National Training Camp Selections???

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

Postby MaxTork » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:05 pm

Doc, you miss the point yet again. Do you even read these things?

The older posts DO show Stickman as a staunch supporter of the Men's and Women's programs, even the one from a year ago. That is precisely the point.

Very recently he has become a harsh critic of both the teams, to the point of making statements he probably regrets making, statements hurtful to the athletes. I believe Stickman is doing this because of a new-found devotion to following everything that you, Doc, says.

mbaywaterpolo
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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:26 pm

Max, why must you insist on proving that the program isn't in as bad of shape as the rest of us think it is? Pretending that there isn't a problem is the biggest thing that can prevent us from improving the program.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:52 pm

On another note, I'm pretty sure these are the new rosters for the Youth and Cadet National Teams. If they're last year's I apologize.

http://www.usawaterpolo.org/sports/m-yo ... h-mtt.html

http://www.usawaterpolo.org/sports/m-ca ... t-mtt.html

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby h20polomamma » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:23 pm

USA Water Polo National Team
2013 UANA Championships
August 23-September 1
Dominick Beaudine, goalie, Coastal Zone
Dennis Blyashov, attacker, Pacific Southwest Zone
Nicholas Carniglia, attacker, Central Zone
Sean Duncan, center, Sopac Zone
Thomas Dunstan, attacker, Northeast Zone
Garrett Fisk, center, Central Zone
Bryce Hoerman, attacker, Pacific Southwest Zone
Kent Inoue, attacker, Sopac Zone
Ethan Lewis, goalkeeper, Hawaii Zone
Matthew Maier, defender, Coastal Zone
Ash Molton, attacker, Sopac Zone
Blake Parrish, defender, Coastal Zone
Ethan Wojciechowski, defender, Sopac Zone

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby MaxTork » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:50 pm

mbaywaterpolo wrote:Max, why must you insist on proving that the program isn't in as bad of shape as the rest of us think it is? Pretending that there isn't a problem is the biggest thing that can prevent us from improving the program.


Because, Mbay, I know that our sport cannot survive a complete tearing down before rebuilding. Whatever the next step is, it must come first as a seamless integration into our present system and then gradual transitions into the subsequent phases from there. We are operating on an endangered species right now. We cannot succumb to the impatience of those who are too angry and frustrated to proceed with caution.

The other thing is, every criticism and insult hurled at USAWP, doesn't find it's target on the board of directors or on the CEO, because they're politicians and they lithely avoid those things. Every insult hurled at the program hits the athletes squarely, however. These young men and women are reaching the pinnacle of their life's work. There is probably nothing else in life that requires as much devotion or as long of a commitment. They don't have the benefit of an adoring public or the roaring crowds of Europe. We're all they have. I think they deserve our respect and support.

Hunkering down now for the artillery barrage. Fire away.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby oldtimer » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:48 pm

What I think is unfortunate is that the East/West divisiveness and emotions prevents what I consider to be a real discussion. The data seems to indicate that California is producing the best water polo players in the nation, as a *general* rule. That does not mean there are no good players outside of CA, but there is *some* reason that CA produces 90% of the National Team players. One might suggest it is pure politics, but if we look at East Coast colleges - where are they recruiting from? Doc addresses this in one of his articles, but seems to conclude that the reason is other than that's where the majority of good players are.

Now, that said - this is *not* a slam against the athletes, nor against the coaches. As I said previously, the fact that there are some NT and Olympic athletes from outside CA is a clear indication that the talent and coaching exists. So the *only* question (to my mind) is, why does CA have such a disproportionate representation in the 'upper levels' of the sport?

Doru Roll makes a sarcastic remark that CA athletes must not be 'Olympic caliber' due to our finish, questioning the point I was making that CA has the culture and the process in place to produce these athletes. That is, in my opinion, a clear attempt to denigrate rather than recognize the *facts*. That's like denigrating any country's athletes that did not finish 'at the top' in any sport. It is clearly an emotional response to a difficult issue.

I tried to use other sports as examples of how a culture can overcome the limitations of the region - whether it be climate or finances. The issue of facilities has also been addressed by simply pointing to the fact that swimming is represented fairly evenly across the nation. So WHY isn't water polo?

