Talller is More

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ephpolo
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Talller is More

Postby ephpolo » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:51 pm

Rereading Doru's article on height, I was struck not so much by the conclusion that taller teams tend to win--which is certainly supported by the data, with the exceptions that Doru notes.

But what struck me was that there seemed to be almost parity in height among the top 3--the largest difference between Gold medal winner and either of the other 2 teams in average height was 10 cm, but that was the year Spain won. Other than that, the biggest deltas were in 1988 at 8 cm. For most years, the delta was 6 cm or smaller.

The "tiny US players vs hulking Eastern Europeans" does not seem to have a lot of support.

On the other hand, since 2000 there has been only one player shorter than 180 cm, while they were fairly common from 1984-1996. It does seem like height has become more important in the game, and the US has followed this trend.

ramman
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Re: Talller is More

Postby ramman » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:41 pm

The height advantage is so apparent that we shouldn't even play the game. We should just have the two teams line up and measure height. The taller team gets the win. We could even have ODP go to the 12 and under club teams and measure the parents of the kids, predict who will be short and tell them to quit polo and find another sport. We could Have Junior Olympics be a measuring contest. Have the thousands of polo players line up and give the first place award to the tallest team and the mvp to the tallest player on that team. The data is so overwhelming about the height advantage, we might as well. No wonder Polo is in danger.

oldtimer
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Re: Talller is More

Postby oldtimer » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:48 pm

OK, so this is third hand info..

I was speaking with the parent of a Cal Berkeley swimmer (who has a brother that plays polo in HS). Since her son is likely to not exceed 6' tall, she was expressing concern about him being able to play in college to Kirk Everist (again, I am only relaying what was said to me, so I cannot vouch for the veracity of this statement). She said that he told her they have 'a lot' of players under 6' tall, and that this isn't really the primary factor for selecting players. When I went to their roster for last year, I was actually surprised to see that half of the men's team is 6' and under, and that there isn't a single player listed over 6'4". Their only losses in 2014 were to Stanford, UCLA, USC and LB State (with a win against all of them except UCLA). She also made comments about how many players she has seen (collegiate and international) who are not as tall as the roster states.

My only point being that once you get to the very highest level, it may be that the talent, drive and skill levels of all candidates are so close that height becomes 'the edge' that is the difference between the 1st/2nd/3rd place teams vs. the rest (under current rules) - but at lower levels, the talent/skill/motivation is more diluted such that height is much less of a factor.

Apghrenegade
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Re: Talller is More

Postby Apghrenegade » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:48 pm

The "tiny US players vs hulking Eastern Europeans" does not seem to have a lot of support.

@ephpolo and @oldtimer;

On multiple occasions on this site I have tried to counter with facts and active, real time playing experience/insight what effectively looks like a campaign from Dante, Doc, and a few others to misrepresent the roles of pure height and water polo wrestling physicality in the current game vs the game 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Just a couple of months ago I provided Dante with a detailed, long list of top internationals at 6 feet and under from various countries. It's nice to get some support here.

Just last night i was defending at two meter for roughly half of a scrimmage a 6 foot 6 inch Hungarian who very recently was playing professionally in Europe. My method is based on what I see the Italians do in two meter defense at the national team level...and it is effective for size mismatch situations especially if leg strength still matches well, and body position/speed are used to maximum effect.

I would like to see the whining campaign about size ism and 'too much physical wrestling' come to an end. It influences referees to whistle high level play towards wrestling reduction missions that create a disadvantage when USA players step up to top level international games. It also unnecessarily discourages a variety of very talented players who happen to be around 6 feet or less

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Re: Talller is More

Postby oldtimer » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:57 am

Perhaps I misunderstand what Doc and Dante are arguing - but my impression is that the main complaint is about holding on the perimeter such that drives are essentially eliminated - and in fact sometimes a player is called for an offensive because he still tries to drive while being held. Apparently, referees consider this to be 'pulling by'. I tried to argue with one current college player that we used to just spin when someone tried to hold us and he stated that referees call this an offensive as well. Huh?

The problem, as I see it, is that wrestling, rather than driving, is boring to play and watch... except, perhaps, for the guys who just like to scrap instead of actually using speed and agility.

I was at the ODP championships. It was amazing how many big, slow centers were playing - and how few drives there were from most teams. It was pretty boring water polo. Both of my boys went to the training camps, and both said they hated the experience - and do not wish to participate again. One called it "The most boring water polo I've ever played".

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Re: Talller is More

Postby Doru Roll » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:04 am

Apghrenegade wrote:The "tiny US players vs hulking Eastern Europeans" does not seem to have a lot of support.

@ephpolo and @oldtimer;

On multiple occasions on this site I have tried to counter with facts and active, real time playing experience/insight what effectively looks like a campaign from Dante, Doc, and a few others to misrepresent the roles of pure height and water polo wrestling physicality in the current game vs the game 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Just a couple of months ago I provided Dante with a detailed, long list of top internationals at 6 feet and under from various countries. It's nice to get some support here.

