Thursday, November 26, 2009

Land Work for Water Polo

Tonight we had a busy practice deck at the pool since the city had allowed an NLS guard training session to go in our regular land exercise area. This meant I was able to catch a few quick photos of some of the work our strength coach, Satoru, is doing with the players. Usually I am dealing with water sessions and Satoru is in another area of the building with an opposite gender doing land work.

These pictures are a sample of what happens when an educated strength coach (Masters in Exercise Physiology/Phys Ed) studies the program of a professional strength coach with a water polo background (Mike Reid) and is given free reign by a professional water polo coach who is a colleague (me). Satoru is never put off course by limitations of his environment, he just modifies exercises. A good example are the "pulling" exercises he introduced today to cover for the lack of chin up bars at the public pool we use (ie 2 50m pools, 2 weight rooms but only 1 small chin bar available to sports to use).

Partner Towel Pull
resistance is adjusted based on strength of partner

This second picture is a pairing of sisters that would otherwise be an exercise done with similar size and strength of partners. However, when a young teen who plays in net is given the chance to work with her big sister who is a top NCAA goalie, home for US Thanksgiving, we can make exceptions to many normal training procedures. And, we happily do so.

Partner Towel Pull #2
another version that engages muscle groups in a little different way

This third picture is not really replacing any chin up exercises but adding variety to squats. We do lots of squat work with the players, and have done for years, but now it is stepped up as Satoru modifies and challenges in new ways. The buckets are filled with water, not much, just enough to add interest. This is variable and certainly much cheaper than spending $40.-80.00 each for half dozen different weights of kettle bells.

Doing a squat with a gallon or two of swishing water is also quite good for the abs as they fight to stabilize the weight as the players move. Learning to do this with a modifiable weight is interesting to the players and it is novel, so holds interest in a phase of training that keeps them thinking. Pretty much exactly what we look for when working with teens.

Squat with Weight
Plastic pails with various amounts of water

There are also some rope pulling exercises being developed that allow strength gains through a very broad range of motion. This is a really important sport specific type of strength work that could not be properly addressed in a weight room on a machine.

I hope to be posting more of a regular blog soon but have been very busy with club program activities and doing some book proof reading that I had not planned on but am quite enjoying.