The answer can only be one of two things in my mind: Politics or culture. Being an East Coast based site that is intended to be the 'alternative' to the West Coast based USAWP, those who are the primary force behind it apparently would prefer it be primarily due to politics. While I won't discount that politics plays a role (which it does in all matters involving money or power), it would seem to me that if it were simply about that then it wouldn't be only a few counties spread across CA that would be the beneficiaries. If you know anything about the physical. political and social geography of this state, you would quickly recognize that SD, OC, LA and SF are not 'close' in any of these aspects - yet this is where the vast majority of the top athletes in the country are produced.

Doru Roll pointed out that I currently reside in an area that is about an hour away from the 'hotbed' of the sport, yet our representation has been fairly dismal as well. Yes, there have been a few NT/Olympic athletes from this area, but only a few. I have pointed out that I can see - first hand - that the culture here makes it exceptionally difficult to produce top athletes in this sport. Doru also points out the commitment of our athletes compared to East Coast athletes who have to travel further for games - and in doing so doesn't realize that he is actually *making my point*. The point is that the OC/SD/LA culture is such that there are more clubs and more athletes in the sport than *anywhere* else. The SF area is second. This means that athletes don't *have* to travel very far to get good games *every weekend*, and in some cases several times during the week. The comment about commitment is not just about the athletes themselves, but primarily to do with the communities. If only a few in the community are truly committed, the results will be poorer than communities where a larger percentage are committed.

I say OC clubs and communities are committed because they have created an infrastructure that allows these athletes to train and play as often as they want. I'll concede that it actually *is* easier for athletes and families to be committed because of this. Out in SB this is not the case - for us to have games we *must* travel at least an hour. Because of this, we simply *can't* compete - just as the East Coast teams generally cannot. This is not a 'slam' on the athletes. This is not being arrogant. This is not West Coast vs. East Coast. This is looking at the data, and trying to figure out *why* things are how they are - because this is the *only* way anyone will figure out a way to change it, in my opinion.

So, once again - my interpretation is that *culture* is the difference. What we are doing in my area is trying to change the culture. We are spending a lot of time and effort educating our athletes, our parents and our coaches. We are trying to establish relationships with other clubs in our area, as well as in OC/LA areas so our players have more opportunities closer to home. However, until we can provide those other clubs with good quality games, they are not interested. Why would they play a team they can easily trounce when they can play a team that will push their own players to the limit? It is a long, hard uphill climb. We can train using the latest and greatest techniques, but the fact is that only a percentage of players have the talent and the drive to get to the top. Probability tells us that if we have a club with 100 members we will produce only 1/5 the number of elite athletes that a club with 500 players will, even if we have great coaches. That's the difference between having a team with one or two really good players and a team with an entire squad. That's the difference between playing in the Silver/Gold brackets of tournaments and playing in the Platinum brackets. That's the difference between getting invited to Cal Cup, Ironman, and other 'league' play and having to scrimmage local middle-of-the-road teams. That's the difference between producing numerous NT and Olympic level players and producing one or two. And we are in California, only an hour away from the 'hotbed' - and *we* don't benefit all that much (yet), because *we* don't have the culture yet.

Our pipe dream is to build up our club, and our play, to such a level that the OC/LA teams are calling *us* and asking to come out to games. That is when we know that *our* culture has been developed to support the sport how it should be. Sitting here whining about how those guys in USAWP aren't giving us enough help to compete with the 'big boys' will never get us there. So, for whatever it is worth, that's how *we* are addressing the problem. Whether you are on the East Coast, the South, the Midwest or anywhere else, it is my opinion that you can either choose to shake your fist at the gods and vow your revenge for their capricious ways, or you can put your nose to the grindstone and start chipping away at the problem locally.

