Athletics News

Shooting For College: Water Polo Camps & Clinics


Aug 22, 2013

By Angela Kraus

With summer approaching, now is a perfect time to consider water polo camp.

A number of colleges and organizations throughout the United States offer water polo camps and clinics. Many camps are coached by collegiate coaches, current and former Olympians, and staffed by current and former collegiate athletes. While most camps are held during the summer, camps also are offered during winter and spring breaks. Weekend clinics are available throughout the year. Most camps or clinics are scheduled around competitions during the busy summer season, either before or after the conclusion of NCCs, JOs, and other regional or national tournaments. Thus, the camps also offer good opportunities to prepare for tourneys or upcoming high school seasons. Just as important, camps and clinics offer opportunities to meet other players and expand water polo social networks.

Age-group players can attend camps and clinics to receive instruction on proper fundamentals and to improve water polo skills, which will help players prepare for high school and potentially college water polo. Position-specific instruction is generally available. Individual and team opportunities are available for all ages and ability levels, but all camps strongly recommend at least two years of swimming experience.

High school athletes can derive the same benefits from attending camps or clinics as age-group players. Attending a college-sponsored camp or clinic allows the aspiring student-athlete to preview a college and its water polo program, while telegraphing interest in the college and its water polo program, well before the senior year. It allows the student-athlete  to meet the collegiate coaching staff and experience their coaching styles (and allows the coaching staff to become acquainted with the athlete). It also helps the student-athlete become acquainted with the program’s players, its culture, and whether and how he or she would fit in. (Remember—the team will become the student-athlete’s “family” away from home!) Camps and clinics also can help the student-athlete meet other water polo players from around the United States who might one day be his or her teammates or opponents.

In addition to further developing water polo skills, participants in camps or clinics also get to spend time on the campuses of colleges they might be considering. This allows them to become familiar with the academic and physical attributes of the colleges, as well as the areas where the colleges are located, and to learn about the campuses and student culture to get a sense of what it would be like to be a student there. Don’t forget the importance of learning about the logistics of traveling between campus and home—does it involve an easy drive or direct flight, or will travel require catching a lot of connecting flights/multiple modes of transportation, which can be tricky, especially in areas with challenging winter climates.

There’s an added bonus for aspiring student-athletes--participating in a summer camp or clinic doesn’t count as a college visit for NCAA purposes, for either the student-athlete or the college. In some cases, another possible advantage of attending a camp or clinic is that during the fall—the traditional time for official college visits by seniors (which coincides with the NCAA men’s’ season)—many collegiate coaches and athletes are in season and unable to give prospective recruits as much attention as they might during a more relaxed camp or clinic environment. In the current economic climate, where college athletic department budgets are under constant scrutiny, some colleges are reducing their budgets for official visits. Therefore attending a camp or clinic may be the only opportunity for a prospective student-athlete to visit a college before deciding to apply.

There are multiple options for water polo camps and clinics; deciding whether to attend a camp or clinic, and selecting which camp to attend, depends on each potential participant’s needs and aspirations. Pay attention to registration deadlines to be sure space is available, and for planning purposes try to get the best fares if air travel is involved. For more information about water polo camps and clinics, visit college web sites, click here for USAWP camp listings, or simply look through the ads in each issue of SkipShot Magazine. 

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