In his first 20-year term (1986-2005) as Pepperdine's head coach, Schroeder was one of the top collegiate water polo coaches in the nation. After coaching an unheralded USA squad to the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics and again leading the Americans at the 2012 Games, he earned the right to be known as one of the best coaches in the world.
He was also one of the best players the sport has ever seen, as he served as the U.S. team captain for a decade and helped the Americans to a pair of silver medals.
The Waves have enjoyed tremendous success under Schroeder. Pepperdine earned eight NCAA Championships berths and claimed the program's first-ever national championship in 1997.
The 1997 squad went 25-3 (.893) and posted the best winning percentage in school history. The campaign ended with an 8-7 overtime win over local rival USC in the NCAA title game, held at the International Swimming Hall of Fame Aquatics Complex in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Not only was Schroeder the 1997 National Coach of the Year, he also earned Mountain Pacific Coach of the Year honors in 1997 and 1998 and was the Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 1989.
He also led the Waves to a third-place NCAA finish in 1991, fourth place in 1989 and fifth place in 1987, 1990 and 1992.
In the midst of a rebuilding project, Schroeder has led the Waves to back-to-back 11-win seasons these past two years. The Waves finished sixth at the MPSF Tournament in 2014.
Schroeder posted a record of 340-220 (.607) in his first 20 seasons as head coach, and is now 371-264 (.584) after 23 years.
Schroeder stepped down from his position as Pepperdine's head coach to join the U.S. National Team after the 2005 season. While he still contributed to the Waves' program over the years, he agreed to return as a volunteer assistant in 2012 before taking over as head coach again in 2013.
During his hiatus, the U.S. men's water polo squad became one of the top stories of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as he led a group that included Pepperdine alums Merrill Moses and Jesse Smith to the silver medal. His U.S. squad entered the Olympics ranked ninth in the world but the team won its group and defeated Serbia in the semifinals before falling to Hungary in the gold-medal game. He also coached the Americans at the 2012 London Olympics to an eighth-place finish.
Regarded as one of the world's all-time outstanding players, Schroeder was the U.S. National Team's captain from 1983-92 and was part of the team for 16 years. He was a four-time Olympian for the U.S. (including the boycotted 1980 Games), which won silver medals in 1984 and 1988 and placed fourth in 1992. He helped the U.S. win its first-ever major international competition in 1991, as the Americans captured the FINA Cup in Barcelona by beating longtime nemesis Yugoslavia in the title game.
Noted as a leading spokesman for the sport of water polo, Schroeder has been featured in numerous national publications, including Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. He modeled for a statue that was unveiled prior to the 1984 Olympic Games, which sits outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He also carried the U.S. flag at the closing ceremonies of the 1998 Seoul Olympics.
Schroeder was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2013, the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005, the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985.
As a Pepperdine student-athlete, he earned All-American honors in 1977, 1978 and 1980 and is the school's leader in goals scored in a career (392) and a season (138 in 1978). The Waves finished fourth at the NCAA Championships three times with Schroeder. He graduated with honors from Pepperdine in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in sports medicine.
He completed his doctorate studies at the Palmer-West Chiropractic School in Sunnyvale, Calif., and operates a chiropractic office in Westlake Village, Calif.
He and his wife, Lori, have two daughters, Leanna and Sheridan.
Fundamentals of Water Polo: The Pregame Routine
US National Men’s Team Coach
US Team Won the Silver Medal in the 2008 Olympics
Developing a pre game routine is a very important piece of game preparation. A good pre game warm up prepares your body as well as your mind for peak performance.
As we look at this fundamental skill, it is important to start with the end in mind and work backwards. Obviously, the end in this case is the game itself. What will it take to get your body and your mind ready? Once you have made your list of items that you want to be a part of your pre game warm up – then you start looking at how much time each of these items takes and figure out where you start.
Here is the list of items that I would consider important to a pre game warm up. Sleep (napping), eating, team meetings, personal time, active stretching, therapy, and then of course the actually game warm up.