As a final note - this is a *great* site. If it sounds like I am criticizing those who run it or contribute time/energy/money to keep it going, I apologize - I am not. I am also not judging those who decide to take a different path to 'fixing' things than I do - even if it sounds like it sometimes. I think a healthy environment is one that encourages differences in opinions and approaches to problem solving. I've seen many suggestions, rejected many and integrated a few into my own approach. Unlike some others, I am encouraged by the passion shown here for the sport and it has given me ideas and motivation to do more than what I currently do. Hopefully, someday everyone will see the fruits of that effort - and even more hopefully some athletes that previously did not have an opportunity to experience this sport will have done so. I believe you never fail until you quit, no matter how dire things might look. Keep fighting, keep pushing and keep trying to make a difference. In the end, we all benefit even if we don't always agree about the tactics used. Think of it like different teams using different strategies, all competing to win the medal, but who are all trying to move the sport forward in their own way.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby stickman » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:18 pm

MAX...I'm very close to many of the players you say I've insulted, and I can tell you they disagree with you.

Oldtimer...I agree with much of what you said in your last post.
Regarding this comment, related to the efforts of your club in San Bernardino,
"It is a long, hard uphill climb. "

What, in your opinion has USAWP (The governing body of the sport) done to assist you in your efforts?
Do you think, as the governing body of the sport, USAWP has some responsibility to make your clubs growth easier?
Do you think USAWP has any impact at all on the culture of water polo in the United States, and if the culture is lacking in some areas, they have an obligation to the sport, to help improve the culture?
Do you think if the culture of water polo improved in areas outside CA, or outside of LA/OC for that matter, it would benefit the sport?

Also MAX, you said in an earlier post that the development of the water polo culture in Southern California in the 70's-80's had nothing to do with USAWP. As someone who was very involved with USAWP at that time, and I can tell you, you're wrong.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby polo68 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:48 pm

I just returned to WPP after being unplugged for several days, and I caught up on the posts.

I stand by my comment that it will take the kind of commitment described by oldtimer to grow our sport, regeardless of where oldtimer or committed people like him live. It does not matter where that commitment takes place, be it California or Maine. That is what it will take, and circumstances will have to be overcome wherever. And don't count on USAWP to do thisd work. USAWP is a governing body, that's what they do -- govern. They don't create from scratch. That's done by people like oldtimer. That is all I was trying to say.

Secondly, a personal comment about the water polo culture in Southern California many years ago (1970's): I was helped directly by CIF and indirectly by the NCAA. I was not once ever directly helped in any way by a USAWP-like organization. I guess I must have been under a rock or something. Also, on another concept, the one of culture, as a young player, my buddies and I would go watch UCLA play Stanford/USC/Cal and watch top-flight college water polo, several times during a season. Many of the players we watched became Olympians. This was a cultural experience. To us it was normal that the really good high school players would go on to a UCLA or Long Beach State or San Jose State, and maybe someday become an Olympian. We personally knew guys who had done it, we saw them all the time, and many of us were coached by them. It was just the norm for a lot of us. That's all. Not that we were superior, we were just immersed in it. Prior to my playing days, as a litle kid watching all of this, it was natural to choose water polo when the time came. We played it because it was fun. A culture like this will grow given the right conditions, just like any culture will if it's started out in a culture-friendly environment and fed along the way. Just like in a petri dish.

None of us in my day ever expected to make a dime at water polo, or get famous because of it, we did it for the challenge and the joy. It was a minor sport. It still is. And so a person making a $300,000 per year salary "governing" water polo in the U.S. is just absolutely bizarre to me. I just don't see where the size and scope of our sport can justify that kind of silliness. Again, I must be under a rock or something.

I am done talking. I have said what I maybe meant to say the first time.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Doru Roll » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:56 pm

Thanks for making my point, oldtimer: it's always easier to be "committed" in an area where you practically fall into a pool every 300 yards, the weather is great and you can skateboard to practice every day. It's a lot harder when you have to travel an hour each way to get to practice three-four days a week, or 5-6 hours each way to a tournament, and someone has to drive you. So there you have it: East Coast kids must definitely be more committed, because of the greater hardships and sacrifices they and their families have to make for the sport. Case closed.

