During tournaments leading up to the Regional Championships we strive towards fair playing time. This means that we will try to give players a balanced amount of playing time in a tournament but not on a game-by-game basis. Teams we compete against will vary widely in terms of ability and we strive to match opposing players with players of equal skill from our own team, recognizing that it is not a very positive experience to ask newer players to defend against players with much greater experience.
It is important to note that there are rules regarding the number of girls and boys in the water at any one time and that substitutions can only be made at specific times in the game. These rules can result in some players not getting any breaks from play.
At some tournaments we may find our teams in a position that if they win a key game the team will have an opportunity to participate in more games at the tournament; in these situations we normally strive to win so that the team can get more game time – this can mean an imbalance of time for players in a particular game, but increased game time overall with a successful outcome.
Our practices are organized so that May is focussed on basic individual player skills, June is one-on-one competitive skills and July and August have more focus on team tactics where we put all the individual and one-on-one skills into practice.
Water Polo Team Selection for Regionals and Provincials
The most difficult part of our role as coaches it to select players for the Regional Championships. We select these players with the expectation that this team will win these championships and go on to be competitive at the Provincial Championships. The Regional Team can have a maximum of thirteen players and two alternates and must have a minimum of three boys and 3 girls. In selecting the players for the Regional team we use a number of criteria, including:
- Sufficient number of boys and girls to ensure our eligibility is not at risk in the event of illness or injury
- Player skills at prescribed positions: goalie, hole sets, 2m guards, outside shooters, etc.
- Player attitudes (in and out of the pool): positive, encouraging, focussed, passionate, respectful
- Work ethic throughout the season at games and practices
- Attendance at practices and tournaments throughout the season
- Overall competitiveness and determination