Thursday, September 08, 2005

Polo anyone? I hope so. Play begins this weekend at CV.

Dripping with desire -- I'm ready to re-enter the game.

In the early 1990s, I published what is thought to be the best book on water polo, authored by then four time and now five time Olympic Coach, Monte Nitzkowski.

Around the same year, I started some water polo activities at Plum High School. We played there twice a week with adults and high schoolers in a co-ed practice. We did drills and wash-scoring mini-games.

When I coached the Foxes, two of the seniors did "senior projects" with water polo. We even had a joint practice with another high school team to play polo. And, our Firday AM workouts were designed to not include lane lines. We often worked on water polo skills as a change of pace in our overall conditioning sessions.

When we went to China in May and June, 2005, I got to play twice a week with the men's squad against a college women's team. The Physical Education College was starting a water polo team for the women and they needed competition. I was happy to participate.

This weekend a new water polo program is starting in Pittsburgh, at Charties Valley High School. It is open to kids from throughout the area.

The Pittsburgh Water Polo LeagueAction and sign-ups are to start this weekend. The league presents the youth of the area an opportunity to join a water polo team and compete against other teams for the league championship. It is more like an "in-house league" as all the players come from the same location and no travel is involved. It is a great chance to learn the sport and play games against your friends.

This league is open to any boy or girl in 9th to 12th grade.

We need to have many additional water polo programs in this region. It is a great game and keeps many more kids in their respective aquatic programs.

In California, there has been a recent (last 8 years or so) trend to build mega water polo programs for kids of all ages. Some of the teams there now have a couple thousand participants.

I think a good program in the area could include adults as well. And, of course, it is a co-ed activity.

Best of luck to the participants and leaders at the CV program. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to attend, even as a spectator, one weekend in the future. I would have like to be more involved on a day-to-day basis, but our travels this fall prevent me from attending too many of the sessions.

The guys were larger, older and stronger -- but the water makes everyone much more equal.

Photo flashback: More water polo photos from June 1, 2005, while in China.

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