Just last night i was defending at two meter for roughly half of a scrimmage a 6 foot 6 inch Hungarian who very recently was playing professionally in Europe. My method is based on what I see the Italians do in two meter defense at the national team level...and it is effective for size mismatch situations especially if leg strength still matches well, and body position/speed are used to maximum effect.

I would like to see the whining campaign about size ism and 'too much physical wrestling' come to an end. It influences referees to whistle high level play towards wrestling reduction missions that create a disadvantage when USA players step up to top level international games. It also unnecessarily discourages a variety of very talented players who happen to be around 6 feet or less

I think you misunderstood what Dante, Doc and a few others are saying. No matter, I'm still glad that you were able to overcome the perceived height advantage and hold your own against a high-level Hungarian player half you age and several inches taller by using the "Italian method". Good job Rocky Balboa. Wait, that's Philadelphia...

Personally I don't know any high-level referees on a mission to reduce the wrestling, to the contrary: most still ignore it, along with the holding on the perimeter, so perhaps your fears are a little misguided. But unfortunately I do know plenty of coaches at all levels who would pick gorillas over smaller players, even though the smaller players show more ability. That really is what Dante, Doc and a few others actually are talking about. Interesting that while they constantly speak out against the static game with the big center and no driving, you whine about them speaking out. Doesn't the state of water polo in this country and elsewhere trouble you? In your 37 years of playing experience practically everywhere (impressive resume BTW), surely you have seen many exciting styles of play, no? And you surely must have also seen the way water polo devolved over the last 20+ years. If so, why do you slam Dante, Doc and a few others whose only intent is to improve the game? Sit down, take the time to think up new strategies and styles of play, write them up and let's have a productive discussion.

BTW, up until about 1972 it was the "hulking Americans" against the "tiny Eastern Europeans". Then it changed. I still remember when, as part of the screening for the junior development team, we were periodically measured for height, reach, grip strength, lung capacity, etc. The coach asked my parents to let them put me on anabolics. My parents refused. I didn't make the team.
Last edited by Doru Roll on Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Talller is More

Postby Doru Roll » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:07 am

Apghrenegade wrote:The "tiny US players vs hulking Eastern Europeans" does not seem to have a lot of support.

@ephpolo and @oldtimer;

On multiple occasions on this site I have tried to counter with facts and active, real time playing experience/insight what effectively looks like a campaign from Dante, Doc, and a few others to misrepresent the roles of pure height and water polo wrestling physicality in the current game vs the game 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Just a couple of months ago I provided Dante with a detailed, long list of top internationals at 6 feet and under from various countries. It's nice to get some support here.

Just last night i was defending at two meter for roughly half of a scrimmage a 6 foot 6 inch Hungarian who very recently was playing professionally in Europe. My method is based on what I see the Italians do in two meter defense at the national team level...and it is effective for size mismatch situations especially if leg strength still matches well, and body position/speed are used to maximum effect.

I would like to see the whining campaign about size ism and 'too much physical wrestling' come to an end. It influences referees to whistle high level play towards wrestling reduction missions that create a disadvantage when USA players step up to top level international games. It also unnecessarily discourages a variety of very talented players who happen to be around 6 feet or less

I think you misunderstood what Dante, Doc and a few others are saying. No matter, I'm still glad that you were able to overcome the perceived height disadvantage and hold your own against a high-level Hungarian player half you age and several inches taller by using the "Italian method". Good job Rocky Balboa...

Personally I don't know any high-level referees on a mission to reduce the wrestling, to the contrary: most still ignore it, along with the holding on the perimeter. But unfortunately I do know plenty of coaches at all levels who would pick gorillas over smaller players, even though the smaller players show more ability. That really is what Dante, Doc and a few others actually are talking about. Interesting that while they constantly speak out against the static game with the big center and no driving, you whine about them speaking out. Doesn't the state of water polo in this country and elsewhere trouble you? In your 37 years of playing experience practically everywhere (impressive resume BTW), surely you have seen many exciting styles of play, no? And you surely must have also seen the way water polo devolved over the last 20+ years. If so, why do you slam Dante, Doc and a few others whose only intent is to improve the game? Sit down, take the time to think up new strategies and styles of play, write them up and let's have a productive discussion.

BTW, up until about 1972 it was the "hulking Americans" against the "tiny Eastern Europeans". Then it changed. I still remember when, as part of the screening for the junior development team, we were periodically measured for height, reach, grip strength, lung capacity, etc. The coach asked my parents to let them put me on anabolics. My parents refused. I didn't make the team.

Apghrenegade
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Re: Talller is More

Postby Apghrenegade » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:19 am

Well, I have heard the counter attack is dead, but watched in person in London a Serbian team take apart the USA on counter attack during the first and second quarter.

I have heard the movement game is dead, but i watch the top Hungarian national team brother duo (Vargas) score goal after goal from driving movement.

