Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Season Winds Down

The current club season in Canada is now winding down and plans are in place for summer camps and National Teams. I will have some down time before coming back with a vengeance in the fall, full of revised programming plans for all ages.

This summer we launch a new initiative in cooperation with the University of Manitoba where we take our successful summer camp model and help deliver it to a wider audience through a major institution. This may help us establish the UofM pool as a stand alone satellite program for our 12&U and 14&U teams in years to come. That is the goal, develop interest in camps at a young age, carry it through to a winter age group "foundations" program, stream it to school leagues (casual) or Bushido teams (competitive) and then back to the UofM as students and potential Mini-U instructors.

That goes hand in hand with a new Coach Mentorship Program I am developing to help bring a rural Manitoba program into the water polo community. That follows on our initiative this past season to hold games outside Winnipeg by hosting Saskatchewan teams in Brandon. That circuit will repeat this fall, maybe more than once, and by the following year we expect to add a rural Manitoba club to mirror the rural Saskatchewan teams.

Ideally these growth plans would be coordinated through the provincial association but that is not possible in Manitoba right now. There is a polarization of the provincial group that has it focussed on the needs of a single club, helping them understand the sport rules, policy and structure, finding them pool time, arranging teams for them to play with in other provinces, hosting events for them to play in etc. So, even when it seems nothing constructive is happening that is not the case. There is lots going on behind the scenes.

We are also building a new, vibrant, generation of coaches within our club. Next year we will introduce 4 or 5 new coaches who all bring different qualities that are going to motivate players in key ways. Some of these coaches are still players and will be mentored the way Breda was the past few seasons. Shae is already excited to give some very specific hands-on guidance to up and coming Centre forwards and Carson and Sandra are both ready to share knowledge and experience with young goalies. They will help bring new perspective to the coaching ranks and Heather and I will be pushing them hard to get as much out of them as we can.

For those that have wondered about what is happening with our National Team athletes I can give you a partial update. Serena Bredin has been named to the FISU games team and is training in Montreal as they prepare for the summer event in Serbia. Breda and Shae are both in Montreal with the Jr National Team preparing to help Canada make a serious challenge for a podium finish at the World Junior Championships in Siberia. Brendan and Carson Domoney are both still waiting to hear if they are selected to play with the Jr National Men's Team this summer. Brendan is also in Calgary training for a spot on the Men's FISU games team so he has opportunities on 2 squads that he is waiting to hear about. Carson is also a leading contender for the 16&U Boys team as a goalie.

We don't know when decisions are made for those boys teams. We do know that both the Domoneys will be playing in California with the SET club in major events if there are not solid National Team options presented to them here.

There is lots of positive stuff going on. Sorry if the recent Blogs were infrequent and sometimes dealing with negative issues that kept being thrown at us on the pool deck or in the board room. There won't be too much negative going on the next few months so any Blog entry should be positive.