SOCAL FAQS

  1. When can I join SOCAL Water Polo?
  2. What are the seasons?
  3. Do I have to tryout or pass a swim test?
  4. How do I join SOCAL Water Polo?
  5. How much does SOCAL Water Polo cost?
  6. What if our family can’t afford to be members of SOCAL?
  7. Do you teach kids to swim?
  8. Why would I ever want my child to play water polo?
  9. How old do you have to be to play water polo?
  10. What equipment do we have to purchase or wear?
  11. Does SOCAL accept players from out of the District?
  12. I am in High School or college, can I play for SOCAL?
  13. How do I find information about the high school aquatic programs at Beckman,Foothill and Tustin?
  14. How come you don’t go year round with the youth athletes?
  15. When are you told what team you will play on?
  16. My player is not the best athlete, but he/she loves water polo?
  17. Are you just an Elite program?
  18. What are the age groups in water polo?
  19. What are the attendance requirements for SOCAL Water Polo?
  20. When should we schedule vacations?
  21. My child wants to be a goalie, what should I do?
  22. What are the basic skills of water polo?
  23. How do I learn the rules of water polo?
  24. I have a lot more questions, who do I ask?

 

When can I join SOCAL Water Polo?
We welcome you to SOCAL anytime.  Go to our website socalwaterpolo.org, look on the calendar and find the pool where your age group is practicing and introduce yourself to our friendly staff.  Or go to the "Contact Us" section of the SOCAL homepage to find detailed contact information.  Our water polo seasons and fees are split into four quarters throughout the year.  Join anytime.  We will prorate your fees if you join mid-session or later.

What are the seasons?
SOCAL has divided its sessions into Four quarters: Fall from September 1 to November 30, Winter from December 1 to February 28, Spring from March 1 to May 31, and Summer from June 1 to August 5.  These quarters coordinate with our competition schedule.  Youth compete quite a bit in the Fall and Summer.  Winter is more about development for youth and less about competition. High school players, especially those from Tustin Schools and local areas can find a home in the off-season at SOCAL.  We encourage our players to swim competitively to improve their water polo.  Just check the Calendar section of our website for practice times and get a sense of the flow.  Feel free to show up at the practices and say hello to the coach.  Many of our coaches biographies and contact information are at the website.

Do I have to tryout or pass a swim test?
Our tryouts are based on a young person swimming proficiently 100 yards of a pool, or four laps of a 25 yard pool, or four widths of the pool at Beckman, Foothill, or Tustin High Schools.  We gauge your ability by this “100 yard test”.  As a reference point, Junior Lifeguards requires its youngest members to swim 100 yards in one minute and 50 seconds.  The best water youth polo players nearing high school swim 100 yards in about one minute.

How do I join SOCAL Water Polo?
Start by contacting us or visiting us on the pool deck. We will walk you through our automated sign up process and warmly welcome you.  Please click the “Registration” tab on SOCAL Water Polo’s Home Page to register and get going.  But first, please obtain a membership for your player in our National Governing Body, USA Water Polo (http://www.usawaterpolo.org) at the least expensive membership level to protect us for liability reasons.  Armed with your new USA Water Polo membership number, go ahead and register at our web site.

How much does SOCAL Water Polo cost?
Fees are subject to change. Generally, we charge approximately $500 per quarter but it varies depending upon program and age group.  The total investment in water polo per year is about $2,500, including gear.  Trips and travel can add to this.  All SOCAL WP athletes are members of USA Water Polo which has annual dues.  In addition, SOCAL Water Polo strongly encourages and supports our players to be on swim teams.

What if our family can’t afford to be members of SOCAL?
SOCAL has always been a fortunate and supportive community.  No player has been denied playing because of true financial difficulty.  If you have trouble with the dues and fees, please approach Robin Baia for a scholarship application.  Robin will handle any special payment request discretely.  Scholarships are approved by the Board of Directors of SOCAL.  There are many creative ways to work payments.  We have a group of anonymous and supportive donors who make sure that no players are denied participation for lack of ability to pay.  Many of our athletes who are on scholarship participate by assisting with coaching, working the pool, or jumping in the water and showing new athletes fundamentals of the game.  Parents can repay the club with the gift of their time running snack bars, helping organize events, and assisting at tournaments SOCAL hosts.

Do you teach kids to swim?
No, we teach them to play water polo. Beginning swimmers can go to Blue Buoy Swim School located in Tustin to learn how to swim or join Tustin Unified School District’s summer programs.  Swimmers who are more advanced than beginners may join our conditioning program for an excellent base or a number of local swim teams such as SOCAL Aquatics out of Tustin High School or NOVA Aquatics in Irvine.  See your water polo coach to learn about which option might be best for you. 

Why would I ever want my child to play water polo?
Water polo is a small sport with great opportunities in high school. There aren’t tons of 8th graders vying for limited  training spots in high school their freshmen year like in other land sports.  Water polo is an Olympic sport.  Many colleges offer water polo. Some of SOCAL’s athletes have participated on the National and Olympic teams. Many of SOCAL’s athletes play water polo in high school.  Almost all of SOCAL’s athletes have splendid high school water polo careers.   Water polo is a great background for participating as a lifeguard at pools or the beach during summers. Water polo athletes are the best physical specimens in sports.  No one is better conditioned than water polo players. Games last 45 minutes.  When the game is over, your athlete is clean, exhausted, and hungry.   That’s much different than America’s other past times, where game times are longer, very sweaty, and sometimes not always active. Oh, and it's FUN!

