Water Polo Training Basics
It is important to stay in top shape to do your best in water polo, so here are some water polo training basics. These basic training skills should be practiced all year long so that you are in tip top shape for your competition.
- Participate in competitive swimming. Water polo and competitive swimming complement each other and help the athlete stay in good shape year round. Competitive swimming helps to improve strength, mobility, quickness, and size which are important to be a top water polo player, along with speed and stamina. Water polo, on the other hand, is a great mental and physical conditioner for swimming competitively.
- Emphasis on conditioning. Mid-season the emphasis on conditioning changes from middle and distance-type swimming to sprint repeats. Stroke turnover becomes important and leg drills, eggbeater drills, dribbling and movement-oriented ball handling drills must be a part of the regimen for conditioning. Conditioning should pyramid and begin with overloads on the first day and taper to sprints by the fourth and fifth days.
- Quickness training must be incorporated for success. There is a difference between being fast and quick. Being quick for even two or three meters can make a difference in positioning advantage. In water polo, positioning is of the utmost importance. In mid- to late-season, high turnover stroke drills will help condition the athlete for quickness.
- Warm up drills are important. Stretching is important before entering the water and then stretch-out drills should be continued in the water. In most cases, individuals should do their own warm-ups but if they are not doing it consistently, team warm-ups may have to be implemented.
- Early Season Conditioning Drills. Each part of the season has its own drills that should be done to prepare for competition. Early drills are much like swimming practice and include the front and back crawl swimming and kicking. Eggbeater kicking should be done mostly in the vertical position, with and without a kick board, should be incorporated early in the season. Head-up and flutter-kick fly should be incorporated a few weeks later. If the player has a sore shoulder he should not do butterfly repeats but down a front crawl instead. This training should be done without weights in order to prevent joint damage.
- Mid-Season Conditioning Drills. As mid-season approaches the distance-type repetitions are cut. Short butterfly repeats, kick conditioning continues where flutter, eggbeater and jump start drills are emphasized. At this time, swimming-ball handling drills should be added, followed by push dribbling, and then walking the ball. The coach can also be creative and add other ball handling conditioning exercises to the routine, along with relay conditioning drills will and without the ball.
- Mid- to Late-Season Conditioning Drills. There are several drills that are necessary to condition the athlete to their peak performance. These drills are: high elbow, quick turnover; bursts of four with an explosive start; in and out quickness drill for five to ten sequences; 25-yard rapid turnover drill; maximum effort drill (go as fast as you can go for as long as you can); and follow the flag drill which features rapid changes of direction. The coach can get very creative in designing these drills.
Posted on: Mar. 02, 2011