I see your point about "culture", but it seems you don't. From your own words, it is apparent those great clubs less than an hour's drive from San Bernardino are doing nothing to help you grow. No invites to Cal Cup or Ironman, no opportunities to play up, etc. That has nothing to do with your culture, it has to do with theirs. It seems to me that their culture is one of exclusion, not inclusion. If it is difficult for you, who are mere 50 miles away, to benefit from these clubs, how can clubs 3,500 miles away ever hope to? And whose job is it to grow the sport, to the inclusion of the whole nation? Yup, it's all spelled out in USAWP's mission statement. Right next to winning Olympic gold. Thanks again for making my point. Case closed.

oldtimer wrote:... Doru Roll makes a sarcastic remark that CA athletes must not be 'Olympic caliber' due to our finish, questioning the point I was making that CA has the culture and the process in place to produce these athletes. That is, in my opinion, a clear attempt to denigrate rather than recognize the *facts*. That's like denigrating any country's athletes that did not finish 'at the top' in any sport. It is clearly an emotional response to a difficult issue...

You misquote me oldtimer, and sadly for the only apparent purpose of attempting to denigrate me. Well, I guess that's how you roll... If and when the NMT wins a gold medal I will gladly retract my statement, but until then the facts are the facts. Nothing difficult or emotional about that. Case closed.

polo68, it's no longer just one person, it's three. It seems USAWP can afford to pay them, but not to send a national team to the WUG.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Moderator » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:20 pm

Oldtimer, I happen to agree with you.

I have no love for our NGB but do not feel it is their obligation to create programs for us nor do I believe that equal opportunity programs are the answer- we tried it for many years with the Premier League and it did not help improve the competition level in the East-

Equal opportunity at the age group level- ok, maybe I can make a case for that for a limited time but not forever.

There are pockets outside of California where things are improving and will continue to improve. It may seem like glacial progress but it is progress nonetheless- Pennsylvania, Florida, Annapolis, Greenwich, Ann Arbor, Ohio, Atlanta, Texas and lately, Louisiana.

Watching the enormous help that the non USAWP people in Texas are giving to the new program in Louisiana has been amazing. Texas has a vested interest in helping Louisiana come on board- to form future competitive ties with a neighboring state but they did not have to do it- The same thing is happening between Ohio, Pittsburgh and Erie- two completely different zones but closer to each other than they are to clubs in their own zone. USA Water Polo couldn't do that without a quagmire of zone politics getting in the way. They do it quietly, club to club and all of the kids and coaches are better for it.

Sometimes, you have to change the culture and think outside of the box to create forward movement. Sometimes (often??) the best way to do that is without central command to muddy the waters- sometimes you need to lean on the time honored traditions of vested self interest and mutual cooperation.

I like to point the finger of blame at USAWP as much as the next person...but it is a mistake for us to sit on our butts and complain while doing nothing to improve our own situation. We need to do it ourselves- one program at a time is still forward movement. Change is difficult- changing the culture is the first step.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Doc » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:42 am

oldtimer,I happen to disagree with you.

I don't mind if you quote one of my articles but I would appreciate it if you would quote it correctly. The article was about where the majority players are from and not where the majority of good players are from.

"The Mission of USA Water Polo shall be to grow the sport of water polo throughout the United States and win medals in Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games."

It sounds to me like you want the USAWP members to do the USAWP's job. Then why are we paying the CEO and the COO such ungodly salaries and why is the CEO allowed to hire 21, and counting, staff members (every time the CEO cannot solve a problem a CEO should be able to solve he hires another staff member). It sppears as though the CEO Chris Ramsey is intimidated by people who know more about water polo than he does. If this is not true then why does Chris Ramsey surround himself with people that don't know a hill of beans about water polo? Chris Ramsey has been the CEO for over 8 years and he still has not met the the USAWP's Mission. In most other companies the CEO would have been fired by now for not full filling the company's mission.

We need new leadership. In short we need people who are willing to listen to the water polo community, a CEO that does not cater to every whim of the BOD President, a BOD that doesn't try to run the USAWP but a BOD that advises and consents to the leaders of the USAWP (It is against the Bylaws for the BOD to run the USAWP). There are a 100 other reasons why we need new leadership and these 100 reasons translate into this simple saying "You didn't do your job and meet the mission of the USAWP".

If we could get new leaders then maybe, just maybe, the membership could partner with the new leaders to do some of the things that oldtimer suggests in his last post. Seeing is believing and up to now I have not seen any true effort on the part of the USAWP leadership to come up with any plan which would help either the USAWP and/or the USAWP members meet the USAWP Mission.

