We started our off season with game play, to keep activity high and competitive fires burning. For the men this was scrimmages and the women it was a 3 team House League. The way we utilized the pool on shared Thursday night created a 3 lane drill space, by the bulkhead, and a 5 lane game area under dive boards, both 25m long.
The men have a decent size area to keep fit but not exhausted when playing 7v7. In the picture above you can see a multi-coloured streak in the centre of the picture, that’s a 50km/hr rebound from the save Trevor just made. We alternate time in the game area with 15-20 minute gender specific games. The coaches noticed some negative patterns emerging in men’s games this week, primarily based on mixed skill levels. To address this we are now shifting focus to 1 night of equally split pool to better use the drill space.
That change works well for the women as I am seeing some outstanding mentoring with fall varsity players and winter roster additions. The addition of Evie to the women’s coaching now means we have a good athlete to coach ratio to drive drills over 90 minutes with a practice dedicated to that.
We have a 6v6 format for women so when they play games there is lots of space to create open players. Feeding these situations with quick reads, and immediate passes, needs improvement so a weekly drill night will fix that quickly. I’m hoping to introduce 7v7 play, with a shot clock, to women by March. This will only be possible when open space is fully understood as more people will make it harder to find.
This busy practice structure makes the ARC, with its 8 water polo goals, look like a genuine water polo facility. That impresses high school prospects when they visit campus and we have been making sure that happens quite a bit this season. One thing for sure, if the teams improve their standings next season, with their new recruits, it will be largely influenced by the work of veterans in this off-season.
PS these are sketchy cell phone images, not the high res beauties we are used to from Grant Crowe.