FUNdamentals: I Love Water Polo

Learn to Train: I Love Water Polo

In 1870, the London Swimming Club established the first rules for this water-based football game. They accepted brute strength. Over time and through much trial and error, the rules and style of the game streamlined into what they are today. Water polo was initiated into the Olympics in 1900, and has been played in Canada for more than 100 years. Canada boasts strong men’s and women’s programs – both of which will benefit from Water Polo Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model.

Along with teamwork, water polo teaches participants fundamental movement skills, fundamental sport skills and the ABCs – agility, balance, coordination and speed – of physical literacy.

Water polo’s LTAD model consists of eight stages.

  • Active Start (M, F 0-6) – Introduces fundamental movement skills through water involvement, physical activity and play.
  • FUNdamentals (M 6-9, F 6-8) – Develops and builds fundamental movement skills and basic water polo skills in well-structured and positive environments.
  • Technical Foundations (M 9-12, F 8-11) – Teaches overall sport skills while introducing decision making and basic fitness.
  • Competitive Foundations (M 12-16, F 11-15) – Establishes more advanced water polo skills and tactics, and refines basic tactical and technical knowledge.
  • Train to Compete (M 16-19+/-, F 15-18+/-) – Consolidates and refines sequence of basic water polo skills at competition intensity.
  • Train to Perform (M 19-25+/-, F 18-23+/-) – Maximizes performance in competition as athletes strive for sport excellence.
  • Live to Win (M 25+, F 23+) – Refines advanced skills, position-specific skills and strategies with the purpose of competing and succeeding at the highest levels of competition.
  • Active for Life (M, F all ages) – Encourages players to remain physically active and involved in the game, either competitively or recreationally, for life.

Water Polo Canada LTAD: The Pursuit of Excellence and an Active Lifestyle
This model provides a framework that outlines each of the developmental stages athletes pass through as they progress through the sport of water polo.

I Love Water Polo (ILWP) is directed at the FUNdamentals and Learn to Train stages. It is Water Polo Canada’s introductory, grassroots water polo program for boys and girls ages eight to 12 (although easily adaptable for younger or older age groups, or even adults). In a learn-to-play environment, similar to swimming lessons, participants discover the game of water polo, and the basic skills involved in aquatic sports.  The ILWP program also helps to enhance the participants swimming, balance, and coordination skills.

Major League Water Polo (MLWP) focuses on Active for Life’s competition stream, and was established to provide athletes and clubs with competitive water polo opportunities outside of the National Team and excellence stream.  MLWP targets male and female athletes aged 18 and over.

The Canadian Select League (CSL), which addresses the Train to Compete and Train to Perform stages, was established to provide high performance competition to the female excellence stream of athletes aged 16 and older.

The primary focus of the National Development Premier League (NDPL) is to increase the number of high performance athletes (16-18 years old) and their readiness as they enter the Train to Perform stage of development – therefore increasing the number of eligible athletes for National Team programs.

Water Polo Canada –