I switched to water polo from competitive swimming, and ended up spending eight years playing in the A Division of the Hungarian Water Polo League, with several stints on the Hungarian National team.
My family moved to Victoria, BC, and in 1997 with the assistance of a group of avid parents we gave birth to Saanich Water Polo School. After 20 years of coaching and managing the sport of water polo in Victoria, with thousands of kids having gone through the program, I became aware, that the sport water polo had the best ingredient mix to engage children of the 21st century, and through the magic draw of a game, forge them into the strongest, healthiest kids they can possibly be: in other words to create the ultimate "Strongchild".
Swimming is considered by many to be the healthiest sport, moving every single muscle in the body without putting strain on joints, and without the risk factor of serious injury. Taming the water is also a life skill many parents want for their children. It's a survival skill.
Water Polo is swimming, but it is so much more. Water Polo players become the ultimate "swimming machines", but with water polo, children acquire many additional skills and coping mechanisms that transfer to other parts of their lives.
The complexity of water polo lies in the sport engaging every single sensory and cognitive function, tying swimming together with peripheral vision, quick thinking, decision making, ball handling skills, team skills, listening under pressure, concentration. Water polo also endows children with incredible core body strength. These skills transfer to dry land sports readily, and make water polo players highly desired life guards, coast guards, navy seals.
The ability to think quickly on their feet, to function in a team or individual setting, to concentrate despite the disturbance of whistles, waves, a ball flying in the air, all the while battling a foreign element...is a gift that water polo can give to a child. They become strong in every sense of the word: physically, cognitively, mentally, socially, psychologically.
We have seen it time and time again at Saanich Water Polo School. Not a month goes by without a grateful parent or ex-athlete sending a thank you, a reminder that water polo has been a significant part of their success. In a series of articles, we open our doors to coaches, parents, athletes all over the world: What are your experiences that we can add to our repertoire. We will share your ideas
from the point of view of a parent or an athlete, or from the point of view of a coach, and post further articles on the power of water polo to create the ultimate "Strongchild".
The gifts of water polo training include incredible core body strength, superior swimming skills, ball handling skills, and cognitive skills. All the while it is cleverly disguised as a game, capable of capturing the imagination of a child of the 21st century with its colorful world centered around the magic of a ball.
Please send me your stories, ideas, experiences to share! Attach in an email to
Gabi G. Vindisch