Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

USA Water Polo's Mens National Teams
ephpolo
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby ephpolo » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:15 pm

There are a number of private "ski academies" in the East. Here in Maine we have Carrabassett Valley Academy, which kicks out a few Olympic alpine skiers and snowboarders most every cycle. Vermont has Burke Mountain Academy, with a similar reputation. I'm sure the Rockies and Sierras have their own local versions.

I went to college with a Burke alumnus, who was one of the better collegiate skiers in Division 1. At one point I said something like, "You must have been a superstar in high school," and she said, "No, the superstars are on the national team and skiing the World Cup circuit. They don't ski in college."

On the other hand, it seems a lot of superstar track and field athletes and swimmers get developed through college programs.

I don't think there is any one model that works.

mbaywaterpolo
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:43 pm

Maybe our issue isn't just height but also that we aren't great shooters.

http://www.waterpoloworld.com/News/tabi ... oters.aspx

Cocopolo
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Cocopolo » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:14 am

Doru Roll wrote:Because in this country water polo is dysfunctional and disjointed, both geographically and temporally. Growing the grass roots will have no impact on the performance of the NMT.


You miss my point. Why should so much emphasis be placed on the success of the NMT? Grow the sport at a grass roots level. Yes, get lots of kids having fun playing a great game and let the chips fall where they may for the national team. What's the worst that could happen? A bunch of kids get some exercise and learn to play a great team sport. Instead what we have is something that seems to border on obsession with the worrying about the international success of less than 1/10 of 1% of the participants in this particular sport. Grow the grass roots. Grow the well over 99% of the sport. :D

Doru Roll
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Doru Roll » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:33 am

Cocopolo wrote:
Doru Roll wrote:Because in this country water polo is dysfunctional and disjointed, both geographically and temporally. Growing the grass roots will have no impact on the performance of the NMT.


You miss my point. Why should so much emphasis be placed on the success of the NMT? Grow the sport at a grass roots level. Yes, get lots of kids having fun playing a great game and let the chips fall where they may for the national team. What's the worst that could happen? A bunch of kids get some exercise and learn to play a great team sport. Instead what we have is something that seems to border on obsession with the worrying about the international success of less than 1/10 of 1% of the participants in this particular sport. Grow the grass roots. Grow the well over 99% of the sport. :D
It is you who misses the point Cocopolo. Evidently you are very new at this. Read the posts on this board and you will find that you're at least the 100th poster who comes along and says "grow the grass-roots level". Maybe the 1000th.

Read on and you will also learn why it hasn't grown, cannot grow and will not grow in the foreseeable future. The frustration you sense is real except it has noting to do with the success of the NMT. What it has to do with is the fact that nothing really ever changes with water polo in the US.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Cocopolo » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:00 pm

Doru Roll wrote:
Read on and you will also learn why it hasn't grown, cannot grow and will not grow in the foreseeable future.


Yep, I'm relatively new to this. I am not part of the negative echo chamber.

So, let me give you some anecdotal evidence. I watched over the last fifteen years as one guy with an idea build a successful water polo community in a town with a very small aquatic culture. He started a club, he coached the high school team and he built a cadre of water polo leaders. I watched some talented athletes choose water polo over football in a town where home football games draw a couple thousand fans every game. Last year his team broke through and won a high school section championship coached by one of his former players. Certainly he got little or no help from USA water polo. None of his players made a national team. I dont think any of them have even played at the collegiate level. So, I guess thats why he isnt on your radar. My point yet again, stop hand wringing and using the international success of the mens national team as your measuring stick for US water polo. Now, why don't you tell me again how water polo can't be built at the grassroots level?

Doru Roll
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Doru Roll » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:23 pm

Cocopolo wrote:... So, let me give you some anecdotal evidence. I watched over the last fifteen years as one guy with an idea build a successful water polo community in a town with a very small aquatic culture. He started a club, he coached the high school team and he built a cadre of water polo leaders. I watched some talented athletes choose water polo over football in a town where home football games draw a couple thousand fans every game. Last year his team broke through and won a high school section championship coached by one of his former players. Certainly he got little or no help from USA water polo. None of his players made a national team. I dont think any of them have even played at the collegiate level. So, I guess thats why he isnt on your radar. My point yet again, stop hand wringing and using the international success of the mens national team as your measuring stick for US water polo. Now, why don't you tell me again how water polo can't be built at the grassroots level?
You already answered your own question.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Cocopolo » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:24 am

Okay,
Whatever that means.

mbaywaterpolo
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:15 pm

Cocopolo - you said, "None of his players made a national team. I dont think any of them have even played at the collegiate level." I believe this is the part Doru is referring to. Like it or not, without collegiate water polo, the sport in this country would die.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Cocopolo » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:35 pm

mbaywaterpolo wrote:Like it or not, without collegiate water polo, the sport in this country would die.


