Coach's Corner - Red Caps

By Ryen Flint

Coach's Corner - Red Caps

     As a men's water polo coach, I often find myself managing the many personalities on my team and taming players when emotions arise. I thought I'd share my thoughts for young goalies, whom undoubtedly have one of the hardest jobs in the pool.
You are the last line of defense, though much of the time getting scored on may not be your fault.
    When defensive field players do their job, shots should be prevented or challenged before the ball even gets to the cage. Shot blockers' jobs are to cover nearside angles and high corners in respect to their defensive position, and funnel shots center-cage to be captured by the goalie. In most cases, goals scored are the responsibility of the defensive field players.
     I do notice goalies reacting with frustration when their teammates do not do their jobs. This reaction can encourage teammates to do better, so long as the message is delivered effectively. If a coach has control of their team, they do not let teammates speak down to each other in any case. Zero tolerance for this behavior sets the tone for balance, and 'levels' the playing field for a team's continual growth. Only coaches and sometimes captains shall call out general laziness and poor work ethic in a team member, and do so privately in order to determine if a player really wants to be a part of the team.
    For goalies who often feel like getting scored on is entirely their fault, consider this. The best goalies learn to cover angles and block shots that they are not expected to reach. Goalie training in practice should focus on lateral and upward movements that allow movement across the entire cage to block incredibly well placed shots. So my advice is this:
  • Watch the best goalies like Stefano Tempesti and Viktor Nagy on youtube
  • Do upwards of 20, 5-Gallon jug drains every practice while your team swims their sets
  • Post touches and Corner lunges until you can't eggbeater any longer
  • Become maniacal about your stretching routine
  • Challenge yourself to begin blocking shots that are not your assumed responsibility (cover your shot-blockers' angles)
  • Always maintain a positive and encouraging, unconditional regard for your teammates while trusting in your coach to make the necessary adjustments.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published