It’s the Telkom national aquatic championships in Durban next week.┬áSouth African water polo captain Duncan Woods explains the┬árequirements of the sport and how he stays at the top of his game ÔÇô┬áboth physically and mentally.
“Water polo requires a combination of training because you need a ┬ágreat deal of upper-body strength for shooting and passing. You also ┬áneed to have endurance because you are treading water for a whole┬ágame, which can last up to 45 minutes.┬á
“The sport requires strong core muscles, so working on a medicine ball ┬ácan help build your abdominal muscles and strengthen your lower back.
“You can only handle the ball with one hand at a time, so you have to┬ástrengthen both arms because you must catch and shoot with either hand.
“Reflexes and awareness are essential. You need to be able to┬áanticipate the moves of your team-mates and opponents, so mental┬ápreparation is key.’┬á
“Treading water is an essential part of the sport. The most common way┬áis referred to as the ÔÇ£egg-beaterÔÇØ where you basically move your legs ┬áin a circular motion. Your legs cannot touch the base of the pool at ┬áany stage.
“We have to do a lot of resistance training in the gym, focusing on upper-body strength. In the pool we do swimming exercises and ball work in a game situation.
“In peak season we train four to five times a week, which usually ┬áincludes about two matches per week and a few gym sessions.
“In terms of actually swimming, we use a variation of crawl or┬áfreestyle where we keep our heads above the water to keep an eye on┬áteam-mates and opponents.”┬á
This article, and many more, can be found in the first issue of the SASCOC official quarterly magazine.