So where do we begin? The first item on your list should be sleep or napping. If it is a morning game I would recommend that you are awake and up and moving at least three hours prior to game time. At the Olympic Games in 1984, Team USA had two games at 8:00 am. In preparing for these games we actually stayed overnight at Pepperdine (the site of the 84’ games) and woke up very early. We woke up at 4:30 am and went to the pool immediately for a little stretcher. This was to wake up and get the body moving. After a 20 minute swim we returned to the dorms and ate a good breakfast at 5 am. The same principle applies if it is a nap and an afternoon or evening game. You should be awake and moving at least three hours before game time.
The second component on my list would be the pre game meal. Your pre game meal should be at least 3 hours prior to the game and it should be a healthy meal. I always preferred to be a little hungry at game time. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to eat too close to game time or eat too much and feel full and sluggish. If at all possible your meal should consist of foods that you are used to eating. This may be difficult if you are on the road because you may not have total control of what you are fed. We have had some pretty scary mystery meats in our travels around the world. I would recommend a little clean protein – fish or chicken with little fat is best and some pasta (preferably with a red sauce or a light sauce) and some vegetables. You should avoid heavy rich meats such as a big steak or lamb chops and I would also recommend staying away from dairy and simple sugars. If you must eat dessert have a piece of fruit. You can always eat a piece of fruit or a very light snack 45 minutes before game time if you need a little something. Also make sure that you drink enough water prior to the game. Proper hydration is very important to peak performance.
Do not go back to sleep after you eat. Sleeping on a full stomach is not good and your food will not digest as quickly as it should. You will wake up feeling sluggish.
After eating your pre game meal it is a good time for some active stretching. Go for a little walk, use your foam roller or get your pre game therapy ( a little sports massage, active release or having a therapist stretch you out).
Next up is your team meeting. Most coaches will want to have a meeting approximately one and one half hours before game time. Pay attention in these meetings! If you are feeling tired then stand in the back and move around a little while the coach is talking. Take some notes if you are inclined. Be a student of the game. Learn about your opponents tendencies.
After the meeting perhaps there is a chance for some personal time. This can mean finding a quiet spot and just doing some mental imagery or listening to music while you see yourself playing a great game. Go over in your mind what the coach talked about in the meeting. Know the game plan and your role in it. I think it is very important to have some quiet time. While I was playing at Pepperdine, I used to go to the beach and take a little walk or just sit in the sand for 20 minutes and mentally prepare myself. I would recommend 15-20 minutes of personal time prior to the game. This might occur on the way to the game if you have to drive from the hotel or village to the pool. Unfortunately, all it takes is one player who is not respectful of this quiet time and the entire van or car full of team mates will have a difficult time finding his/her inner peace. I feel that this is a critical time for preparing for success. If you are not doing this in your pre game preparation I would highly recommend adding it to your routine.
Plan on arriving at the pool approximately one hour prior to game time and once there keep yourself in the zone. Don’t let yourself get distracted by friends or even family. This is your time to prepare to give your best. A little more dry land (active stretching or core work) is great before you get in the water for the final game prep. You should plan on being in the water at least 45 minutes before game time. You pre game warm up should consist of 10-12 minutes swimming (including some sprints and legs), 10 – 12 minutes of passing and or ball work and then 10 – 12 minutes of shooting. These are just guideline. Some may find they like to do more swimming or more legs and less passing and shooting. Know what works for you and your body and then make it a part of your routine. Of course this time frame may need to be adjusted a little depending on when they pull you out of the pool for introductions. All of the big tournaments seem to pull the athletes out 20 minutes or so before the game time so make sure you work backwards and leave enough time to pre pare your body physically for your game.
I have outlined what I would call some general guidelines which I believe are good. You may find that you need a little more personal time or a little more active stretching or therapy. Nothing is set in stone although you do have to learn to work within the team parameters.
Also, learn to be a little flexible. Things happen and your schedule may occasional get thrown out of balance. Adapt and move forward, keeping your mind in a good place to be ready to succeed.
Finally, it is game time – do the simple things well, have fun and make your team mates better. As always feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding this months topic: [email protected].
See you at the pool.
Terry A Schroeder D.C.
USA Men’s National Team