Please define "die"

WP$$Survivor
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby WP$$Survivor » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:04 pm

Without a collegiate program it would be impossible for any organized sport to survive at a high school or club level. Without the ability to continue playing a sport beyond high school, you will lose your best athletes. A serious and dedicated athlete wants to continue playing their sport after high school. Athletics allows the student athlete more choices of top schools. They still need the prerequisite grades and test scores to gain admittance but their sport gives them a reasonable advantage with admittance. Therefore any sport that doesn't have a strong collegiate presence will "die" over time. Water polo, especially men's water polo, has only 50 D:1,2,3 programs. It is in danger of collapse if that number shrinks.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Cocopolo » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:31 pm

WP$$Survivor wrote:Without a collegiate program it would be impossible for any organized sport to survive at a high school or club level. Without the ability to continue playing a sport beyond high school, you will lose your best athletes. A serious and dedicated athlete wants to continue playing their sport after high school. Athletics allows the student athlete more choices of top schools. They still need the prerequisite grades and test scores to gain admittance but their sport gives them a reasonable advantage with admittance. Therefore any sport that doesn't have a strong collegiate presence will "die" over time. Water polo, especially men's water polo, has only 50 D:1,2,3 programs. It is in danger of collapse if that number shrinks.


So sports are only a means to an end? Choose your sport with an eye on college. Forget about the team Johnny, its all about getting into the right college. So club hop all you want. Maybe put one over on the CIF so that you can play for a more high profile high school team. Remember our motto "whats in it for me?". Those other kids and teams? Their only value is as cannon fodder so the truly elite can shine. Sports are primarily about fun and you do both the elite and the great masses of players a disservice when you forget this. You want to attract the best athletes? Build a sport that everyone plays. Take baseball in the Dominican. Why so many great players from the Dominican? Because nearly everyone plays baseball at some point and many of the best athletes end up sticking with the sport. Why so many great water polo players from Orange County? Because a much higher percentage of athletes in the area get exposed to the game at a young age. Hmmm, it sounds like they have some sort of grass roots thing going on.

Many people on this site seem to want to blame USA water polo for all the real and imagined woes of the sport, but the real culprit is the arrogant, cynical attitude reflected by the last several posts. 10 year olds don't play sports because they want to play in college. They play sports because they are fun. You all are right. Water polo is in trouble because you claim you want to grow the sport but don't really care about anything but the big four and the national team.
Ironically, the extreme focus on the success of the national team is the cause of the decline of their fortunes. Less grass roots opportunities, less players filling the funnel at the top, less truly elite players coming out the bottom.

mbaywaterpolo
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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby mbaywaterpolo » Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:31 pm

Cocopolo - after reading many of your posts in the NCS thread I've never been sure if you were an extremely clever forum troll or simply misunderstood. It appears to me now that you are simply misunderstanding what everybody else is trying to tell you. What you perceive as "arrogant, cynical" is simply realism. Growing the grassroots, at least in California, is not a high priority for USAWP nor should it be. If you want to talk about grassroots in other parts of the country that dont even have water polo, that is different.

"Ironically, the extreme focus on the success of the national team is the cause of the decline of their fortunes. Less grass roots opportunities, less players filling the funnel at the top, less truly elite players coming out the bottom."

This part is just flat out wrong. As another poster said, we already have more players by far than European teams do. The problem is, currently we have QUANTITY but not QUALITY. That is why everybody here is so obsessed with finding a way to develop better players. We need better players to build successful college and international teams so water polo can realistically support itself.

"Build a sport that everyone plays."

You forget what country we are in. This is America. We dont HAVE a sport that everybody plays and we never will.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby oldtimer » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:01 pm

Let's see what discussion this generates...

I personally see NCAA as a detriment to this sport, and sports in general here in the US.

As we have seen with the recent revelations from North Carolina, many gifted athletes are simply not college material - but since the road to the pros is pretty much through NCAA, they *must* go if not drafted out of high school. Baseball at least has minor leagues that give you the chance to break into 'the show' without going to college - but what about other sports? If an athlete can play but can't read in a money sport (NCAA revenue generator), they get in. If an athlete can play but can't read in a non-money sport, forget it. It seems to me that NCAA has created a system that is broken - it isn't about education, it is about money. So - you're a gifted athlete but not a great student... do you pick a money sport or a non-money sport? This is a vicious cycle - non-money sports shrink, money sports expand. Then, to make matters worse, stories about NCAA athletes that have no rights to their own names, while the NCAA sells merchandise to make millions are pretty common, with the justification that these students get scholarships in return - so NCAA puts most of its marketing power into the money sports. Vicious cycle.