Doc

PS: We can't even count Splashball because the USAWP charges $65 for the kids to register.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby ephpolo » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:51 am

Doru Roll wrote:it's always easier to be "committed" in an area where you practically fall into a pool every 300 yards, the weather is great and you can skateboard to practice every day.


There is some truth here, but it only goes so far. To take my region, the lack of swimming pools in New England should be just as big a problem for swim teams as it is for water polo, but age-group swimming is thriving here, and some prominent talent (Jenny Thompson, Ian Crocker) has come out of those programs.

I live in Maine. If you think you can find a colder and more rural state, I'll assume you're talking about Montana or North Dakota. Yet I have 4 indoor all deep 30 meter pools within an hour's drive of my house, and at least a dozen more 6 lane 25 yard shallow/deep pools. There are three CWPA club teams using those pools--exactly the same number that were there back when I was playing CWPA club polo in the 80's. Not one of those pools supports any USWP, high school, masters or other non-college water polo. Every one of them has a swim club and a masters swim team.

We have WAY more swimming pools than ice rinks, and hockey is thriving here. Believe me, the kids in hockey programs are lining up to drive 90 minutes for 6 am ice time, not bitching about the lack of facilities.

Surely there are enough swimming pools and enough public transportation in the NYC/Northern NJ/Southern CT area (not to mention enough European immigrants from polo-rich countries) that long commutes to practice facilities and games should not be an obstacle, yet there are only a handful of polo programs, and only Greenwich seems to have been able to build a strong club. I coached high school polo in that area 25 years ago, and only the Greenwich program seems to have grown since then.

Realistically, the only way I see to grow water polo in New England is to build on the success and infrastructure of the club swimming programs. It's no surprise that Greenwich, with its rich history of swimming success, is the bright spot for New England polo.

What we're lacking out here is a tradition of water polo---and a pool of coaches and boosters to generate interest in the sport. I'm not sure how that changes.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby Doru Roll » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:15 am

ephpolo wrote: There is some truth here, but it only goes so far. To take my region, the lack of swimming pools in New England should be just as big a problem for swim teams as it is for water polo, but age-group swimming is thriving here, and some prominent talent (Jenny Thompson, Ian Crocker) has come out of those programs.

I live in Maine. If you think you can find a colder and more rural state, I'll assume you're talking about Montana or North Dakota. Yet I have 4 indoor all deep 30 meter pools within an hour's drive of my house, and at least a dozen more 6 lane 25 yard shallow/deep pools. There are three CWPA club teams using those pools--exactly the same number that were there back when I was playing CWPA club polo in the 80's. Not one of those pools supports any USWP, high school, masters or other non-college water polo. Every one of them has a swim club and a masters swim team.

We have WAY more swimming pools than ice rinks, and hockey is thriving here. Believe me, the kids in hockey programs are lining up to drive 90 minutes for 6 am ice time, not bitching about the lack of facilities.

Surely there are enough swimming pools and enough public transportation in the NYC/Northern NJ/Southern CT area (not to mention enough European immigrants from polo-rich countries) that long commutes to practice facilities and games should not be an obstacle, yet there are only a handful of polo programs, and only Greenwich seems to have been able to build a strong club. I coached high school polo in that area 25 years ago, and only the Greenwich program seems to have grown since then.

Realistically, the only way I see to grow water polo in New England is to build on the success and infrastructure of the club swimming programs. It's no surprise that Greenwich, with its rich history of swimming success, is the bright spot for New England polo.

What we're lacking out here is a tradition of water polo---and a pool of coaches and boosters to generate interest in the sport. I'm not sure how that changes.

There is some truth here, but it only goes so far. In the first place, the vast majority of pools in the North East are six lane 25yd shallow/deep. That size can accommodate 72-90 age group swimmers per training session. Multiply that by three to four training sessions a day (one at 6:00 AM, the rest in the evening) and you get between 284 and 450 swimmers a day, each of whom pays a membership fee. The typical water polo club only has 100-150 players. Who do you think will likely get the pool?

