participating on both the amateur, age group and professional side-thus has more political clout world wide.

Wrestling may be predominantly popular in the midwest but how is that different than water polo that is predominantly popular in California? Simple- there are 6x the number of registered wrestlers than water polo players in the US alone.

Whether the hockey is comprehensible or not, look at just a few of the numbers:

*USA Hockey has 591,000 registered members, USA Water Polo has 30,000
*USA Wrestling has 180,000 members, USA Water Polo has 30,000
*NHL has 2,765,341 "Likes" on Facebook, USA Hockey has 248,966. USA Water Polo has 55,000
*18 million tickets were sold in the USA market of the NHL last season and Ice hockey has an estimated 2 billion fans worldwide
*Attractiveness to players: The NHL minimum player salary is $525,000 a year. The average professional water polo player salary is $26,400
*Spectator seating capacity: Compare the seating capacity of a swimming pool with a gymnasium(wrestling) or an ice rink. Swimming pools have about 5% of the capacity of gyms and rinks and are rarely ever full-

If you were a politically motivated member of the USOC, would you support a sport of 30,000 members that won a medal, or a sport with 591,000 members that did not medal? Whether we love the sport or not, I believe that it is all going to boil down to a numbers game...and sadly, Water Polo is not making the cut.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Doru Roll » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:42 pm

Let me add to what Mod said: with the exception of the UK, Greece, Spain and Albania, all the European countries have professional hockey leagues. Not all are as competitive as Russia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, but they have them.

As to wrestling: it was almost dropped at the last IOC meeting but I don't think it's because of lack of popularity. In fact, wrestling is very popular in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and the Muslim republics that broke out of the former Soviet Union. Get my drift? Another fine example of international politics at work.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby OCPoloDad » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:23 pm

Moderator wrote:
OCPoloDad wrote:
Look at Hockey; there are the same 4 countries (Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, sometimes USA gets in the mix) and then every one else. No one below the Equator has a chance. How does Hockey make it work? Very few countries do it; very few countries and their people have access to constant ice; the best players in the US are living on the Canadian border States (Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, etc...); very few people understand the rules (like polo); and very few people have played it (like polo). How do they make it work?


Hockey has a wider range of countries, players and fans participating on both the amateur, age group and professional side-thus has more political clout world wide.

Wrestling may be predominantly popular in the midwest but how is that different than water polo that is predominantly popular in California? Simple- there are 6x the number of registered wrestlers than water polo players in the US alone.

Whether the hockey is comprehensible or not, look at just a few of the numbers:

Excellent info and feedback!!

*USA Hockey has 591,000 registered members, USA Water Polo has 30,000
*USA Wrestling has 180,000 members, USA Water Polo has 30,000
*NHL has 2,765,341 "Likes" on Facebook, USA Hockey has 248,966. USA Water Polo has 55,000
*18 million tickets were sold in the USA market of the NHL last season and Ice hockey has an estimated 2 billion fans worldwide
*Attractiveness to players: The NHL minimum player salary is $525,000 a year. The average professional water polo player salary is $26,400
*Spectator seating capacity: Compare the seating capacity of a swimming pool with a gymnasium(wrestling) or an ice rink. Swimming pools have about 5% of the capacity of gyms and rinks and are rarely ever full-

If you were a politically motivated member of the USOC, would you support a sport of 30,000 members that won a medal, or a sport with 591,000 members that did not medal? Whether we love the sport or not, I believe that it is all going to boil down to a numbers game...and sadly, Water Polo is not making the cut.



Excellent info and feedback. So is this sport doomed for the shelf? How can it be placed on par as LaCrosse?

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Moderator » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:39 pm

Yup- it's all about politics and personal power.

How many members of the USOC do you think would spend any time lobbying to keep water polo? Water Polo is only an NCAA port because it is an Olympic sport- if it is lost to the Olympics, it's dead in the NCAA.

My feeling is that it is likely too late. What's your read on this, Doru?

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Moderator » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:15 pm

OCPoloDad wrote:
Excellent info and feedback. So is this sport doomed for the shelf? How can it be placed on par as LaCrosse?


Is USAWP as an organization capable of keeping people interested even if there are no NCAA programs to go to? How many people are going to be willing to pay club fees for water polo if there is no NCAA or Olympic future? The answer is clear in Europe- kids are abandoning water polo at a rapid rate as Pro money drys up and their parents see no future in the sport. More and more European clubs are dropping water polo for tennis and basketball that use cheaper facilities and have better futures.