Holding on the perimeter, hand wrestling at two meters, grabbing, push offs...it's always been a central part of the game I have been playing for 40 years. It's not really changed at all. And it is the combination of speed, strength, and ball handling skill that top coaches like Everist are really looking for in players they are recruiting. Height is an arbitrary factor for attackers. Height is useful in goalies for corner coverage as long as agility and reaction time are exceptional. Height is helpful for some post play on man up and man down. Potentially helpful in vertical shooting, but legs strength and use, as well as hand eye coordination and shooting/faking technique, are always more important than pure size for success in the vertical game.

I doubt that water polo is 'in trouble'. More like...certain critics want to create a perception of 'great trouble' as a motive for making the changes they advocate. I am OK with the advocacy...but I prefer the direct and honest approach. It is not necessary to misrepresent what is going on in today's game in order to advocate for change.

ramman
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Re: Talller is More

Postby ramman » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:36 am

Many of us coaches know players who have been "over looked" because they are downright short. I have conversations with coaches advocating for great players I know, some who happen to be short. I have been told more times than I can remember that they won't even consider these players because they are short. Just recently I called a coach for player who is almost a groupie of Tony Azevedo and Manuel Estiarte. He studies the way those two play. He has moves he calls his, "Tony moves or Manuel shots" . He isn't getting any serious looks from the people I've talked to even though he has been a starter on a club team that went undefeated most of last year. The guy can play! I have played at top levels and I am a bigger player, but when I became a coach and see kids like this who put their heart and soul into polo, who really can play with the biggest and the best and then be ignored simply due to their size, it has opened my eyes to how this mentality is hurting our sport.

oldtimer
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Re: Talller is More

Postby oldtimer » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:13 am

Apghrenegade wrote:Holding on the perimeter, hand wrestling at two meters, grabbing, push offs...it's always been a central part of the game I have been playing for 40 years. It's not really changed at all.


I can only say that we seem to remember things differently. The only advantage (or disadvantage) I can claim is that I left the game 40 years ago, and then returned to it 7 years ago. I was stunned at how differently the game is, and those I played with would laugh at my 'old school' style, telling me that it won't work anymore. I was a driver, and a center defender, in college. My outside shooting was relatively weak, but I was quick, had great hands and great legs. I have had conversations with a player who is my age, and who played for Dante (and was an All-American). He doesn't believe he could play in "Today's game", and I would have trouble at just 6 foot tall.

So, something has changed - either is is the collective memory of those who played/coached 40 years ago, or the game has changed. Maybe you have been blessed with an exceptional memory while the rest of us suffer from some form of dementia. Too bad we don't have many videos of that time to help resolve the debate. But as someone who played 40 years ago, stopped, and then started playing again recently I can only say that the style everyone seems to be playing now is much more boring to play and watch than I remember. And it seems to allow much more grabbing, holding and wrestling than I remember - with a *lot* fewer drives (counters are certainly utilized a lot, which is always stated to me as the reason drives are not utilized).

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Re: Talller is More

Postby Doru Roll » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:36 pm

Apghrenegade wrote:... I doubt that water polo is 'in trouble'. More like...certain critics want to create a perception of 'great trouble' as a motive for making the changes they advocate. I am OK with the advocacy...but I prefer the direct and honest approach. It is not necessary to misrepresent what is going on in today's game in order to advocate for change.

Let me be both honest and direct: water polo is in trouble as an Olympic sport. This is not a new issue; it's been going on for some time. If not for Cornel Marculescu, the FINA Executive Director, it probably would have been dropped already. Maybe the news hasn't reached the Orange County Mutual Adulation Club yet, but the rest of the world is painfully aware of it.

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2plyBathingSuit
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Re: Talller is More

Postby 2plyBathingSuit » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:19 pm

^^Ok then…it is resolved. Everybody hang-up their Speedo's...because the rest of the world is done with water polo.*

*except you Orange County

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Re: Talller is More

Postby Doc » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:02 am

2plyBathingSuit,

If there is no water polo in the rest of the world then there will be no water polo in the Olympics. If there is no water polo in the Olympics then there will be no water polo in the NCAA. If there is no water polo in the NCAA then there will be no water polo in ORANGE COUNTY.

Doc

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2plyBathingSuit
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Re: Talller is More

Postby 2plyBathingSuit » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:40 am

Right. So, changing the rules to "accommodate smaller statures"…will make the game more enjoyable to watch for those who don't play…thus, saving it from oblivion. Ok, got it.

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Re: Talller is More

Postby ramman » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:54 am

Well, think of it this way. The rules were changed to "accommodate tall stature" and led us to this stagnant "vertical game" we have now. Those changes are responsible for less fans, the lack of spectators who come and watch during the Olympics, demolition of established clubs in Europe. So instead of thinking about changing the game for "short statured people" think of it as changing the game back to where it was when people wanted to watch it.

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