In mid-January the National Canoe Polo Development Camp kicked off for three days of hard training in the warm summer weather. For this year’s camp 25 athletes from all over Australia descended on Adelaide to push their skills to new levels, all under the guidance of senior coaches.
The camp aimed to improve the skills of intermediate and developing athletes. It was an opportunity for those who wish to take the next step in the game and perhaps begin their journey to the elite level. The coaches were a mixt of past and present members of the Australian national teams (in addition to one coach from the New Zealand national women’s team) and this gave the athletes a valuable source of information to draw on.
Each day had a number of skills sessions with the mornings and afternoons spent on the water and the evenings spent off-water. On the water the coaches took their athletes through kayak control, ball skills and tactical play. Later on in the evenings the athletes attended a seminar on sports nutrition and listened to past Australian women’s team member Lauren Ljiljak talk about her experience at the 2013 World Games which was followed by three times World Champion Duncan Cochrane discussing goal setting.
As the high performance manager for Australian Canoe Polo and a parent of an athlete Duncan Cochrane explained the value of the camp; ‘I believe The National Development camp is probably the most important act of development we have as it helps a large number of junior and youth players and potential coaches take their Canoe Polo to another level. Once again the coaches and organisers have done a fantastic job and my child has loved it and made a bunch of new friends from around the country as well. Congratulations AC Polo- keep up the good work!’
One highlight from this year’s camp was Totally Wild from Channel 11 filming. This will give canoe polo in Australia some nation-wide publicity. A number of the junior athletes explained what the game involved and how it was played. The episode is due to air in around 10 weeks time and notification of this will be made when the information is available.
Overall the camp was a success and it makes a valuable contribution to Australian Canoe Polo and its future. The 2015 camp will take place around the same time next year and will also be held in Adelaide. Keep an eye out for information about it from the usual sources.