I'm not sure how things are in Maine, but here in the NYC Metro area we have WAY more hockey rinks than year-round pools. That's because they can be used for roller hockey in the summer. In my city alone we have three rinks: one year-round indoor and two outdoors, but only two indoors, six lane 25yd pools, one of which is all-shallow. And even though there are enough public transportation (although a one-hour commute by NYC bus or subway is a significant obstacle for the average 12-year old) and plenty of Eastern European immigrants (and for that matter Americans) who want to play and start clubs, there aren't enough pools available for water polo because local administrators aren't willing to allow it. Most municipal pool administrators will only give pool time to swim teams because they bring in many times the number of paid memberships that water polo can ever hope to, and there is little if any risk of injuries. Using the few remaining NYC HS pools for water polo is not possible because it is not a sanctioned sport.

Speaking of Maine, the CWPA club programs you are referring don't have a permanent coaching staff, some have no staff at all. The same is true for many other CWPA club teams, and without a permanent staff one cannot even begin to sponsor activities such as an age-group program.

The North East has had a longer tradition of high-level water polo than practically the rest of the world. The first game this side of the Atlantic was played in Massachusetts, and NYAC's team has been around for over 100 years, even before the Hungarians started playing. There were many strong collegiate teams in the 50s, 60s and early 70s, but many of them were disbanded around 73-74. Why? For three reasons: 1. swimming was getting ever more popular because of the Olympic success of people like Mark Spitz, etc.; 2. lack of money (the NYC Metro area was practically bankrupt), and: 3. title IX. Thankfully some of that tradition still endures in Fairfield County, CT, where many former NYC collegiate players now reside. Another thing that happened during the 70s and early 80s negatively impacted water polo in these parts: many former East Coast collegiate players migrated to California to work in the new, high-tech industry. One notable example is Hungarian-born, City College alum Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel. It was a time when California was booming and new communities were being built all over, many of them complete with 50m swimming pools. The transplants brought with them a strong culture that had the effect of increasing water polo's footprint in California just as it was decreasing in the East.

But in reality all this is moot, because today or fifty tears ago the overall situation of American water polo is still the same: a peripheral sport with practically no national growth, always teetering on the brink of extinction. USAWP was created to change that and it has failed at it's primary mission: to grow the sport nationally. Building the sport nationally without USAWP is really not feasible since by law the USOC doesn't recognize any other representative entity. Unless of course people aren't concerned with water polo as a national sport, but rather as they local past time in OC and its environs. Then of course one wouldn't USAWP to act nationally, which is probably just fine with the big fish in this little pond of ours.

Anyway, I've said my peace. You can either accept or reject it; it makes no difference to me.

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Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby oldtimer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:14 pm

Doru - the intent of my statements was not to denigrate you, it was to illustrate my point that often emotion is used for arguments instead of facts/data. I apologize for making it sound derogatory... however, I'll once again use your comment about "practically falling into a pool every 300 yards" to illustrate my point about arguing emotionally, which is obviously an exaggeration intended to make a fallacious point. For example, even though OC has numerous 30M+ deep pools, during Winterfest or the JO qualifiers, pools that were used were 30 to 60 minutes away from each other. The reason is because many of the pools in the area are 6 lane, shallow-to-deep pools, or 6-lane all deep pools. Pool space here is as precious as in many other areas. Our own club has to fight to get 3 days per week (6 hours) for each age group because we share with the swim club, and the high school teams.

Doc - I still stand behind my statement. Whether you said "players" or "good players" has little to nothing to do with the reality. I must presume that college coaches are recruiting good players, not players simply because they reside in a particular state that is 3000+ miles away. Therefore, I must also presume that since most of the recruited players are from CA, that this must be where the highest number of good players are. You may not like this conclusion, and you may wish to make the implication that East Coast college coaches have no idea how to evaluate a player's skill - but if that is the case, I will disagree with you.

