Dejan Udovicic: Elite Player Development

Dejan Udovicic, the US senior mens national coach, gave this presentation on how to train elite athletes, contrasting the training here with that of Serbia, his home country. A few things stuck out to me:

  1. Swimming and water polo are separate sports.
  2. Over 30% of the practice in Serbia includes leg work.
  3. Our senior national team doesn’t know where the ball is; 11-year olds are taught this in Serbia.
  4. Serbians attack the ball and create plays; we wait for the ball and react.

A very insightful presentation, indeed. Especially for coaches.

Heather Moody: Center Forward

Here’s a presentation by Heather Moody, Olympic water polo player, on the positions of 2 meter offense and defense. I found it very helpful. I think both coaches and athletes will benefit from this. The audio isn’t the best at all times, but I think it’s worth the effort.

ODP

ODP has gotten a bad rap in recent years. And for good reason. It was overpriced. Training was mediocre. As many have said, “It’s a fundraiser for USA Water Polo.” I believe it was. And if you’re paying $700 for 4 practices, I’d be cynical too. But this was obvious to everyone. Including those in charge of it. The Olympic Development Program is intended to feed into the national Olympic team. The US Olympic team has not been faring too well lately, especially the mens, and a part of that is because the pipeline was broken. We weren’t training younger athletes in a way that would bolster that program.

Enter Dejan Udovicic. Good luck saying that, but he’s the former Serbian national coach who is now the US senior national team coach. And I like him. His specialty is developing young athletes to be world-class competitors. He’s done this at one of the best clubs in the world, Partizan in Serbia, and has led the Serbian team to a number of world championships. And he’s changing things around.

So, all that to say, ODP is different. It has been revamped, and I think it’s a viable option for elite athletes who want high level training and a chance to be noticed by national coaches. I don’t think it guarantees that you’ll get to the Olympics, and I don’t think that’s the sole reason for attending. Here’s why I think you should look into it:

  1. Great coaching. Each session will have a national coach in attendance as well as a zone coach that has proven success.
  2. Great competition. The athletes attending these camps are the best in their zones. This will give you a chance to compete against the best.
  3. You’ll get seen. You may be chosen for a team, you may not. Either way, you’ll be seen by the best and meet some great players and coaches.

So how does it work? Athletes are now allowed to go to any zone training camp. Camps are generally one day ordeals. $160 for the day. There are two for each zone, and it is recommended to attend both. The best coaches are in the Pacific SW and Pacific zones. However, I’d agree that going to the Central zone camp is not a bad idea, since all of them will have a national coach and a goalie coach in attendance. Training days are throughout the fall, so go to http://www.USAwaterpolo.org and check out the dates and locations.

I think it’s worth it.

Winter Session 2 Update

The early bird registration is extended to Saturday, January 18th. Register by Saturday at the $125 rate. After that, it will be $140. Payment is due by Tuesday, January 21.

Practice begins on Saturday, 9-12PM. There will be a parent meeting at the beginning for all athletes and parents.

Practice Times Updated:

14U: T/Th 6:30-8 PM

16U: T/Th 6:30-8:30 PM

19U: T/Th 6:30-8:30 PM

January 18 and February 8, 9-12 PM (All teams)

Winter Session 2 Registration

Session Dates:

  • Practices will begin January 18 and go through February 13.
  • Clovis Winter Tournament: January 25
  • Kap7 Tournament (Irvine, CA): February 15-16.

Teams: Age as of August 1, 2014.

  • 14U Boys (Coach: Elliot Cavale)
  • 16U Boys (Coach: Andrei Tsvirinko)
  • 19U Boys (Coach: Rick Nordell)

Practice Schedule: All practices will be held at Golden West High School.

  • 14U: 5-6:30 PM Tuesdays/Thursdays
  • 16U: 6:15-8 PM Tuesdays/Thursdays
  • 19U: 6:15-8 PM Tuesdays/Thursdays
  • All teams will also practice on two Saturdays, January 18 and February 8, 9AM-12 PM.

Cost: $125 if you register before January 15; $140 after January 15. Cost includes all practices and tournaments. Participation in tournaments is expected. Make checks out to Visalia United Water Polo. Payment is due by January 21.

USA Water Polo Membership: All athletes must be registered with USA Water Polo. Silver Athlete status is acceptable; club affiliation needs to be with Visalia United Water Polo. Please visit http://www.usawaterpolo.org for all the info.

January 18 will be a parent meeting. 9:00 AM at Golden West pool.

Registration: If this is your first time registering online, please fill out the entire form. If you’ve registered before, please fill out only the required fields.