September 26, 2022 2 min read
Water polo has always had a hard time attracting young kids to pick up the sport, compared to the more popular sports. How do we attract younger athletes to the sport of water polo?
Water Polo has traditionally been a sport that athletes try out at around age 9 or 10, usually after being burnt out from swim practice. Studies show that kids who pick up sports earlier in life have a higher chance of success. We unfortunately miss out on a large population of athletes that have already spent years playing other sports. In my case, I have an 8 year old son, 6 year old daughter, and 4 year old son. Currently, my kids are land-based sports athletes simply since there are organized opportunities in football (flag), baseball and soccer as early as 4 years old. If we are to continue to grow our sport of water polo and attract top level athletes, we have to move to 8U water polo. Let me use my oldest son as an example:
Age 4: Plays tee-ball and soccer
Age 5: Plays coach pitch baseball
Age 6: Plays machine pitch and starts flag football
Age 7: Play kids pitch and 2 seasons of Flag.
Age 8: Plays kids pitch 2 seasons along with2 season of flag.
Totals: 7 seasons of baseball and 5 seasons of flag at age 8.
He and all of his friends are on the same trajectory. While my son has gravitated to baseball and football, some of his friends have gone to soccer and at age 8, are now involved in travel club soccer. How do we pull that athlete away from an organized club sport at age 9, or my son who is having successin football and baseball at 9 or 10 to start water polo? My thought is we have to get our water polo athletes much earlier at the age of 6,7, and 8 years of age.
How do we do this?
We have to make water polo the next step after a child learns to swim which means we need to partner with the swim schools and swim teams and make it easily accessible. It will not happen by simply having Splashball at USA Water Polo. It’s a start, but it’s not enough. I know John Abdou at USA Water Polo has this on his radar and has hit several learn to swim and swim school conferences where he presented the opportunity! Great work. Let's spread the word together.
Let us know if you have any questions and share pictures of new water polo popping up across the globe!
KAP7 has developed a pop up goal and skip ball for this specific endeavor. This is all you need to get children 6,7 and 8 started to play water polo. A small investment and any swimming pool will turn into a fun water polo course.
Bradley Schumacher, President and Co-founder.
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