Considering the comments that have been made, and the facts provided, it should be clear that the reason for the state of water polo in the US is not facilities or climate, but culture. One can argue that this is the mission of USAWP, and therefore the organization is a failure - I won't dispute that. The other sports that I have been involved with also have an NGB with a similar mission. Most of them do not provide the entry level opportunities to get athletes interested in the sport - that is typically done by another organization. For figure skating, the USOC recognized entity is USFSA, but ISI actually has more athletes, and it is primarily a recreational (rather than competitive) organization. Most ice rinks have ISI classes they run to introduce skaters to the sport. Gymnastics has USAG, but the primary entity that most recreational gymnasts operate under is AAU. There are similar recreational organizations for hockey and archery. The USOC recognized entities are primarily interested in attracting those who are truly competitive, and offering them opportunities to develop into national level competitors, rather than recreational opportunities. Like it or not, this is how other sports attract new athletes, from my experience - by getting them into a fun and recreational environment, then transitioning them to a more competitive one if that is what they desire. I would suggest that this is the function that American Water Polo can, and should, serve.

Finally - Doru, while you may not recognize it, you and I seem to be in a similar quandary. Based on your comments, you have an 11 year old who is very committed to the sport. I have a 15 year old who is also very committed. My son attends every high school and club practice he can - including asking to attend 14U and 18U practices if the coach will allow him. He works tirelessly - and established a grueling summer schedule for himself that includes up to 7 hours of workouts/practices a day. He finally took two days off last week because he was completely exhausted. However, he is frustrated as can be - because many of his teammates are not as committed. Some are, but the problem is that there aren't enough of them locally for him to get what he wants, and needs, in order to become the player he wants. Perhaps the only difference between our sons is that mine gets to see very often the results of a culture that is committed to water polo, and that frustrates him greately. No matter how committed *he* is personally, the fact that our community is not limits his opportunities, and he sees it constantly. We therefore have discussed two options: The first is moving him to a community where he gets his 'fix' for the game. While that provides a short-term, relatively easy solution - it does not address the larger problem. Unfortunately, that is the solution most athletes and parents decide upon. We have had several of our club players switch to Foothill or CHAWP because they believe that's where they will get better opportunities.

But, the one we have both decided on is that we will work to improve the culture in our community. He has brought at least a dozen of his friends into the sport over the past two years, and continues to champion the game. He works hard at practice, and constantly pushes his friends to come to as many workouts/practices as they can. I offer rides to games and practices, and I provide free coaching/instruction for them at the gym and at the pools we have access to. Our solution, such as it is, is to forego the immediate gratification of moving him to Foothill club and Los Osos school district (where I have a good friend who will let us use her address for 'residency') to play for a CIF championship team, and instead take the more difficult, but better long-term solution (for the sport) of working to build the culture where we live. And we are seeing some fruits of success from this. Yes, it is still West Coast water polo, and he may lose some opportunities - but he currently intends to spend a lifetime playing and being involved with the sport, so I am proud to say that he is mature enough to understand that he is helping himself by helping the sport. We are both working to expand that in our own ways. Take that for whatever it is worth, but I think that while we may have different opinions on how to fix things, I believe we are both seeing the same problem. I, for one, am not willing to just lay the blame elsewhere and hope someone else solves the problem. I may not have any real effect in the long term, but I'll have fun trying... :-).

ephpolo
Posts: 829
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:31 pm
How are you connected to water polo?: Ex-player, Ex-coach, referee

Re: National Training Camp Selections???

Postby ephpolo » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:23 pm

Doru:

You bring up a good point---if the community pools are already occupied by swim programs, and if the swim programs see water polo as competition, we probably won't win
that battle. That's why I suggested a partnership with the swim clubs. Maybe that's a pipe dream, but it's the only chance I see for growth in this region outside of a few prep school and private college programs.

Around here I see pool time going for water aerobics, kayak rolling practice, scuba classes, swim lessons, diving and being rented out for birthday parties. Sure, we'd have to compete with all those activities, but if there were 40 people in Central Maine who wanted pool time 2 nights a week to get started and were willing to pay club dues, I'm pretty sure I could find them pool time, at least some of the time in an all-deep pool.

And let's not have the perfect be the enemy of the good. I learned to play in a 4 lane deep/shallow pool--and it made me a lifetime fan of the sport.

I'd love to see USWP do more to promote the sport in New England, but it they called me tomorrow and said, "Great, what do you need?", I don't know what I'd ask for.

Perhaps the thing most likely to get some other polo-minded folks here would be for a handful of the CWPA club teams to go varsity and bring in some underemployed coaches who'd be looking for club work to round out the paycheck.

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