Leinster Water Polo, in association with our partners at Swim Ireland and Ireland Water Polo held our inaugural Water Polo Coaches Clinic featuring renowned Irish water polo player and Coach Gary O'Brien over the weekend of July 10-12th 2015.
This was a hugely successful weekend with more than thirty coaches from Leinster, Ulster and Connacht attending classroom sessions at Swim Ireland HQ as well as a skills and techniques demonstration and three well-attended practical coaching demonstration sessions at the National Aquatic Centre.
On Friday evening, Gary started by emphasising the importance of the Fundamentals of water polo - conditioning, body positioning, mobility, passing and shooting using a combination of description, demonstration and video resources.
This was followed by a 2-hour demonstration in the pool with Gary, Paul McMenamin, Cillian Colvin and Conor Dalton.
On Saturday, Gary developed the theme of water polo fundamentals further by sharing his experiences of coaching and developing athletes all the way from beginners playing mini-polo/splashball through U10, U12, U14, U16 and up to Senior with suggestions for skills and techniques to teach at each stage, coaching techniques, communication and trigger words. He emphasised the importance of preparation, session planning and effective communication.
Two pool sessions with junior athletes started with Gary taking the athletes through a series of dry land exercise and warm-ups, followed by individual and group conditioning and skills exercises in the water.
In the final classroom session on Sunday morning, Gary drew all of the course themes together and moved on to discuss coaching U19 and Senior teams with the additional emphasis on player specialisation and team tactics and the importance of having pre-planned and well-drilled options for 6-on-5, 5-on-6, counter-attack offence and defence and normal front-court offence and defence.
The Clinic ended with a final pool session where the attendee coaches took responsibility for coaching small groups of athletes through a series of skills and exercises with Coach O'Brien offering feedback and suggestions.
Leinster Water Polo would like to acknowledge the support of Swim Ireland in the planning and delivery of the Coaches Clinic.
Thank you Adam Cox, Julie O'Connell and, in particular, Amanda Ní Ghabhann.
Also thanks to Paul McMenamin, Cillian Colvin and Conor Dalton who helped with the skills demonstrations and to all of the junior athletes who participated in the pool sessions.
Thanks to all of the Coaches who attended the Clinic for your interest and for your great questions, comments and observations.
And, of course, a big THANK YOU to Coach Gary O'Brien who delivered a hugely informative, interactive and stimulating clinic with a level of energy and enthusiasm that never dipped below phenomenal.
Don't forget that Swim Ireland CPD points were awarded as follows: Friday Evening – 3 points Saturday (Full Day) – 6 points (Half Day) – 3 points Sunday – 3 points
The original invitation brochure, along with the schedule and per-session details are available here.