How old do you have to be to play water polo?
Being comfortable in the water is the primary criterion for playing water polo.  SOCAL has players as young as six playing with us.   Please approach your coach and determine how to ease into our sport.  Remember, we have fun Splash Ball and Water Polo Lite programs that give young players a great foundation of the sport while they are doing other sports, or getting ready for water polo.  Contact us for more information about entry level programs.

What equipment do we have to purchase or wear?
SOCAL’s colors are black and gold. We desire players wearing black swim suits and team apparel that helps build unity and pride. Girls will find it much easier to play water polo if they keep their hair in a swim cap.  Rules dictate black caps or white caps depending upon the color caps the teams is wearing for their game.  Basic apparel and other merchandise like t-shirts, sweatshirts, backpacks etc. are available through our supplier Kap 7.  Click on the Team Store tab on SOCAL’s homepage.

Does SOCAL accept players from out of the District?
SOCAL is an open club located in the Tustin Unified School District (TUSD).  SOCAL will not deny club membership to anyone on the basis of location.  However, because we use TUSD facilities SOCAL has a responsibility to serve the  TUSD community and be accountable to the TUSD community.   Out of season, our local TUSD athletes affiliate with SOCAL for their year round training needs.  The long term success of SOCAL is attributable to our local athletes and the athletes who commute to participate with us.  SOCAL believes that providing its athletes the best training opportunities means having them practice with the best athletes.  We have two goals: to win and to teach the life lessons of sports.

I am in High School or college, can I play for SOCAL?
High school or college players are accepted on a case by case basis as determined by the coach of that program.  You MUST contact the coaches of these groups DIRECTLY to determine if you can participate.  Please be aware that the high school and university coaches who are part of the SOCAL staff are subject to local high school rules (CIF) or NCAA rules, they may be restricted from how they can interact with you based on those rules or the time of the year.  Please use our web site to find the contact information for the coaches you want to find. 

How do I find information about the high school aquatic programs at Beckman, Foothill and Tustin?
Contact the Athletic Director at the school and talk or meet with him.  Talk to other parents.  Remember that high school coaches are severely restricted in talking to prospective athletes and respect that.  Transfers into Tustin schools and between schools in Tustin are allowed on a limited basis and within very strict advance timelines.  If you are interested in such a transfer, contact Tustin Unified School District or look on their web site.  You may also speak with the Principal of the school about your inquiry.

When are you told what team you will play on??  My player is not the best athlete, but he/she loves water polo?  Are you just an Elite program?
Parents in youth sports tend to forget that athletes continue to mature into high school and beyond. SOCAL is the launching pad for the sport of water polo or a place where older athletes can find great training and team opportunities.  SOCAL tries its best to provide opportunities for all of its players.  We carry numerous teams.  If you ever feel you are on the short end of the stick, please address your coach privately.  If your concerns are not answered, please contact a Board member. 

What are the age groups in water polo?
Quite simply, your age in water polo is determined by your age as of August 1st of the next year.  For example in September 2016, someone born July 1st, 2006. is considered to be water polo age 11 and would need to play for the 12&under team.  In the United States, age groups are currently divided into 18&under, 16&under, 14&under, 12&under, and 10&under.  So every player spends two years in one age group.  So if your child is water polo 11, for example, he/she will be playing with 11 and 12 year olds for two years.

What are the Attendance requirements for SOCAL Water Polo?
Youth water polo is most intense in the Fall and Summer Quarters.  For the travel teams, those going for championships, attendance requirements are strict and subject to the individual coaches’ rules.   We recommend that every player, NOT THE PARENTS, call/text the coaching staff directly to arrange their schedules.  This begins to develop maturity in the younger athletes.  All of our coaches are so crazy in love with water polo that we are generally available to our players 24 hours per day, seven days per week. 

When should we schedule vacations?
Never take a vacation in July. The best times for vacations are August (after Junior Olympics) and anytime from mid-November thru April.  If you are on a team that is competing for a title, advise your coach about vacation plans months in advance of obligations and commitments. 

My child wants to be a goalie, what should I do?
Talk to the coach.  The history of goalies at SOCAL is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Goalies are very athletic, have a special mentality, and train differently than field players.  At SOCAL, we require every player who wants to be a goalie to have the “Goalie Talk” with your coach. 

What are the basic skills of water polo?
Comfort in the water is the most fundamental water polo skill.  Swimming is part of that but swimming is considered to be "horizontal."   Being able to stay high above the water "vertically" using a leg skill called the “eggbeater” is vital to success.  We teach the eggbeater.  Learning to handle the ball with one hand is another skill that is important.   Water polo is like soccer and basketball played in the water.  The object is to score the ball in the goal on offense and prevent the ball from going in the goal on defense.  SOCAL believes that understanding defense before offense is vital to a player’s ultimate success. 

How do I learn the rules of water polo?
Unlike other sports, water polo action does not stop when the whistle blows.  Action begins when the whistle blows.  The object of the game is to throw the ball in the goal.  Goalies can touch the ball with two hands.  All other players can only touch the ball with one hand.   Fouls create free throws for the person fouled.  In some instances, when the person fouled is grossly impeded, the defender has to leave the game for 20 seconds and the offense has a “power play opportunity.”  In the worst fouls, a penalty throw is awarded.  Sit back, relax, enjoy and learn.  The player’s learn the rules faster than the parents!!!!! 

I have a lot more questions, who do I ask?
 Go to our Contact Us Page and find the appropriate Age Group Administrator to contact via email or telephone.