Thursday, October 3, 2013

Beautiful

I have been thinking lately about aspects of the game that when executed with much skill looks beautiful—exudes virtue.

Certain things can be done by a single player such as a perfect hitch to get the goalie to jump followed by the perfect lob that the goalie looks at as if watching a horror movie, with the foreknowledge that nothing he can do will prevent the inevitable. Tony Azavedo seems to be a perfectionist at this move.

I remember the story of Tony Azavedo perfecting a shot wherein he catches a strong side pass on the perimeter, fakes a sweep shot (which draws the defender and the goalie to the near side), spins to a back hand (causing the goalie to lunge cross cage) bringing the ball back around to skip near-side.

Goalies blocking one-on-nones or worse odds with feats of water acrobatics that seemingly requires a temporary hold on the laws of gravity. Or the reverse: shooters who, once having reached full height and extended torso to shoot the ball somehow manage to pause for one, two, three moments: an impossible feat; before taking the shot long after the goalie has dropped and been summarily beaten.

Aspects of play that are less grandiose can, in my opinion, look just as beautiful. Helping back on 2-meter so quickly that each stroke is a work of timed perfection, only to hip-over and storm back out to the outside defender when necessary.

Two players passing on 6-on-5 wherein they turn every catch into a fake and turn every fake into a pass. To execute this so well that no one can predict when the shot will come.

Passing by teams in, out, and back into well guarded territory, such as a "Greeny" play into two meters, out to a driver for what appears to be a shot, only to have the two meter player drift away from his defender, pop-catch-and-shoot a pass back from the driver.

Perfect 6-on-5 coverage where every defender communicates, adapts to each pass, and shot blocks all possible lines that can lead to the cage.

Counter attack drills to offense where every one of the offensive players has their head on a swivel, envisions the best ways to gain advantage, and sets up the last player to receive the perfect scoring opportunity.

Counter drills to defense where defenders have their head on a swivel, sees the impending advantage the offensive team intends to exploit, and communicates as a team to disrupt and regain balance.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Check Out USA Water Polo National Team


Mark your calendars and get your tickets now for all the upcoming Men’s USA National Team events in May! The action begins with Team USA vs Canada & Brazil in the FINA World League Prelims, on May 10-13 at Foothill High School in Tustin, California. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased by clicking here.

The action then heads south, to the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) on May 19-20 for the 4th Annual Fisher Cup. National Team athletes return to their respective clubs including the likes of the New York Athletic Club, The Olympic Club, and Newport Water Polo Foundation. Tickets for this event will be available on-site.

Saving the best for last, Team USA will meet Hungary and Croatia or common training and an exhibition series in late May and early June. Team USA will host Croatia on May 26 at 6pm at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, CA and then return the following day on May 27 to take on Hungary, in a rematch of the 2008 Olympic Games Gold Medal final, at 12pm. The May 27 match will also be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network. The action at Newport Harbor High School will conclude on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, when Hungary and Croatia meet at 5pm. Tickets for all USA matches at Newport Harbor High School cost $40 for adults and $30 for children and seniors. Pre-sale tickets are available at a reduced price, by clicking here.

The exhibition series closes out with a change of venues. Team USA will battle Hungary once more on May 31 at 7pm at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center in Los Angeles, CA. The United States then closes out competition with a match against Croatia on June 1 at 7pm at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, CA. Tickets for these matches are currently on-sale, to purchase tickets for the match at UCLA, click here, for the match at Rose Bowl, click here.

USA Water Polo Men's National Team Schedule

May 10-13 - FINA World League Prelims
@ Foothill High School - Tustin, CA

May 10 - USA vs. Brazil 6pm
May 11 - Canada vs. Brazil 10:30am
May 11 - Brazil vs. USA Junior National Team 4:30pm
May 11 - USA vs. Canada 6pm
May 12 - Canada vs. Brazil 10:30am
May 12 - USA vs. Brazil 6pm
May 13 - USA vs. Canada 11am

May 19-20 - Fisher Cup
@ UC-San Diego - San Diego, CA


May 26-June 1 - Hungary/Croatia Exhibition Series
May 26 - USA vs. Croatia 6pm @ Newport Harbor HS - Newport Beach, CA
May 27 - USA vs. Hungary 12pm @ Newport Harbor HS - Newport Beach, CA
May 28 - Croatia vs. Hungary 5pm @ Newport Harbor HS - Newport Beach, CA
May 31 - USA vs. Hungary 7pm @ UCLA - Los Angeles, CA
June 1 - USA. vs. Croatia 7pm @ Rose Bowl Aquatics Center - Pasadena, CA

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Road to 2012 Olympic Water Polo Games for Wigo


Check out this article on FoxSportsWest about Janson Wigo, the 24 year old left handed attacker and his strive to make the 2012 Olympic Water Polo team! Great read.

“Coach Schroeder and Coach Lynn say that we’re going to win games through defense, so we pride ourselves on our defense and shot-blocking skills,” Wigo said. “We practice that more than anything.”













Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Congrats to Ambassador Azavedo!

Tony Azavedo has taken on a sponsorship with SwimOutlet.com to be their brand ambassador. Follow Swim Outlet.com's social media to get tips and advice from Azavedo throughout the year.



Swim Outlet.com Sent out this Press Release:


Azevedo is among the most-recognized players in the game, having been a water polo standout since high school and college years at Stanford. He was among the Top 4 goal-scorers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics & second at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The U.S. team claimed silver at the 2008 Beijing Games. In the summer of 2011, Azevedo won his fourth Pan Am Games Gold in Guadalajara, where he also had the honor to be the U.S. Flag Bearer at Closing Ceremonies. He has played professionally in top leagues in Europe & South America including stints with teams in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and his birthplace Brazil.

“SwimOutlet.com is proud to help promote athletes and teams in all aquatics sports,” said SwimOutlet.com CMO Alexander Sienkiewicz. “Water polo is no different and we are excited to work with Tony, one of the most charismatic and dominant athletes in any sport in the world. Our site has a tremendous selection of water polo products and we are happy to highlight this fact through our relationship with him.”

To kick off the partnership Tuesday, Azevedo made a special “Gold Medal Delivery” on Valentine’s Day to a club in Thousand Oaks, California. After his surprise arrival at the club to a loud chorus of cheers, Azevedo then played water polo with the kids, answered questions about competing in the Olympics and handed out free swim gear including Zumo USA water polo suits to those in attendance.

“It’s exciting to partner up with a site and a brand like SwimOutlet.com,” said Azevedo. “Especially in an Olympic year to see a company like SwimOutlet supporting water polo and other Olympic athletes and sports like they do is fantastic. I look forward to working with SwimOutlet.com to help grow the sport of water polo.”

Azevedo will also become a SwimOutlet.com brand ambassador offering tips and advice on SwimOutlet.com and across its social media platforms throughout the year.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Roaming the sidelines with PJ

Ramping up for the 2012 Games the athletes vying to make the USA Roster have agreed to spend the year training together in leu of playing professionally around the globe. In this article Peter Varellas talks about training for the 2012 Olympic Games and what the competition looks like for 2012: "Eight teams could win, which is a lot in a 12-team tournament." Peter's Goal is simple: "Short-term is nice and incredibly simple…win the gold medal. It would be the first gold on the men’s side...ever." Read the full article: Peter Varellas...and the Two-Minute Drill