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.
US National Men’s Team Coach
US Team Won the Silver Medal in the 2008 Olympics
Training in the Off Season
Perhaps the most important part of your training is the off season! Are you surprised? Let me explain why I believe that this is so true. One of my all time favorite coaches is Marv Dunphy. Marv is the men’s volleyball coach at Pepperdine where he has won numerous NCAA Championships. He was also our Olympic head coach in 1988 when our men’s team won the gold medal. Marv once came and talked to our water polo team and here is what he said to the team – everyday either you are getting better or you are getting worse. There is no in between. You are either training to become better or you are slacking off and getting worse. Talk about staying in the moment and the importance of each and every day!
The off season is that time between competitive seasons – perhaps between high school and club or vice a versa. It generally lasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-6 weeks. In my opinion, the off season ultimately defines the athlete. This is the time when self discipline really comes into play. Here is the question that you have to ask yourself. How do you train when no one is watching? Do you sit around and do nothing?
Let me make this perfectly clear. There is no way that any athlete should train with the same volume and intensity that you train during the regular season. Training full speed year round – will burn you out physically, emotionally and psychologically. You will “blow up” eventually if you do this. We all need a break to recover, refresh and regenerate. A good off season program should allow you to stay in condition (I will explain below) while keeping you fresh and “hungry” for the season to come. In a sense, it is like having a long period of active recovery. Meaning that you are staying active (not letting your body go to waste) while you recover from the season that you just played. You are not just sitting around doing nothing.
How do we find a balance in all of this? The trick is to do enough work to maintain 65- 75% of your peak condition level during the off season. This will make it so much easier to come back and get your body back in shape. If you totally let yourself go (and most of us have done this at one point or another in our life) then it is extremely difficult and painful to get back in shape. By maintaining that 65-75% condition level you will also decrease your risk of injury as you work to get back in shape. On top of this you will also make a very positive impression on your coach if you come back in decent shape.
Another significant part of off season training should be to work on specific skills and balance.Every sport creates it’s own set of imbalances. There are certainly sports that are much worse than water polo as far as creating imbalances, however water polo does create some. For example, most players will use their strong arm/hand almost exclusively during the regular season. The off season is also a great time you work on your weak side – spend some time in the water using your weak arm/hand and develop skills that you really don’t have time to work on much during the regular season.
Fundamentals and technique should be focused on during the off season. Talk to coach that knows you well and most of them can tell you what weaknesses or bad habits you have developed during the season. Spend some time working on these habits to correct them and improve on your weaknesses while the intensity of the training is not as high. This lower intensity training should allow you to stay focused better and work on technique a bit more. A good example of this would be to work on your ball skills – maybe working on your fake or work on picking the ball up correctly from the water as you go from a swimming position to a shooting position. Work on passing with a friend and concentrating on your body positioning and balance in the water. I also like “elastic band” work for the shoulders during the off season. It is not too taxing but can keep your arm strong and healthy during this time. I think you get the idea.
Anyways keep the training fun and short. The intensity and volume should be 1/3 to 1/2 of your season. So if you were training for 2 plus hours during the regular season you might want to cut that to 45 min to 1 hour (3-4 days per week). Swimming creates its own postural imbalances (rounded shoulders and forward head) which can lead to shoulder problems, so cross training is important. I would suggest bike riding, playing basketball, ultimate frisbee or some other sport that you can enjoy while getting some “work” in. Here is thought to help you from “over training”. Try to finish the workouts feeling better than when you started. Your goal for the off season should be to come into the next season mentally refreshed and healthy.
The off season is totally in your control. You get to make the decisions of when to train, how long to train and what to do. Don’t waste this time. Make a plan that will help you to become better and feel refreshed and ready to go hard from day 1 in your season. The off season should be a balance between recovery and maintenance of your fitness.
You could argue that off season training is the most important phase of any sport-specific conditioning plan. Not only will it help the athlete to recover physically and psychologically, it can be used to address some of the physical imbalances that are inherent with playing any competitive sport.
So what’s it going to be? Are you going to get better or get worse during the off season?
I hope that you can find a balance with your off season training. As always please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments at [email protected].
See you at the pool.