More than 40 athletes took part in the inaugural RTC Challenge on Sunday, 18 June at Stuartholme School. The RTC Challenge was an opportunity for these young athletes to practice what they have been learning at the Regional Training Centres in game conditions.
Fundamental to water polo is having strong legs and all the athletes involved in the RTCs have been working hard to improve their leg strength and body position in the water. For Brisbane South RTC goalie, Angeliki Samios, 15, she has also been learning how to talk to her team about what she wants in defence and has been able to put that into practice during the RTC Challenge. “I’ve also been told that once I get the ball I should spider and swim to the side of the post, so I’ve been trying that but I still need a bit more practice with that.”
Under the watchful eye of Mel Rippon, Head of Participation and Pathways, the coaching team of Olympians, the Queensland Academy of Sport team and overseas coaches, were joined poolside by two-time Olympian Kate Gynther and young Aussie Stinger, Gabi Palm. Gabi was on hand to offer the young goalies some tips and pointers throughout the day. For Alana Schultze, 14, the advice from Gabi was invaluable. “Gabi made some really good points, mainly about moving around faster, using my hands to push off and to get around the goal quicker when the other team is moving the ball. That’s really important so I can see everything.”
Gabi heads to Sydney on Sunday for the Aussie Stingers camp ahead of the World Championships in Budapest. She had some great advice for the young goalies as they look to improve their game. “I think it’s really important that they watch the ball because, in order to be quick and to make those saves, they need to know where they are in the goal and watch the ball. That will help they be a lot quicker and react to the ball a lot faster.”
As the RTC athletes head into the break, the tips given by Gabi during the RTC Challenge can be used during the next block of RTC training. “We discussed a few little things today, which they will be able to work on during the break and implement into training. Leg work is really important, which will help them get higher out of the water, as well as move laterally around the goal. When they are in goal, they just need to make sure that when the girls are shooting that they are always watching the ball.”