Here are some ideas for your coaches and teams on competition day preparation and how to communicate with parents. Please pass this onto any coaches who may get some benefit at all levels. If you have any ideas or feedback, it would be great to hear from you.
1. Competition Day
Being well organised for games will increase the chances of your team
performing to their potential. Establishing a game-routine can give players
security and stability and help them feel more comfortable about being in a
- Arrive on time before the game in Team uniform, and have a pre-game
routine focussing on team processes and objectives.
- Give your Captain some warm-up responsibilities- this builds
- Advise who will be starting the game, and how subs will work.
- Your philosophy might be that you start with your best team, and sub
two or three at a time so you still maintain some strength in the water.
Depending on the score, you might just want to give everyone even pool time
as your team is developing, so have a balance of weak and strong players
and can use a six player rotation. If you have a close game and your aim is
winning, some subs may not get to play too much and have other
opportunities in other games. You may just specialise sub your centre
forwards/ backs/ drivers, for instance. Whatever you do must be explained
and agreed by the team, so there are no surprises or upsets.)
- Check that equipment required is ready to go (caps, balls, first aid
- Be positive and encourage all your athletes to feel good about
themselves, confident, support their team mates, and feel like they belong
and are part of a great team environment.
- Encourage your athletes, but let them play their own game.
- Coach the future, don?t dwell too much on the past.
- Make simple tactical changes which have been practised.
- Remain calm and demonstrate self-control.
- Make sure drinks are available as required.
- Provide positive feedback during quarter and half time breaks ? give
them only one or two key points to focus on. Always start and finish with
- See that the opposing team, officials and other helpers are thanked
after the game. Shake hands.
- Have a quick team talk to ensure the players know when/where the next
training will take place.
- Note down a few pointers to work on at the next training from your game
- Discuss game with other coaches/ observers to get their perspective on
what to work on or what went well.
- Being and acting professional will ensure everyone has a great time and
that your team is improving.
2. Communicating With Athletes? Parents and Caregivers
Parents and caregivers can have a big impact on how athletes feel about
water polo. They can provide a source of either support or stress,
particularly for younger athletes.
It is important to establish a positive relationship with parents and
caregivers right from the start of the season. A good way to start is by
writing a letter, or holding a meeting to introduce yourself and discuss
the season ahead:
- Emphasise the importance of fun, learning new skills and making new
friends. Performing to their potential is more important than winning or
- Discuss the role of parents and caregivers in your team. Stress the
importance of supporting and encouraging the athletes.
- Discuss the principles of fair play and your expectations of
supporters? behaviour at games.
- Talk about your plans for the season, what athletes will need, and how
parents and caregivers can assist.
Parents, caregivers and other supporters can sometimes get carried away
during games. Be sure to always set a positive example as the coach, and
let the supporters know you expect only positive support towards game
officials, players and coaching team, from them.
Good Luck with your games- remember it?s a great idea to discuss your
team?s play with other coaches and referees to get feedback on how you can
improve their performance!!