Coach's Corner - Dear Freshman Water Polo Players

By Ryen Flint

Coach's Corner - Dear Freshman Water Polo Players

You’re the awkward age of ~14 years old, embarking on your most challenging chapter of your life while still under your parents’ roof. You can’t drive yet, you need to prove to your school that you can achieve the grade point average to stay afloat, and you are at the bottom of the social totem pole.

Some of you made the decision to sign up for water polo in the fall season - and what a great decision that was. Quite honestly the best decision you might ever make (for yourself). You willingly chose to maximize your physical output in one of the most character-building experiences you’ll ever enjoy. You also chose to do it alongside your peers who will likely become your lifelong friends. Good job.

Preseason is well underway and you’re just now breaking through the soreness as a result of the unruly conditioning sets. You have swam fully clothed and did countless pushups after each lap for a week straight - introducing yourself to a new level of anger towards a coach - all very normal in this arena. Now it’s time to find your order in the ‘pack of wolves’. 

Here’s an anecdote for you: A pack of wolves collectively chase down some vulnerable prey. The alpha wolf always eats first, until they're satisfied, while disallowing any other wolves below them in the hierarchy to so much as watch them eat. The lower socially ranked wolves wait their turn, knowing they will have their feed eventually. 

The moral is that not every wolf has to be the alpha - but more importantly, they need to know where in the pecking order they belong. Every player on the team has a role to play, be them a player for every minute of the game, the caboose of the squad with the most eccentric and positive attitude that glues the team together, or anywhere in between.

Your time as a freshman presents the perfect opportunity to challenge the hierarchy of the team, and disrupt the chain of command with the hard work you never thought you could display. As coaches, we cannot encourage more the act of pushing beyond your boundary of comfort to shatter yourself through your next glass ceiling of superficial limitation. 


Tips for all freshman: Show up to everything on time, and while at each practice, ask a senior team leader how to do something you don’t know how to do.

Oh - and when you're frustrated, scream underwater, and go harder on the next rep.


Good luck in your seasons!


Crewe Swim

**Photographed is my 2006 team at Carlsbad High School, with whom I achieved unforgettable moments in the pool.

1 comment

  • You hit the nail right on the head with this ♥️

    Jeanine on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published