There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about what it means to be a Clovis North Water Polo player.
a. Definition of love: a feeling of deep affection
b. What it means to our team: As an athlete at Clovis North, there is a high standard to uphold. You must balance your academics, athletics, personal life, and your responsibilities all at once. What we ask of you is more than what you will be asked of just as a student. To uphold these expectations, you genuinely have to love what you do. Water polo is more than just a sport that you get to play with your friends. It teaches you what hard work feels like and what can come of it. It teaches you to become a student of the game. It teaches you how to navigate your feelings. Water polo teaches you so much about yourself that you will learn to love it. This sport also teaches you how to love others. You will go through some gnarly swim sets, tough nail-biting losses, and emotional rollercoasters… however, it will all be together. Going through struggles as a team evokes trust and most importantly – love!
a. Definition of a growth mindset: your skills and abilities can be expanded with dedication and hard work
b. Definition of a fixed mindset: the qualities and skills you have been given in your life are fixed and not able to be changed
c. What this means to our team: Being able to understand that you are in charge of how good you want to be as an athlete, student, and person allows you to hold yourself accountable for your success. Knowing that bad practice doesn’t make you a bad player, and not being good at a shot now doesn’t mean you won’t be great at that same shot later, are both examples of a growth mindset.
a. Definition of sacrifice: the surrender of something for the sake of something else
b. Definition of the team: a group of individuals who come together to achieve a common goal
c. What it means to our team: To sacrifice for the team, you must understand that your own goals/schedule needs to align with the holistic goal. Your agenda needs to come second. Put the team first in your decision-making.
i. Example: “Should I go out with my friends late on Thursday?”… Thought process should be along these lines: I know I have morning practice on Friday. If I hang out with them, I shouldn’t be gone that late. I need to get a good night’s rest so I can be reliable at practice tomorrow. ***Notice this is not a “Don't go out with your friends!”… this is a “Please be smart in your decision making so that you can be 100% present at practice (physically and mentally) every day.”
a. Definition of competing: strive to gain or win something by establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.
b. What it means to our team: Competing does not just apply to a game setting. We are going out to win our games every time, it is at the root of the essence of sport. Every day you come into practice, you should be ready to ‘compete.’ It is about setting standards for yourself that you can achieve and set yourself apart from your teammates. Competing is about digging deep and finding the grit to beat the person next to you to make yourself and them better.
i. Example: Today at practice, we are going to do a set of sprint 25s. I am swimming right next to Sally. We are about the same speed, but I want to beat her on every single one today.
ii. Example: Today we play Clovis East… I don’t like what it looks like when green, blue, and gray are put together. I am going to win.
a. Definition of challenge: a task or situation that tests one’s abilities
b. What it means to our team: As a program, we want you to strive to make yourself uncomfortable. We will provide you with the challenges in our workouts. However, it all boils down to personal accountability to create challenges for yourself that push the limits of your “comfortable.”
When practice is getting difficult or things are not going your way, it is very easy to slip into a negative mindset. A negative tone to your inner monologue can make it more difficult to get back on track after a setback. Learning to positively talk to yourself during these times will increase the quality of the task you are trying to complete.
Learning to compete, practice, and be taught without judgment is essential to becoming a successful person. Do not worry if a practice is going well or going poorly. Focus on pouring 100% effort into the task at hand. Judgment will only take us off the baseline and cause us to lose focus on the critical thing: effort.
Pay attention to the details and do the little things right. The big picture is made from small details. Completing small tasks and being mindful of the details daily is crucial to achieving goals.
Never allow yourself to go through the motions without purpose. In the water, we move our bodies intentionally with no accidental movements. In school, we intentionally commit our minds to paying attention to learning. Everything we choose to do, we should be doing intentionally.
Do not hold back during training. Remember, you build your reserve (physically, mentally, emotionally) by depleting your reserve daily in practice. Test yourself. Push your limits. Eliminate the possibility of self-doubt creeping in during games by intimately knowing your limits and capabilities. This is done by “depleting your reserve” in practice.
Athletes are expected to be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready at the start time. Athletes should complete a self-check 15 minutes before practice to ensure that all three areas are ready for practice. Clear your mind about school and social life so that we can focus on water polo and the team. It is two hours of your day that we expect you to be checked in on water polo and only water polo.
Being mindful that as we start practice, we are entering a zone that is free of judgment based on if we are doing “good or bad”. The only thing we judge ourselves on is if we are better versions than the last practice and if we are helping the team achieve our goals.
Prepare your mindset to face any failures, without judgment, that you might encounter while working on that challenge. Plan out what you want to get better on today and set an intention.
We want to transition between different parts of practice smoothly. It becomes a waste of time if we pause to set up or get equiptment. Our season is already short enough, we do not have time to waste.
Attack your struggles head-on, every day, until they become areas of strength. Truly great people take adversity head-on and enjoy the idea of getting to dance with it.
Learning to challenge your teammates appropriately will push the team as a unit in the right direction. Respect is not given. It is earned by consistent effort. The tone of delivery is crucial. If you talk down toward a teammate, they will remember. If you provide helpful insight, they will remember.
Even if coach is not talking to you directly, STILL LISTEN. We can all increase the number of reps by learning from each other's successes and errors. Demonstrate that you are listening with eye contact.
During practice, we cover a large amount of information. It is essential to gain an understanding so we avoid reinforcing bad habits or wasting time by ruining a drill. It is okay to struggle to conceptualize a drill or play, but it is not ok to stay confused and hope it works out.
Be mindful and intentional with everything you do - especially fundamentals. We mustn't become complacent with how good we get at the basics.
The Clovis North Educational Center has a phenomenal aquatics complex, and we are very fortunate to practice and compete in it. We owe it to ourselves, our teammates, and our school to take care of and maintain the pool area. Everything we use should be stored and maintained with detail and care. On top of that, we should put extra effort into cleaning up if others have left a mess. This is our home, treat it with the respect it deserves. Leave it better than you found it.
Mastering time management is a vital part of post-practice. Make sure you use your time purposefully and efficiently. Complete all school work, communicate with the teachers, plan for the following week, and schedule anything needed so that we do not take team time away from practice.
Take care of your body. It is expected that you will be tired after practice. If you are not fueling your body correctly, it will show. If we are not making an active effort to maintain and care for ourselves, we will not be able to use it at our full potential. Hydrate, eat well, and get enough sleep to perform at your best.