Sydney University U14s


At the NSW U14 championships in Tamworth, Hunter was the best team and deservedly came 1st. Sydney University was second having improved on last year’s third placing. The teams of Central Coast and Cronulla ‘A’ became equal third.

To finish as a runner-up out of 19 participants is a good result for any team. Through their hard work and efforts our athletes did themselves and the club proud – well done boys!

However, as far as I am concerened, there is a more important outcome: that is our young players and their parents have a much better understanding of the game now.

Given how busy life in Sydney is – with the traffic congestions and travel distances – it is almost impossible to have productive theoretical sessions when every member of a team and their parents are present. In Tamworth, as at other similar events, we were able to have discussions twice a day.

Combined with practical sessions, these 3 days were invaluable for the young players’ education and development and will no doubt improve the training process quality as many will now be more conscientious about its content and skills development that comes with it.

I would like to congratulate our young athletes with their achievements:

Chris Artemi was our best player by far who did very well in all departments: the centre-back, centre-forward and perimeter attacking position as well as marking oppositions’ best players.

Blake Artemi has significantly improved in recent months to become a leading player in the current U14 team. His confident performance in the demanding CB position and as a perimeter shooter contributed significantly to the positive results that the team was achieving.

One of the main reasons for Chris and Blake’s dramatic improvement over the last 1 and a half years is their parents who take keen interest in their sons’ water polo. These parents’ involvement is not limited by just taxiing the boys to and from sessions and watching them playing. Chris and Blake’s father, Phillip, has been trying to learn about the game’s intricacies as much as possible with the aim of being able to give his children a competent guidance during their water polo ‘homework’. I know he spends a lot of time doing it. The result is that Chris and Blake are among the best when it comes to training. That, in turn, transfers into their skilful actions during matches.

Phillip is not the only example of a ‘constructive water polo parent’. Over the years, I have witnessed the same approach by others and almost in every case those children grew into good intelligent athletes in addition to being good school students.

Oscar Douglas tried very hard and was able to put a lot of pressure on the opposition in our attacking actions through his strong CF performance. Oscar now knows that he needs to learn to maintain his concentration and awareness throughout entire match to become even a better player.

One of the revelations of the tournament was Ben Cochrane. Ben started to play water polo seriously 3 months ago. He has been very conscientious in his attitude towards training and the hard work paid-off. Ben was one of our dangerous counter-attackers whose actions made a positive impact on the team’s performance throughout entire tournament; in particular, in our first match as well as in the semi-final against a strong team from Central Coast.

Chaz Poot is another honest good player who joined our club only several months ago. Chaz has been among the best in his attitude – he hardly misses any session. It paid-off for him. In Tamworth, Chaz was a very strong unit who contributed a lot towards the final result. He now has a better understanding which skills he needs to work on and I have no doubts that we will soon see big improvements in those areas.

As with the majority of our players, our goalkeeper, Elliott Collins, did not have any prior water polo experience. But Elliott demonstrated how intelligent he is by being able to work out some goalkeeper specific traits by himself without being told by a coach. His important save of a 5 meter penalty in our first match is a good example of his analytical abilities. I have no doubt that if Elliott continues to work hard, he can achieve a lot in water polo.

William Gowers, Igor Gainulin, Stefan Despotovic and Alex Lavery-Jones also impressed me with their serious and attentive demeanour. After only 2 months of training they became good supporting team players. I have no doubts that soon they can be assuming playmakers role once their individual skills and understanding of the game consolidate.

It was a good experience for our youngest athletes, James Kolenda and Joe Kospetas, who have been learning a lot. I am sure, they can become leaders of the U14s team at future championships provided they work hard.

The Tamworth organisers together with NSW water polo did a good job running the 2012 championships and must be credited for their efforts.

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

12 Responses to Sydney University U14s

  1. Sandra Davis says:

    Sandra Davis

    Having been to the tournament before, I know how important the weekend is for the development and learning of both these young players and their parents. I am so excited that this lovely group of boys has had such a productive and successful opportunity to get to know you, each other and the game. I am looking forward to the team growing into a successful unit as it moves through the age groups. Onward and upward!!

    Congratulations!!

  2. Jenny Henderson says:

    A wonderful achievement for the boys and for you Erkin as their coach. Well done!

  3. Brett Cochran says:

    Well Done Erkin,

    It was really great to watch the boys lift under your leadership!

    Thanks for all your efforts.

    Brett.

  4. David Collins says:

    Very thoughtful Erkin. Elliott and I both benefited greatly from your considered advice and coaching. A great weekend. Thanks for your hard work, David

  5. Joanne Basha says:

    Congratulations to the U14 team and Erkin on gaining 2nd place in the NSW Championships. This is testament to the dedication, hard work and commitment by all involved. It is very true to say that tournaments such as these are paramount in increasing skilll, knowledge of the game and comradery. I look forward to hearing of future continued success for these young men.Well done and go the LIONS.

  6. James Kolenda says:

    Thanks Erkin

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