USA Curling (yes, CURLING) has 16,500 members and has managed to field a team at the 2013 Winter World University Games. Think about it---CURLING has about 1/2 the membership numbers as water polo AND managed to fund a team. USA Shooting and USA Fencing managed to field teams. Does anyone think that the USOC and the IOC are not seeing this as complete lack of interest on the part of our entire community?

Crossfit...a brand new sport, started in 2006.. already has 5 million members in the US. 5 million participants in a sport whose official mascot is PUKIE THE CLOWN

And here is water polo- the oldest team sport in the Olympics with 30,000 members.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby ILikeBigWater » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:41 pm

I don’t know but It might be as simple as budget and or cash flow. I really have no idea how many big events USA curling, USA shooting or USA fencing have in such a short period of time or on their yearly calendar, but USA Waterpolo just had the FINA Super regional in Russia and China last month. I’m not sure about the men’s team but I know the women’s team leaves for the Netherlands today for training prior to traveling to Barcelona for Sr. Worlds. I can imagine the men have a similar schedule. In August there is Jr. Worlds. In Hungary and Greece.

It seems to me that this is a lot of travel at a time when travel costs are increasing. I don’t know the USA Waterpolo budget but can well believe that they are nearing the limit of what was budgeted for 2013’s tournament / travel budget and that this year WUG was simply not affordable with the other major tournaments being their rightful focus (IMO). I’m pretty sure we want the Sr. men and women going to worlds as well as the Jr. teams. I’m not sure but the World Youth Championships this past winter might also have spilled over into FY2013. For the Sr. teams I count about 38 travel days between the Super regional and Worlds and another 10 for Jr. Worlds. This times 2 for men and women’s teams plus coaches, staff, others and fees. Adds up pretty fast with all that airfare, food and lodging.

Just something to consider. No business or organization can fund everything it wants to do in given calendar year.

Oh and my apology to readers in advance for all the posts which will be sure to come from reading the above, calling for USA Watterpolo’s Exec Co to give up their salaries, those are getting kind of old, go nowhere and solve nothing.

I do agree with Moderator’s general premise that the metrics as they stand now do not bode well for the future of the sport, but hope we all keep doing what we can individually and in the groups we are associated with to help keep things going (thanks oldtimer). The simple fact is we are associated with a niche sport, which clearly isn’t as attractive to most people as many of the competing sports.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Doru Roll » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:49 pm

ILikeBigWater, remember that old saying: "Where there's a will, there's a way"? The date and location of all major tournaments are know years in advance. Furthermore, the size of the delegations for every tournament is known in advance as well. So costs can be budgeted, blocks of tickets bought and hotels reserved well in advance. USAWP could also enter into strategic partnerships with Star Alliance and international hotel chain such as Intercontinental or Wyndham. This is not a question of money. It' simply a question of will.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:56 pm

The best thing that could be done to draw more people to water polo would be to make it more exciting to watch. What kind of rule changes could we see that could move towards this? Maybe something that makes the international game less about drawing kick-outs from set?

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Moderator » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:23 pm

mbaywaterpolo wrote:The best thing that could be done to draw more people to water polo would be to make it more exciting to watch. What kind of rule changes could we see that could move towards this? Maybe something that makes the international game less about drawing kick-outs from set?


This is the type of thinking that has a chance of giving this sport a future.

It is going to take a concerted effort of everyone in the sport to stop bickering, pull together and find positive solutions-

The World University Games are not the cause of the bleak outlook- it is merely one in a long line of symptoms that add up to terminal illness.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby stickman » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:33 pm

MBAY-
The rules are tinkered with every year at every level...all that has really done is make the game a little more confusing to play and officiate.
I don't disagree that a more spectator friendly game would be a good idea, but it's not that simple.
It's more an issue of grass roots development, and marketing.

Frankly I'm starting to think that Max Tork and the USAWP of California need to be left alone to their business of hoping to finish in the top 8 with a medal every 12-16 years, while the rest of the country joins together to develop the sport throughout the nation through another organization that isn't bound by the expectations of the USOC. American Water Polo is one good example.

The best way to save water polo in the long run, might actually be to break it down and start over. If USAWP/CA can carry the sport on their own...good for them. If not, a grass roots development organization benefiting and funded by members of the rest of the country can pick-up the pieces after they've been obliterated, and collectively build a better/stronger NATIONAL culture of water polo. In the interim, there's no reason the two organizations couldn't exist successfully side by side.

