Dig in before you dive in
If you want to improve your water polo skills, and potentially enhance your recruiting process, then you’re likely considering a water polo camp. However, while there are plenty of camps out there, they’re not all created equal. So you’ll need to do some research to help find the one that’s right for you. Consider these factors:
Assess Your Skill Level
Before considering any water polo camp, consider where you stand athletically. Do you need to improve all your skills or do you just need to sharpen up in one area? Do you measure up to elite players or are you still striving to reach that level? Are you still mastering the fundamentals or are you looking for advanced instruction to improve your swimming, speed, and flexibility? Are you looking for all-around improvement or do you want position-focused instruction? Do you want tactical or technical instruction or both?
Once you have a feel for your skill level and what you want to improve, focus your search on the water polo camps that will provide you the most benefits. It’s OK to aim high, but the goal is to find a camp or camps that will challenge you and help you improve. Aim too high or too low, and you may be wasting your time.
Consider The Instructors
It’s not unusual for a water polo camp to hype instruction from top players and coaches. But if working with a specific player or coach is your camp goal, do your research to make sure that person will be on the deck for all of the camp sessions.
Usually, camps put on by college programs will feature instruction from that school’s players and coaches. Camps put on by clubs or companies may have featured instructors or coaches, but they may not be on the deck every day of the camp. Just as you assess a camp to find the instruction level that will benefit you, make sure to research the instructors and coaches as well to ensure you get your money’s worth every day of the camp.
Consider The Exposure Opportunities
If you’re considering a water polo camp to raise your recruiting profile and to be seen by more college coaches, then obviously you want to choose a camp where those coaches will be providing the instruction. That means you should consider camps put on by one or several college programs.
Remember that it’s OK to push yourself at a slightly higher level camp, even if you’re still working to get to that level. In addition to looking for talent now, college coaches also look for raw potential, desire, coachability, and the right attitude. If your skills are still evolving and improving, demonstrating those qualities to college coaches at camps can raise your profile and get you on recruiting radars.
Camps Versus Clinics
In general, the difference between water polo camps and clinics is that a clinic will offer drills, scrimmages, and tips over the course of several hours or an entire day. Some clinics may also be skill- or position-specific. Water polo camps generally offer more of what a clinic can provide, but will usually be spread out over several full days or even an entire week. The camp or clinic you choose is important because you may have to…
Be Prepared To Travel
The majority of water polo players and colleges with water polo programs are in California. After that, you can find a number of programs in the northeast part of the United States. In most cases, the camps are where the athletes and the programs are concentrated. And that means, if you don’t live in California or the northeastern U.S., you’ll likely have to travel to attend a water polo camp. And, if a camp isn’t an overnight camp, you’ll likely also have to pay for a hotel each night of the camp as well.
The lesson here is, if you’re not close to a traditional water polo hotbed, it’s likely you’ll need to spend extra money to travel to attend a water polo camp. And that means you’ll need to not only consider the price of the camp, the expenses to travel and maybe even hotel costs too.
Ultimately, every water polo camp, and every water polo player, is different. Every camp can offer something different to every player. The key is to find the camp that’s right for you. So think about your skill level, where and how you need to improve, what you’re looking for from a camp, and your budget. Then you can find the water polo camp that’s right for you!
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