Harker’s summer water polo camp, held in late June, offered Bay Area students in grades 4-8 the chance to get a comprehensive introduction to the sport in a fun, supportive environment.
“It’s good for the kids to come out and play and it’s helping our sport grow,” said Allie Lamb, the Harker water polo coach who ran the camp with Ted Ujifusa, who also coaches at Harker. “It’s kind of a small sport, so the more kids we can get started early and young, the better it’ll be when they get into high school.”
Because most of the students at the camp were new to the sport, the camp focused on basic skills such as eggbeater kicking, moving through the water, passing and shooting. Each day of the camp showed the students a new skill to learn.
“And since the kids like to play the sport, we do a lot of scrimmaging, getting them out there,” Lamb said. “The best way to learn is by actually getting to play.”
Lamb said that by the end of the camp the students will have gained enough knowledge and experience to join a local water polo club team or high school team. “Our goal is to give them the knowledge they need now so they can go on and play either in high school or on a club team, and they’ll have some kind of background knowledge.”
“I like how the teachers are really nice to you, and they always let you do lots of fun stuff like scrimmaging and lots of fun drills that they come up with,” said Ryan Hagberg, a middle school student at St. Christopher School. “This has made me a lot more interested in playing water polo.”
The main goal of the camp, Lamb noted, was for the students in attendance to have fun learning the sport. “The most important thing that we teach the kids is that water polo is a fun sport to play and they should be having fun while they’re doing it. Of course they learn all the basics, but if they’re not having fun and we’re not making it fun, then they’re not going to want to come back and do it.”