Believe it or not, there are actually many here in CA that are plenty fed up with a sport/organization that constantly settles for far less than its potential.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby klazs » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:13 pm

I think no one in the water polo community wants to address the issue of the total lack of any recognizable form of sportsmanship in the sport. From the coaches and administrators of clubs to the good players, it is more of a blood sport and bully sport than anything else. I think a lot of young players turn away from the sport because of the "culture" of water polo. The parents don't want their children learning the lessons that water polo teaches them at the higher levels. The coaches and the players are carnal and neanderthal. Even the most violent sports teach more sportsmanship than water polo. My kid is really, really good but I am concerned about his overall development. I think this is a huge issue for water polo in the long run that no one addresses. Even the officials seem to be able to be unsportsmanlike and unprofessional in many instances.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby MaxTork » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:11 am

What happened to this guy, Stick?

Aug 22, 2008 RE: USA Gets the Silver
stickman wrote:Thanks to the amazing achievements of our women's program over the years, and now our men's program...we can truely say..AMERICA IS THE BEST WATER POLO NATION IN THE WORLD! No other country will leave this Olympics with TWO water polo medals! Congrats to all of the players and coaches...we're lucky to have you represent us!


and this?

Aug 22, 2008 RE: USA Beats Serbia - On to the Gold Medal Game!!!
stickman wrote:This is spectacular! In the near 30 years I've been involved in USA Water Polo..this is without question the proudest I've ever felt! Thanks to the players and coaching staff...and best of luck in the gold medla game! I think it's safe to say, regardless of what happens in the men's final, that based on the success of our Men's AND Women's Teams...the United States is currently the at the top of the Water Polo World!


or even this guy?

Aug 30,2012 RE: What Went Wrong?
stickman wrote:I think some of you are really reaching for some wild excuses.
Really it just comes down to the fact that the guys didn't execute as well as the other teams. In the end, the dissapointment of not getting into the medal round, deflated the guys and they ended up 8th. It's a bummer, I feel bad for them, but these guys have accomplished a great deal over the past four years. As much or more than any American water polo players before them. Many of them have a silver medal in their pocket...let's not forget that.

Did Schro's resignation prior to the tournament affect the team? Doubtful. These are grown men, not hs kids..most of them have known for over a year the Terry wouldn't be back after the Olympics.

Did the system (or alleged system) not work for them? If their system of play was an issue we would have known long ago...these guys weren't thrown together for the Olympics...for the most part it's the same group that has been competing together since about two or three years prior to the 08 games. So about seven years give or take, together in competition. If their system was an issue, we would have known long ago.


What turned you into this guy?

stickman wrote:"we lost to perennial contenders Russia(once), Hungary, Serbia/Montenegro, Italy, Spain(once) and Yugoslavia."

Max...why do you think the USA is not one of those perennial contenders? Don't you think we should be?

A little something to put us over the top? Ya, like utilizing the resources of the other 49 states. That would be a little something.

It IS a cultural thing, and that's what should be changed. And to do so we need to put resources into developing the culture where it can grow and benefit the entire country. It's not about being a socialist...it's about wanting to be #1 in the world every year. Like we are in swimming.


Why the flip-flop? What has made you such a bitter critic of these amazing young men and women, today?

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby stickman » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:44 pm

Max,
It's not the young men and women I criticize...it's the organization that runs them.
From an organizational standpoint, there is and for many years has been plenty to criticize.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby MaxTork » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:21 pm

Oh, but you do criticize them, Stick.

When you make that statement that I quoted above, about utilizing the other 49 states, the only meaning that can be inferred from you statement is that these athletes are only there because USAWP did not develop better ones throughout the country, and this new group of athletes would certainly win the gold medal. There's no other logical conclusion to your argument.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Doc » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:47 pm

Max,

Oh, but stickman doesn't criticize them.

Stickman is one of the strongest supporters of both the US National Men's Team and the US National Women's Team on this message board. You pick three posts out of 434 posts, two of which are 5 years old and the third is over a year old, to try and prove stickman isn't a supporter of the National Teams. Well, you didn't succeed because anybody that knows stickman knows that what you are saying about him is just not true.

You say, "There's no other logical conclusion to your argument". If the message board readers were to read your 25 posts then the majority of the readers would probably come to the same conclusion as I have and that is, "Max wouldn't know logic even if he were taught to him by Aristotle".

Doc

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