Why do you think water polo has the highest graduation rate of any collegiate sport? Because water polo players are just naturally really smart, or because the only ones who play in college are those who are most likely to graduate anyway? Who goes to play water polo in college because of the post-graduation opportunities it provides? I would guess that most - if not all - collegiate water polo players would be attending college even if they didn't play a sport, unlike many that play in money sports. Great, so now we are training only the athletes that can make more money in business than in sports... so our national team once again doesn't get the best athletes, but those who either simply love the sport or happen to be in a position to continue playing.

How do you get past the NCAA bottleneck in water polo? How do you attract top athletes to the sport who might not be college material? Europe does it. Everyone keeps looking to HS and college here to solve the problem, because "That's the way we've always done it". But as we can see, this isn't working for water polo even if it works for the money sports. At the same time, the club system here is looked down upon as being somehow inferior to HS/collegiate athlete development. HS sports is supposed to be 'just for fun', but for those in the money sports it is for more than this - hence Cocopolo's anger. Why should we be looking for our educational institutions to be developing our athletes?

So, in this sense, I am in agreement with Cocopolo - if you want to grow the sport here, you have to focus on age group club development. Build at the grass roots. Then provide playing opportunities for those who don't attend college - through clubs. 22U brackets in tournaments and Master's play is a start. And so-called 'super clubs' rather than HS run or collegiate run clubs. Start with the kids, give them something to look forward to even if they don't go to college. If you build it, they will come. Those who would benefit from college will go regardless of whether they play sports or not, and they can still play club. I have trouble understanding the resistance to this concept, personally.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Missy » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:38 pm

This part is just flat out wrong. As another poster said, we already have more players by far than European teams do. The problem is, currently we have QUANTITY but not QUALITY. That is why everybody here is so obsessed with finding a way to develop better players. We need better players to build successful college and international teams so water polo can realistically support itself.


To overcome this, we need to start our players much earlier. Right now, in many areas, we have a seasonal mindset, a lack of concentration of the sport and a late starting age. In my area, I would say that 90% of our high school players have the idea that they play water polo in the fall, basketball in the winter, swim in the spring and vacation all summer (or whatever). The clubs are so far apart that it is difficult to enter regular competition. The most successful teams have a high school coach that either coaches their club or collaborates with the club. Our local high school could never compete with those teams because the coach only cares about this season, his players started older and they don't play year round.

It seems as though, at the club level, the younger kids are often not served the way they need to be in order to grow the sport. Either they have no program or an inadequately staffed program. It is very important to have the right coach for 6th - 8th graders. At that age, we usually have the parent commitment and it is a great age for kids to learn our sport and to learn the discipline to practice well. It is much harder to develop quality players if you start at age 14 or 15. Some countries have excellent guidance from their NGB equivalent. Canada is doing fantastic things to bring water polo into the community: http://www.waterpolo.ca/ilwpinfo.aspx Although I've been seeing more Splashball, it would be good to have more direction as far as bringing better training and support to the coaches. Canada will send someone out to teach you how to create and run an I Love Water Polo program (their Splashball, Flippaball equivalent). Is that amazing? I would love to see USAWP provide even 25% of the coaching support that we get from the articles and MB on WPP.

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Re: Roster for Volvo Cup in Hungary

Postby Cocopolo » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:08 pm

I'm not a troll. I understand perfectly what you are saying. You don't understand what I'm saying. I don't care if the the US ever wins another international water polo tournament. I do care that kids find fulfillment and enjoyment in sports like I have. I care that they learn the value of sportsmanship, teamwork, hard work and loyalty. I care that they learn the value in working hard towards a goal both individually and as part of a team. If some of these kids should go on to glory in college and beyond, that's cool, but it is secondary. Honestly, I feel sorry for the many people on this board who have lost sight of the real purpose of sport and seem willing to neglect the vast majority of the participants in water polo in order to chase international success for the national teams. By the way, there is still plenty of opportunity for water polo to grow, even in California.

I have no delusions that water polo is going to become the national sport, my point about "everyone" was that certain sports, in certain areas, enjoy very high levels of popularity leading many more kids to at the very least try those sports.

Missy, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I would never encourage a pre-high school kid to give up playing multiple sports to focus on only one. That is a recipe for burnout. God forbid the kid do things for enjoyment. How dare these families put family vacation time over their children's athletic success! Where the hell are these people's priorities?

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