To start this off, I wanted to create some food for thought. If you could reduce your risk for injury and possibly avoid it all together, would you?
As a college player, I saw that my strength training routine was just like all my other teammates. The goalies, the centers, the defenders, and the attackers all had the exact same strength training program. Though this was ok as I competed, I have found that my strength and health has significantly changed for the better as my knowledge about strength training has increased.
So here are some questions that I feel as a coach, player, or strength coach we should ask ourselves:
Yes, there are Water Polo Specific problems that must be addressed. There are physical changes that occur from the movements that we perform while competing, which could be seen as performance related fitness. These physical changes can sometimes cause muscular imbalances that must be addressed for overall physical health. By creating a balanced overall athlete, a better athlete will result.
Yes because we all have different performance goals. An attacker does not want to wrestle with his defender; he wants to move quickly by or around him. A center forward is not concerned with winning the sprint at the beginning of the quarter; he wants to have the power to separate from the center back. But, specialization in the weight room shouldn’t happen until late in the athlete’s career just as in sport.
What can be concluded is that, there is a need for separate performance training for each position at our highest levels of competition, but there is still an overall need to create a balanced athlete from a young age.
So what changes can be made?
If we use other professional sports as a model you can see some very obvious differences between what we do and what they do.
Basketball, Baseball, Football:
· Yearly Combine (for sport performance testing)
· Performance Testing Standards
· Well trained and established Strength Coaches
· Numerous Strength Training Books & Literature
American Water Polo:
· Bridge Athletic
· Water Polo Planet: Mike Reid
American Water Polo as a whole is severely behind in the realm of Strength and Conditioning and we are in dire need to catch up. The national teams and top ranked universities have well trained strength coaches but it shouldn’t start there.
Water Polo Planet has been the first and only resource that I have known of for strength and conditioning that is specific to water polo thanks to the work of Mike Reid and the editors at WPP. If you look up these other sports you will find endless companies for Strength and Conditioning specializing in other sports. Bridge Athletic is the next step but still has not generated enough interest in strength and conditioning. What can be done in the short term is the adoption of strength training in high schools, increasing awareness for the need of S&C, and increasing the availability of sport specific material.
B.A., CSCS, USAW-L, FMS-LVL 1