(ILTWYP would like to send our deepest sympathies to USA’s Women’s Water Polo coach Adam Krikorian and his family. After writing this post, we were saddened to learn about the unexpected death of his 48 year-old brother, Blake Krikorian. Adam flew back to the U.S. to be with his family. He is expected to return to Rio in time for the Olympic opener against Spain on Tuesday when the USA Women’s Water Polo team begin their quest for back to back Gold medals. Before the team left for Rio we caught up with their head coach and dynamic leader to find out a little more about what makes water polo a great game for kids.)
Six Questions With U.S. Women’s Water Polo Coach Adam Krikorian
1. ILTWYP.COM: What type of athlete makes a good women’s water polo player – what strengths or attributes are beneficial?
Coach Krikorian: Speed in the water is critical but unlike swimming, where moving in a straight line is the protocol, you have to be able to change direction quickly and be as explosive as possible in much shorter distances. Leg strength and being able to propel your body high out of the water is also a huge benefit. In terms of body types, that really can vary depending on the position played. But length is typically an advantage.
2. ILTWYP.COM: Do you need to have played water polo for a long time or can you pick the sport up later than most other sports?
Coach Krikorian: You don’t necessarily need to play the sport a long time but having a little exposure to it can be helpful and having a consistent swimming background is very important.
3. ILTWYP.COM: What are the advantages for kids to play water polo over a sport that’s more popular like soccer or basketball?
Coach Krikorian: Well, my parents always used to say they appreciated that there was little equipment needed and it kept us clean! Personally, I love the challenge of the sport. I’m not sure there is a more difficult sport in the world to play. That could be discouraging but I look at it as an opportunity. I believe that puts a greater emphasis on so many key values that are important for the rest of your life i.e.. discipline, work ethic, persistence, resilience, etc…
4. ILTWYP.COM: What is something interesting or different about water polo that might appeal to parents and young athletes?
Coach Krikorian: Other than being in a different element (water), my answer is similar to the one above. I have 2 young kids, ages 9 and 6 (boy and girl respectively), and as someone who is already heavily immersed in the sport, the last thing I wanted a couple years back was to have my kids play water polo. I was also concerned about them being the “coaches kid” and the difficulties and pressures that lie within. But since then, my outlook has completely changed. Of course I ultimately want them to do what they love but as a parent, I can’t think of a better sport that will help my kids prepare for and overcome the challenges that will certainly arise after their playing days are over.
5. ILTWYP.COM: What is something people might not know about water polo or might find interesting?
Coach Krikorian: Many people would be surprised to learn that our sport is the oldest team sport in the Olympic Games.
6. ILTWYP.COM: 4. What are our chances in the Olympics and how does this team compare to teams of the past?
Coach Krikorian: Well, technically they are 1 out of 8 since there are 8 teams in our field. That may sound silly coming from a team that has had as much success as us, but that’s how we look at it. That’s our approach. Everyone starts with the same record and we respect the ability of each team and the passion and energy that they will be bring to each game. That’s part of the reason we’ve had success in the past and will continue to be a key for us.
This year’s team is a little more dynamic than the last group we had. We have the ability to score in many different ways and probably have a little more team speed. But this team is still searching for that “grit” and “attention to detail” that the last team had so much of. With a little more time and experience to draw from, we hope that we will peak just in time!
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