From the thread tilted: Becoming a Dangerous Shooter
In case you couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing here are what I think are the two most critical sentences that any developing Water Polo player and youth coach needs to hear and understand.
"Having good water polo legs is the single most important physical factor in the sport."
I have to agree 100% with Coach Dettamanti but he is not the only high level coach to write about the importance of your legs in Water Polo. According to Coach Ratko Rudic, at least 50% of the game is "Water Polo legs" but probably it is even closer to 60-70% as he has written about before in a USA Water Polo document (see below references for his PDF).
"Counterattack offense and defense depends a lot on reaction, not speed."
That first 2-3 strokes are critical and it is not just reaction but also anticipating what is going to happen. You can only anticipate what is going to happen by having your head up and knowing what is going on in the entire pool, including the game and possession clocks.
How many times have you been swimming down the pool with your head down only to realize later that the ball has turned over? Keep your head up, know what is going on and you will make fewer mistakes and be able to take advantage of the opportunities that arise during the match.
Of course this is easier said then done. Swimming head down expends far less energy then head up crawl.
Which brings up the question, if head up is so important then why not train it all the time? or How much head up do we need to train?
I have talked in person to an Olympic level Water Polo coach and he suggested to train it all the time and I think he literally meant all the time (i.e. no head down swimming). All swim sets, drills, ect ... are done with head up crawl.
How much head up vs head down crawl should we be doing in training?
What do you think?
Please leave your comments below.
Rudic, Ratko. Basic Training for the Legs. PDF Document available at below link:
Coach Dante Dettamanti - short biography